Brazil Environmental Issues


Brazil is a magnificent country with a diverse, complex geography. However, like every country in the world, it has its own set of environmental issues. These threaten different aspects of the natural abundance and are being addressed by a variety of organisations and initiatives. The main environmental issues faced by Brazil include:


Because Brazil is home to the world-renowned Amazon Rainforest and the basin it occupies, deforestation has become a major cause for concern in this area. Every minute, vast proportions of these forests, dubbed the “Lungs of the World” for the Oxygen that they produce, are being torn down for timber, development and agriculture. When a tree is cut down, it releases the Carbon Dioxide (which it has been storing) as a greenhouse gas, which increases the risk of climate change.

Acid Rain

When the levels of Sulphur Dioxide or Nitrogen Oxide rise in the atmosphere, the result is rain and precipitation that is high in these gases, which are harmful to the soil and delicate ecosystems on which they settle. In fact, acid rain can kill freshwater fish as well as the plants and animals that depend on neutral or alkaline conditions in which to live. When an area is subject to ongoing acid rain, the natural pH (acidity level) of its soil and water changes, which limits the plants and animals that can thrive there.

Ore extraction in the middle of the Amazon.

Endangered Species

Due to the fertile conditions of Brazil, it has always been the home of an array of animal and plant species. However, due to hunting, the destruction of habitat and the introduction of foreign, competitive species, Brazil’s natural fauna has experienced a huge decline in numbers. At the moment, there are hundreds of species under threat of extinction. Some of them include the jaguar, sea turtle, spiny rice rat, bushy-tailed opossum, black-faced lion tamarin, Brazilian arboreal mouse, ring-tail monkey, Coimbra’s titi monkey, golden-rumped lion tamarin, Northern Bahian blond titi monkey and northern muriqui.

Introduction of Foreign Species

When foreign species are introduced into an area like Brazil, they cause shifts in the balance of the existing eco-systems. They eat too much, or they require vegetation (which then has to take the place of the existing plants), they move in different patterns and they are hunters or prey, which changes the behaviour of the indigenous animals. Native species can extend to include plants and microorganisms as well as animals. In Brazil, some of the alien species include water buffalo, wild boars, the giant African snail, Black wattle, bamboo, thistles, Australian pine and bananas.

Air Pollution

Air pollution in Brazil has increased, mainly as a result of the rapid urbanisation and industrial development taking place in most of the city centres. As the population numbers boomed, cities were forced to expand with little regard for their environmental responsibility. This, in turn, meant that the infrastructure and so on was built using products and methods that release harmful pollution into the air. Many of the cities and towns are exploring alternatives to reduce their pollution production.

Waste Disposal

Like most major countries in the world, Brazil produces enormous amounts of solid waste, or garbage. This has to be taken away from occupied areas and destroyed or disposed of. However, such waste poisons the soil, air and water, creating the dilemma of what to do with it. Currently, Brazil produces more than 161 000 tons of solid waste every day. Almost two-thirds of Brazilian municipalities use landfills to dispose of such waste. As landfills become larger, natural areas have to be reduced and the soil in and around the landfills becomes toxic, or unable to sustain life. The solution includes the use of recycled and recyclable goods, as well as a major education campaign that assists with the responsible use and disposal of various items, both in the home and workplace.

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