Amazon: tons of waste pollute the waters of Manaus

Steph Deschamps / July 2, 2022

In Manaus, the largest metropolis in the Brazilian Amazon, tons of foul-smelling garbage line the canals and rivers, an apocalyptic sight in this urban area surrounded by the world's largest rainforest.In a poor neighborhood in the west of the city, an excavator removes an impressive amount of bottles, pieces of plastic, and even appliances that float near homes on stilts. In the south, not far from the river port, municipal agents in orange jumpsuits collect the garbage on board a boat and pile it up, to evacuate it, on a large barge, on the Rio Negro, one of the main tributaries of the Amazon.
 
With the rising waters at this time, which marks the end of the rainy season, the waste is sometimes intermingled with tree branches. Each day, nearly 30 tons of garbage are removed. In some areas, the garbage is so concentrated that it completely obscures the waterways. This phenomenon occurs every year at this time of year, but authorities have noticed that the situation has worsened in recent weeks. From January to May, municipal services removed 4,500 tons of garbage, most of which was recyclable, but was dumped into the water by residents. 
 
Those who live on the banks throw their garbage directly into the canals. I think that only one person in five throws them in appropriate places, Antonino Pereira, a 54-year-old resident who finds it difficult to bear the stench near a bridge in the city, told AFP. For José Rebouças, under-secretary of the cleaning services of the town hall, an awareness of the population would allow the city to save one million reais per month. 
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