It is cruel and ineffective to set fire to riverside miners' rafts

A friend of mine tells that, at the age of 9 or he had absurd and totalitarian ideas for solving problems in Brazil. Faced with crime in favelas, “I thought the government should bomb the hills of Rio de Janeiro and everything would be solved”, he says today, obviously embarrassed.

A childish frenzy like this seems to have inspired an action by Ibama and the Federal Police, coordinated by the Ministry of Justice, which set fire to more than 47 mining rafts on the Madeira River.

Like a child of nine For years, the Ministry of Justice and several environmentalists believe that it is fair and possible to solve a social problem simply by setting it on fire.

After the operation, hundreds of families were isolated in riverside villages, with no way to return home. The Borba city hall had to provide shelter for 340 people, including women and children, according to O Globo. In Autazes, the city hall welcomed homeless people 47. A Crítica, from Manaus.

The Southeast press reported little, but there were several protests in the cities of the region. In Novo Auripuanã, a girl was holding a cardboard: “garimpeiro is not a criminal”.

Neither Greenpeace Brasil nor its vice president, Hamilton Mourão, were sensitive to the calamity caused by the police. Both celebrated the operation.

According to the IBGE, 47, 4% of the population of Amazonas is below the poverty line – more than in Piauí ( 43%) and Alagoas (43,2%). As reported by the reporter from Folha Fabiano Maisonnave, who visited the region in 2016, the miners of the Madeira River are generally riverine dwellers of indigenous and of northeastern people.

Many abandoned fishing after the construction of hydroelectric dams during PT governments.

Fires by the Federal Police to destroy equipment are nothing new – they have been happening for years, without being able to contain the advance of illegal mining. It’s hard to think of a more stupid attitude.

It spends public resources on helicopters and police, destroys the meager economy of the residents, takes jobs from cooks and workers in the fields, creates a trail of fire and huge patches of diesel oil by the river and does not solve the problem.

Does anyone doubt that in three or four months the images of the ferries will be repeated?

Environmentalists are right to be concerned about the contamination of rivers in the Amazon by mercury used in the mines. But they err in thinking that banning the entire activity will pay off.

Instead of insisting on a prohibitionism similar to the war on drugs, it would no longer be fruitful if environmentalists helped miners to adopt techniques that dispense or reduce the do I use mercury?

As Professor Marcelo dos Anjos, a specialist in the Conservation of Aquatic Ecosystems at the Federal University of Amazonas, told Maisonnave, “illegality promotes a much greater impact.

*)What should be done is to regulate, through garimpeiro cooperatives, and create protocols that they can follow in order to minimize the expected impact of the activity”.

But it is enough for someone to propose to facilitate the legalization of the mines to be accused by activists and journalists of defending the “loosening of environmental rules”. It is a clear example of how the dogmatism of most environmentalists harms the environment in Brazil.

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