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By Philip Sever, Contributing Reporter

RIO DE JANEIRO – The prefeitura announced last Monday that a group will be created to produce a report on environmental conflicts in Rio. The group is to be comprised of seven members, these members have not been announced yet. The report is to be presented at the 60th meeting of the city council for the environment on the 9th of June.

The report will investigate environmental conflicts in Rio. Concentrating on:

1. Increasing population growth, particularly in the favelas.
2. Destruction of Atlantic rain forest.
3. Pollution of Rios beaches and coastal waters.
4. Pollution of Baia de Guanabara.
5. Pollution of Rio’s streets.

It was not specified during the announcement whether possible solutions to these problems will be discussed in the report. However many initiatives have already begun which are related to these issues. The building of walls around Rio’s favelas to stop deforestation of the Atlantic rain forest has already begun.

Prefeito (mayor) Eduardo Paes together with Angela Fonti, president of Comlurb (Comlurb makes rubbish removal for the prefeitura), presented last Monday 149 new trash bins as part of a new scheme to keep Rio’s streets cleaner. The presentation was made in Flamengo.

Baia de Guanabara, Photo by Philip Sever.
Baia de Guanabara, Photo by Philip Sever.

The polluting of Rio’s coastal waters, particularly Baia de Guanabara,  is a harder issue to deal with as reducing pollution of coastal inlets will put the prefeitura in direct confrontation with a number of large companies. To reduce pollution of Rio’s water ways would probably involve companies using alternative methods of waste removal which will cost more money.

The clean up of Sydney Harbour, Australia, is a possible example of how a busy shipping area can be significantly cleaned up. This was achieved by legislation requiring companies to find alternative forms of waste disposal, rather than dumping waste to sea.

Whether the prefeitura is willing to enforce such strict new rules has yet to be seen. However the commissioning of this report is at least a start towards addressing Rio’s environmental conflicts.

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