By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – A recent state government project, named ‘Olho no Verde’ (Eye on Green) has been using technology, including satellite imaging and now drones, in its fight against environmental damage.
The program is a collaboration between the Secretary for the Environment, INEA (State Institute for the Environment) and UFRJ (the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro).
Launched just under a year ago, the program has already identified over 550 cases of illegal deforestation totaling over 1 million square meters. It is now incorporating satellite imagery and the potential use of drones as a way to intensify the fight against environmental degradation.
The Secretary of the Environment, Marco Aurélio Porto, highlighted how important technology has been in this new project, “With the aid of technology, the alerts issued from the images captured by satellite allow us to improve the surveillance operations throughout the state.”
The new drone technology is currently only being used on Ilha Grande, which has been facing its own problems with sustaining the future of its ecosystem.
With the use of drones, which the department is looking to expand, promises to be an efficient tool that will be able to monitor potential deforestation even more closely, especially when bad weather makes satellite imaging unfeasible.
“The main reason for the recent use of the drone was the climatic issue, that is, the low effectiveness of the satellite images in the region due to the climatic situation,” said Environment Undersecretary Rafael Ferreira.
This comes at a time when Brazilians are conscious of the price of environmental destruction, with the toxic water seep in the Amazon region earlier this year still high in people’s minds. While Brazil still ranks as one of the most dangerous places in the world for environmental activists.
In 2015, Brazil’s government pledged to end deforestation by 2030, and while this may seem an unlikely target, recent reports have shown that deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon has decreased by sixteen percent.