By Jack Arnhold, Contributing Reporter
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – On March 3rd the Secretary of the Environment and Conservation for the city of Rio de Janeiro (Seconserma) announced that they were to resume a river protection program under the name ‘Conservado Rios’ (River Conservation).
On March 28th the mayor of Rio de Janeiro, Marcelo Crivella, inspected the project, announcing that, “We’re going from house to house and talking to people not to throw rubbish in the waterways.”
Adding, “These waste products run down the river, clog drains and can bring rats, snakes and insects to homes, as well as diseases. And when it rains heavily everything floods, and people lose what they have at home. We’re starting work here and we expect people to work with us.”
Many of the city’s waterways are in dire states, being inundated by both chemical pollution, raw sewage and litter. The first rivers to be targeted will be the Carioca, which flows from Tijuca National Park, through Flamengo and into the Guanabara Bay; and the Piraquara, which is located in Realengo, in Zona Oeste (West Zone). The program is hoping to revitalize 25 waterways in its primary phase.
The Secretary of the Environment and Conservation also announced that they’re not only aiming to clean the rivers, but also to increase environmental education, for the long-term benefit of the city’s environment. While the waterways are being cleaned there will also be people conducting educational work with the surrounding population, as well as in the city’s schools.
Humberto Antunes, a representative of the secretariat explained to local news outlet O Globo how this program focuses more on community education. “The program no longer solely focusses on waste cleaning, but towards conservation.”
Adding, “In addition to the educational representative, each worker is an environmental worker, and this represents a paradigm shift from what was before. The most efficient team is not the one who takes out more trash, but the one that makes less people litter.”
The program had previously been running under the name ‘Guardiões dos Rios’ (River Guardians), but had been suspended amid allegations of irregularities.
Under a similar program, ‘Conservando Parques’ (Park Conservation) Municipal Parks are also being granted R$4 million, these will include: Parque Chico Mendes, Bosque da Barra, Dois Irmãos, Cidade, Catacumba, Chacrinha, Grajaú and Darke de Mattos, in Paquetá.