Contamination crisis in Brazil

Contamination in Brazil's rivers and lakes is five times worse than a decade ago according to a new report.

The Report on Brazil's Actual Water Conditions, released in September, was a joint project of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), the Shout for Water Movement, the National Conference of Brazilian Bishops (CNBB) and the Federal Public Interest Defence Ministry.

Of the 20,000 areas listed, where populations are at risk, most are contaminated by industrial waste. According to Leonardo Morelli, Secretary-General of the Shout for Water Movement, "This has consequences for public health, rendering the population more vulnerable

to disease, infertility and genetic disorders."

He also asserted that the report indicates a growing risk of water shortage in urban areas. "In the next 10 years, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo will be most exposed to this risk."

In an agreement announced by the Ministry of Cities and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB) in August, US$95.4 million will help finance the water supply and sewage treatment sector in Brazil. However, IADB president Enrique Iglesias called on the need for pubic-private partnerships (PPPs) if Brazil is to meet its UN Millenium Development Goal (MDG) targets for 2015.

l A US$88 million project to expand and improve water supply and wastewater treatment in the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais, has been proposed by state utility Copasa. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation is expected to examine the proposals in detail.


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