Less than 7% of the rivers in the Atlantic Forest have good quality water, according to a study

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A study released this Tuesday (22) points out that only 6.8% of the rivers in the Atlantic Forest have good quality water. According to a survey by Fundação SOS Mata Atlântica, of the 615 samples analyzed from 90 different rivers in 16 Brazilian states, 72.6% had a regular rate and 20.5% had a bad or very bad rating. Published on this World Water Day, the survey was taken from January to December 2021.

The geographer Gustavo Veronesi, coordinator of the Observando os Rios program at SOS Mata Atlântica, in conversation with the CNNevaluated that the scenario is one of alert, since most of the rivers receive a large load of domestic sewage.

“The main source of pollution in our rivers is still domestic sewage in urban areas, but if we consider rural areas, the excessive use of pesticides has also caused major problems for the quality of water in our rivers. Added to this is the removal of the original forest cover, which also has a negative impact on water quality”, says the specialist.

Veronesi explains that the forest works as a kind of filter for rainwater. The soil absorbs the water, which then goes to the rivers. Therefore, according to the geographer, preserving the original vegetation helps to maintain the quality of these rivers.

The new edition of the survey “The Picture of Water Quality in the Hydrographic Basins of the Atlantic Forest” concludes that the water quality of the rivers of the Atlantic Forest is still far from an “acceptable situation”.

The study points out that there was little change from the results of the previous monitoring period, with some isolated cases of both improvement and worsening of water quality.

Disordered urban growth and lack of sanitation

Biologist and expert in ecosystem management and recovery Mario Moscatelli explained to CNN that there are two protagonists in the process of degradation of river basins: disorderly urban growth and the lack of universal sanitation.

“Public power has never given due importance to these two issues that involve housing policies, investment in sanitation. Who ended up paying the bill for the growth, for the swelling of cities without any order, was the environment through its rivers, which were transformed into large sewer and garbage ditches”, he says.

The monitoring methodology used classified the samples as excellent, good, regular, bad and very bad. None of the 615 samples showed “optimal” classification characteristics.

According to the study by SOS Mata Atlântica, the state of São Paulo was the only one that presented analyzes of “terrible” quality, in addition to the “bad” index. Another six states – Bahia, Minas Gerais, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Rio de Janeiro and Rio Grande do Sul – also recorded analyzes classified as “poor”.

Access to water as a fundamental right is one of the UN Sustainable Development Goals for 2030.

According to SOS Mata Atlântica, the biome originally covered an area equivalent to 1,315,460 km² across 16 states in Brazil and the Federal District.

The latest edition of the Atlas of Forest Remnants of the Atlantic Forest, which was released in May 2021, identified a loss of 13,053 hectares (130 square km) of native forests in the observed period, from 2019 to 2020.

Source: CNN Brasil

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