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News > Brazil

Brazil: Judge Halts Policy Affecting Mangroves and Dunes

  • Mangroves in protected area, Brazil, Sept., 2020.

    Mangroves in protected area, Brazil, Sept., 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @BlogdoNoblat

Published 30 September 2020

Citizens accuse the Brazilian government of paving the way to economic activities inside protected areas.

The Brazilian Justice Tuesday suspended the decision of the Jair Bolsonaro administration to revoke regulations protecting mangroves and dunes.


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After receiving a citizen lawsuit against the State, the Rio de Janeiro's Federal Criminal Judge Maria Almeida Senos de Carvalho temporarily suspended the decision taken by the National Environment Council (CONAMA) because its implementation may generate "irrevocable damage to the environment."

Besides lifting the ban on deforesting and occupying preservation areas, CONAMA's decision allows the burning of pesticide residues in kilns used for cement production. To justify its proposal, the Bolsonaro-controlled institution argued that it would reduce the amount of solid waste.

The World Health Organization (WHO), however, recommends that the burning of toxic waste be carried out in controlled environments since it can degenerate air quality and cause damage to human health.

That decision joins others already promoted by the Environment Ministry since January 2019, when the far-right former Captain Bolsonaro swore in and appointed Ricardo Salles, a well-known adversary of environmental causes, as the leader of that institution.

Human rights defenders and environmental activists accuse the Brazilian government of gradually "dismantling" the rigid environmental protection regulations that the country created over the last 20 years to open the door to economic activities inside protected areas.

One of these is the Pantanal, the world's largest wetland, which is shared by Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

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