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Brazil’s Largest Trash Dump a Symbol of Struggles to Follow Environmental Laws

LADB Article ID: 80300
Category/Department: Brazil
Date: 2017-05-19
By: Gregory Scruggs

The Brazilian capital has announced the impending closure of the largest open-air trash dump in Latin America, three years after the initial deadline under federal law. The belated move underscores how five years after the country hosted the world’s signature environmental summit, Brazil struggles to apply environmental law uniformly throughout its territory. June will mark the fifth anniversary of Rio+20, a UN conference that laid the groundwork for the international body’s ambitious 15-year vision known as the Sustainable Development Goals. But while the largest country in Latin America has leaned on this legacy to promote itself as a global leader in sustainability, the reality remains. In particular, several states are struggling to close open-air landfills, which release large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and pose public health dangers for nearby residents. Such challenges come nearly seven years after Brazil passed a landmark solid waste law whose national deadline for closing the country’s trash dumps has been pushed back yet again, from the end of this year to 2018.

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