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The confinement in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro due to the pandemic helped to decontaminate the waters of the iconic Guanabara Bay, which for years remained polluted and where the turtles are now present again.
Since social confinement began to be implemented in the so-called “wonderful city”, places that were previously the focus of great marine pollution, such as Guanabara Bay, which bathes the beaches in the north of Rio de Janeiro, or the beaches of Botafogo and Flamengo, this Monday has its most crystalline waters.
In Guanabara Bay, fish and turtles can already be seen swimming in its waters, now crystal clear due to the decrease in the number of boats, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Spanish agency Efe.
According to the captaincy of the ports of Rio de Janeiro, Guanabara received about 250 medium or large vessels monthly.
Guanabara Bay, one of the most important in Brazil and one of the first places where the Portuguese navigator Fernão de Magalhães landed in America, has suffered for years from the pollution issue that, in addition to being caused by ships, is caused by wastewater domestic and industrial, and the lack of commitment of government authorities, who for years have promised to clean the waters, but without visible results so far.
The clear waters that Fernão de Magalhães found when he landed in Guanabara Bay, on December 13, 1519, during his circumnavigation trip in the service of the Spanish crown, gave way to currently polluted waters, victims of bad policies practiced throughout of the past few years, he explained to Lusa Lise Sedrez, a specialist in environmental history, last September.
“This is a fragile bay at the moment. Years of occupation, more specifically in the 20th century, were very cruel to the bay. In terms of landfill, she lost a third of her water mirror. Throughout the twentieth century, a series of chemical effluent discharges occurred that had an impact on its biodiversity, ”said Lise Sedrez, whose doctoral thesis had as its object precisely the Guanabara Bay itself.
“In addition, a lack of housing planning in the bay in the 20th century meant that the population around them did not have, and does not have, sewage treatment systems today. So, a good part of the raw sewage is still dumped directly into the bay, “added the Brazilian to Lusa, months before the pandemic, and the bia's water was cleaner.
The same is happening now with Botafogo beach, home to the yacht club in Rio de Janeiro and one of the most contaminated in the city, which registered a completely different picture this Monday.
Although the garbage can still be seen floating in the waters, the pollution left by the boats' fuel – and its continuous spills – has decreased substantially with the decrease in maritime traffic, both in the bay and at Botafogo beach.
Until Sunday, Brazil totaled 16,118 deaths and 241,080 confirmed cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the pandemic in the country.
Rio de Janeiro, the third state with the highest number of confirmed cases, registered 22,238 cases of infection and 2,715 fatalities on Sunday.
Globally, according to a report by the AFP news agency, the Covid-19 pandemic has already claimed more than 316,000 deaths and infected more than 4.7 million people in 196 countries and territories.