Earth Day – The Brazilian Way

This Sunday, the 22nd of April, will mark the 42nd observance of Earth Day. According to Earth Day Network, “More than 1 billion people now participate in Earth Day activities each year, making it the largest civic observance in the world”.

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

So, how will the Brazilian celebrate Earth Day 2012? Maybe with planting a tree? I doubt it. The Brazilian Wikipedia doesn’t even have an entry for Earth Day in Portuguese. But, more importantly, let’s have a look how the Brazilian is treating the earth. The part of the planet he/she is living on.
It is not all that positive, or better still it is not positive at all.

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

Deforestation of the Amazon and Cerrado I wrote about extensively in the past, as well as the devastating consequences of Brazil’s agriculture policies. But that all is destruction at a high level. Let’s look at the way the ordinary Brazilian is treating his/her neighbourhood, his/her nest.

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

I am well aware that a large part of this dirtying their own nest is due to corruption, lousiness and disinterest of the local authorities, but at the final end it is the ordinary Brazilian, who creates this mess, without any consideration to the wellbeing of the Earth. It is a shame, you see everywhere around you, wherever you are and go in Brazil.

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

In 2010, the volume of waste reached 60.8 million tons. Of these, 6.5 million tons were not collected and eventually ended up into the streets, into rivers, streams and on vacant lots. Of the total waste generated 42.4% or 22.9 million tons, did not receive a proper destination, in other words went to dumps or landfills (which have no gas and slurry treatment).

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

The number of landfills in the country is unknown, but the Ministry of the Environment (MMA) asserts that more than 60% of the municipalities do not treat the waste properly. Also recycling is limited. “Only 900 of the 5.565 Brazilian municipalities have some kind of selective collection“, according to Sérgio Gonçalves, Director of Urban Environment of the MMA.

Ananindeua, Pará – Photo Fernando Araújo – Portal ORM

The pattern of waste generation in the country already equals the average of European countries. The Brazilian, on average, produces 1.213 kg of waste per day. The European produces an average of 1.2 kilograms per day, and the USA, 2.8 kg.

Rio de Janeiro – Photo Josué Guilherme – O Globo

Of course it is not only the government or the availability of waste facilities. Primarily the responsibility lies with the Brazilian himself. But that’s exactly the problem. He doesn’t care at all about nature and environment. He is a typical example of fouling his own nest.

Rio de Janeiro – Photo Julio Deniz – O Globo

Have a nice Earth Day.

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