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RN government accuses mayor of Natal and protesters of alleged invasion of environmental agency to demand release of works

A standoff between the Government of Rio Grande do Norte and the City Hall of Natal caused chaos in the capital of Rio Grande do Norte, this Monday (8). Mayor Álvaro Dias, secretaries, councilors and other protesters occupied the front of the Institute of Sustainable Development and Environment (IDEMA) with the aim of demanding environmental licenses necessary for the beginning of the expansion work of Ponta Negra Beach.

However, according to the state agency, the movement was marked by the destruction of public property, acts of vandalism and the gate that gives access to the Idema headquarters was damaged, in addition to people who were attacked and injured.

The city government claims that there was no invasion and that IDEMA agreed to receive them. The city government also spoke to CNN that the work is “extremely important for preserving the coastline and strengthening tourism and the economy of Natal”.

The state government stated, in a statement, that the city government took 11 months to deliver the documentation that Idema requested and even so, there is still inconsistency.

“There are still 17 missing items of information that the City of Natal needs to send to IDEMA so that the agency can conclude the analysis of the environmental concession request. Among the pending information that has not been sent by the city are, for example, mapping of reef areas, socioeconomic diagnosis of fishing activity, identification of the main fish caught by artisanal fishermen, as well as updating of executive projects for rainwater drainage in compatibility with the expansion,” the statement said.

Even without a license, a dredge ship was sent to the city to begin the work. The vessel is used by DTA Engenharia, which is part of the consortium contracted by the city of Natal for R$73 million to execute the project.

The idea is to expand the sand strip. The company’s forecast is that, after the work, the sand strip on the beach will be up to 100 meters wide at low tide, as there is a rise in sea level and this causes erosion.

The dredge is a ship with a suction pipe that is dragged as it sails. This pipe works like a vacuum cleaner, sucking up the sand along with the seawater. After the dredging phase, which is expected to last four months, the company will still have to carry out works on the Ponta Negra boardwalk.

Repairs will only begin after authorization from the Natal Institute for Sustainable Development and the Environment. The agency has until October to grant authorization.

Source: CNN Brasil

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