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Pollution taking toll on Brazil’s famous beaches

Staff Writer |
Copacabana and Ipanema evoke images of white sand and crystal-clear water, but the reality of Brazil’s beaches is much different.

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Of the country’s seaside resort towns and cities, only 42 percent boast beaches with optimal water for bathing while 29 percent have beaches that are in bad or terrible condition, according to a recent study by the Folha de S.Paulo daily.

Those with the highest-quality water are located in southern states such as Rio Grande do Sul and Parana that are less frequented by tourists, according to the study, which based its findings on information provided by state environmental councils.

Botafogo and Flamengo are Rio de Janeiro’s most polluted beaches, while the water quality at that metropolis’ popular and iconic Copacabana and Ipanema beaches is rarely optimal, partly due to pollution from Guanabara Bay.

“Guanabara Bay is a garbage dump with all of Rio’s sewage,” Brazilian biologist Mario Moscatelli said, adding that waste water from lagoons such as Rodrigo de Freitas washes ashore on Copacabana and Ipanema.

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