Brazil: Environmental Problems and Solutions.

Essay by jeppolitUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, February 2006

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The South American country of Brazil is well-known for its biodiversity and wealth of natural resources. The Amazon River and rainforest are located in Brazil, a country with more than 800,000 square miles of coastline, and a landmass so large that its borders touch all but two of its neighboring countries (Rich, 1999). The Amazon rainforest is the world's largest tropical rainforest, and for purposes of comparison, "its size is equivalent to one-half of the entire United States" (Rich, 1999). Although the need to protect this unique and valuable environment might seems obvious, the rainforest and its river have been the victims of extensive damage due to lack of resource management, overuse of the land and its resources, and actions taken due to immediate human economic needs. Brazil's local environmental problems have become a world concern. These problems are so numerous that it is difficult to focus on only two.

A population explosion that creates excessive amounts of waste and garbage and puts heavy demands on the environment, strip and coal mining, emissions control, and species elimination and extinction are major concerns. Two of the most serious problems facing Brazil's environment at present, however, are the devastation of the rainforest and water pollution (Rich, 1999). These problems affect not only Brazilians, but the entire world.

History and Overview of Brazil's Environmental Problems

Rich (1999), MSNBC's Sao Paulo correspondent, reports that Brazil's environmental problems are almost as old as the country itself, an observation that is confirmed by a recent work of historical fiction, Brazil Red. "As Portuguese colonists left their homeland and resettled in Brazil, they cut down vast swaths of forest to clear land and plant the crops they would need to survive in their new land" (Rich, 1999). This practice has continued over the years in...