BRASILIA. KAZINFORM A survey by SOS Mata Atlântica Foundation shows that only 11 locations on the rivers in Brazil’s Atlantic forest biome—virtually seven percent—have good quality water.
This year’s Water Quality Portrait in the Watersheds of the Atlantic Forest reports regular-quality water in most locations—75 percent—with bad quality in 16.2 percent, and terrible in 1.9 percent, Agencia Brasil reports.
The study was conducted by 2.7 thousand volunteers under the Observing the River program, initiated in 2015. The team collected data every month from January through December 2022, and carried out 990 assessments of 160 points across 120 water bodies. Altogether, the research is said to encompass 74 municipalities in 16 states where the biome can be found.
During the analysis, it was noted that the average water quality has remained the same, «with signs of a slight improvement.» According to the survey, the locations displaying good quality went from seven to eight, those with regular quality from 75 to 80, while those with poor quality sank from 21 to 15. Just like the previous year, there were three locations with very poor water quality—all of which on São Paulo’s Pinheiros river, yet again.
Sérgio Lucena, director of the National Atlantic Forest Institute, describes the data as «appalling but not surprising.» The figures, he pointed out, have not changed significantly over the years, as should have occurred—«which is unfortunate, since they should be changing for the better. Parameters are really bad, and this is certainly a result not only of peaks of population growth, but also of the misuse of water and soil, as well as land. In rural areas, misuse is leading to contamination, whereas in the city, it’s causing mostly shortages in basic sanitation.»
He argues, however, that the results should be read with a grain of salt, as it does not include all impact types, such as chemical and pesticide waste. «The methodology gauges key water quality parameters for the household, for industry, and for farming, but it doesn’t make any diagnosis on pesticide use. We mustn’t let that slip. It does look into turbidity, biological contamination, nitrate levels, etc., and that gives us a solid account of the pollution from sewage and the leaching in the soil,» he points out.
The study was sponsored by Ypê, a brand of cleaning and hygiene products that was once held accountable for dumping a large volume of chemical waste into a tributary of São Paulo’s Tietê river in 2019. Hundreds of fish were killed as a result of the contamination.