Curitiba launches river cleanup project

Monday, March 26, 2007

The municipality of Brazil's Paraná state capital Curitiba has launched the Barigüi river basin strategic revitalization plan, local press reported.

City mayor Beto Richa kicked off the program, which will include a number of works, as well as financial and environmental education programs designed to clean up the river basin.

Currently, untreated domestic sewage as well as garbage is disposed of in the river. Further, its banks are being deforested and shantytown development along the waterway goes unchecked.

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"One third of the population of Curitiba lives in the Barigüi river basin, depositing organic waste into the river. With a city council investment of 2mn reais [US$97,000] we are sure we will be able to correct this situation by the end of 2008," José Antônio Andreguetto, municipal secretary for the environment, told BNamericas.

The city council intends to effectively join up the park areas that exist along the banks of the river to form a green belt of environmental preservation.

"The families currently inhabiting the area will be relocated within the river basin if possible, but outside the areas to be designated as protected," said Andreguetto.

The city council has recognized the importance of educating the community as to the importance of its involvement in keeping the river clean. The educational program to be launched, Olho d'Água (Eye on the Water), will monitor 50 points along the river and calls for community participation to help keep the program running.

The project is also aiming to remove 78,000m3 of sludge from the lake in the city's main park through a filter system already implemented.

The Barigüi is the main river running through Curitiba, and almost 500,000 people live along its 60km-course.