Environmental Impacts on the Brazilian Coast

Environmental Impacts on the Brazilian Coast

The beginning of Brazilian colonization by the coast determined the formation of the first cities and population centers in this region. The demographic concentration has many stretches with more than 100 inhabitants per km 2 , especially in the Southeast and Northeast stretches. About 22% of Brazilians live by the sea, which is equivalent to more than 35 million people.

The urban concentration on the coast causes serious pollution problems, since almost all the sewage is discharged into the sea by effluents, without any type of treatment. This is one of the factors that contribute to the destruction of estuaries and mangroves – fundamental areas for the reproduction of several marine animals.

There are very few submarine outfalls that release sewage over distances that pose less risk to the population. Ideally, sewage treatment and discharge into water through these outfalls would be ideal .

Real estate speculation causes the expansion of urbanization and the disorderly occupation of natural spaces – in most cases, without the physical structure for such uses – which endanger not only the environment , but also the buildings and the lives of residents.

According to Rrrjewelry, an important part of Brazilian economic production is located in the coastal and marine areas, such as oil and natural gas extraction; industrial activities such as those in the Baixada Santista (SP) – petrochemical and steel industries (Cosipa) -; in addition to the movement of port facilities.

These activities also cause environmental impacts, due to the release of toxic substances into the oceans and accidents with oil spills. Not to mention air pollution as a result of the emission of toxic gases from industries, which affects vegetation, fauna and people in coastal environments.

The city of Cubatão – the main petrochemical and steelmaking hub on the coast of São Paulo – was once considered one of the most polluted in the world, with the air, soil and water channels contaminated by industrial waste. Today, the living conditions of the local population are eased due to government actions that inspect and fine companies that do not follow the current environmental legislation, and the interventions of NGOs – Non-Governmental Organizations – such as Greenpeace, which currently has adopted the strategy of buying shares to force companies to invest in the environment

As a result of urban-industrial expansion, the east coast and the southeast coast, especially the São Paulo strip, are the areas that suffer the most from environmental impacts.

On January 18, 2000, all the newspapers reported yet another “black spill” – a damaged Petrobras pipeline allowed 1.3 million liters of oil to contaminate Guanabara Bay.

The leak lasted 4 hours, but it will take 20 years for nature to return to what it was. The oil kills or weakens fish, poultry, shellfish, coastal vegetation – most forms of life that is the believer. Coral banks take decades to fully recover, because the oil inhibits their photosynthesis and reproductive capacity. The oil adheres to the birds’ wings, preventing them from flying and contaminating their digestive system. The stain also changes the alternating flow of fresh and salt water that produces the richness of the mangroves. Smaller rims can no longer grow and trees, with their roots suffocated, may lose their leaves. As a result, crustaceans that feed on decomposed leaves are in trouble.

Environmental Impacts on the Brazilian Coast

Unfortunately, accidents of this type are common:

  • in the last 30 years, there have been around 150 leaks associated with the Almirante Barroso Maritime Terminal, in São Sebastião – São Paulo coast – due to failures in the pipelines, lack of safety devices on the vessels or problems in the maintenance of ships;
  • in 1978, the Liberian ship Brazilian Marina, contracted by Petrobrás, spilled 6,000 m 3of oil on the beaches of São Sebastião;
  • in April 1999, 6 beaches in the same municipality were affected by an oil spill by a Petrobras emissary;
  • the same company was responsible for the biggest industrial accident in the history of Brazil – a leak followed by an explosion in Vila Socó, Cubatão (SP), which killed 98 people in 1984;
  • in 1975, Petrobras was also involved in the biggest accident in the Guanabara Bay – 5 million liters were spilled by the oil tanker Tarik.
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