Ilhabela – São Sebastião – Bertioga – Santos

    0
    174
    views

    In the last logbook I explained that when the Endless Sea returned to Santos two years after having left to the north deserved to rest and to be repaired. That’s the reason why we will go on this trip by motor boat. Meanwhile, the sailboat will be at the marina, Pier 26, and executive officer Alonso Goes will take care of it.
    Actually, this trip is made of several short trips. We traveled by motor boat, car and helicopter. And all of the trips were affected by a series of cold fronts which are typical in this season.
    Anyway, we carried out our task and recorded four programs. Seeing that the trips occurred on different days and weeks, this logbook won’t be chronologically written as usual; I will describe each visited area.
    Ilhabela.

    Ilhabela is the biggest island of volcanic origin on Sao Paulo’s coast. Although it is near the continent, Ilhabela is about 70 miles towards the north of Santos.
    I have been going to this area since the end of the sixties, beginning of the seventies. That’s why I know it before the tourism boom, when it was calm and quiet, and not very much occupied. The village was not paved; there were just a couple of bars, one or two restaurants, an unpaved landing strip, almost in the center of the city and something similar to a nautical club. Almost all Sao Paulo’s coast was like this in the late sixties.

    In the seventies, BR 101 was built and after the “Brazilian miracle” years, the unsustainable growth promoted by the military government, things changed.
    In less than ten years, almost all the coastal zone was occupied.
    There was no previous planning, no occupation plan and at that time environmental issues were not as important as they are today for the media. The result was not encouraging. Real estate speculation expanded and its claws continue to be sharp today. It is the case for instance of the controversial issue on the verticalization of Sao Sebastiao district on the other side of the canal. We will talk about it later.

    Ilhabela was also submitted to real estate speculation and it has recently involved the current mayor, Manuel Marcos de Jesus Ferreira.
    He first came into power in January 2001 and a few months later he was one of the partners of Ilhabela real estate agency. This agency is accused of selling properties in Ilhabela State Park’s areas, especially in Siriuba plots 1 and 2.
    According to the report of the State Department of Natural Resources’ Protection (DEPRN) “in addition to the fact that some plots are completely or partially in the State Park, there are irregular buildings in Permanent Protection Areas as well as in headwaters.”

    When the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo revealed the fraud in a series of articles published in March and April 2005, the mayor and his allies bought all the newspapers at the news-stands …
    During one of our trips, before the TV program started in 2004, I went to Ilhabela to record a pilot episode for the series. I interviewed the mayor. I was already aware of the irregular buildings. Most of them had probably been built before he came into power. However, at the beginning of the interview I didn’t mention anything about it. I knew it was a controversial issue; that’s why at first we talked about other aspects of the occupation.

    Manoel Marcos was on board the Endless Sea. We went to Bonete in the south of the island. At that time he was in the middle of his political campaign. Obviously, the mayor was visiting the communities in order to get votes.

    When we were approaching the village in the densest area, full of houses at the top of the hills or in the navy’s property where it is forbidden, I asked him about the issue. With an amazing deadpan face, the mayor looked at me and said categorically: Here on the island there are no irregular buildings.”
    I didn’t insist. It is hard to make politicians say the truth at any time of the year. During their political campaign it is almost impossible.

    I realized it would be a waste of time. The sailboat approached the town’s pier and he left the boat.
    Manoel Marcos is not the only mayor who acts like that. On our journey, we have accused others who instead of protecting the population who elected them, become their main tormentor. They make profit dishonestly.
    We saw the same thing in Maranhao, Ceara and Bahia, and here in São Paulo too.
    Ilhabela is part of São Sebastiao archipelago composed of 12 islands; the most important one is the island of Sao Sebastiao where the district which we are talking about is. In addition to Vitoria, Buzios, Somitica, Cabras and other which are smaller. They are protected (?) by State Act nº 9.414 from January 20, 1977, which created the State Park.
    Its total area is approximately 27 thousand hectares and the biggest part is on Sao Sebastiao Island which has 85% of its area in it.

    The island is impressively big and beautiful; its height is remarkable too. Some peaks reach 1.300 meters and are covered with Atlantic Forest.

    The Park is 100 meters high; however, the side which faces the continent, densely occupied, where the village is, is at least 200 meters high.

    When you sail through Toque-toque canal, you can see a greater number of houses occupying the hills year after year; some of them invade the Park area.

    Near the sea, on the coast and beaches, it is the same. Although the Park embraces properties of the navy (30 meters above the tide average level), every year more houses are built in this area too. As far as I am concerned, none has ever been demolished because it occupies irregular properties. If there is no punishment for law-breakers, what is the use of an act which determines that the whole area is a Park?
    According to IBGE’s data (2000), Ilhabela’s population is 21 thousand inhabitants, who occupy 5 thousand houses. Just 2.3% have waste system, that is 131 houses; however, 95% have garbage collection. On vacation or holidays, the population is multiplied by 4 or 5. Where do you think the waste of this crowd goes to? Do I have to say?

    Additionally, there is the port of Sao Sebastiao and Petrobras’ terminal in front of it; one of the biggest in Brazil through which 50% of the oil extracted from the sea by this company enters.
    Pollution results from ducts or ships’ oil leakage, ships’ ballast water, poisonous paint which is extremely toxic used on the hull of almost all the vessels, from ships to sailboats including motor boats, fishing boats; absence of inspection, etc. This and the fact of being near the port of Santos and Cubatao’s industrial pole give us an idea of the threats in the area.
    Let’s explain it. In Brazil, about 40% of the industrial complexes were established on the coast. Cubatao is not an exception. Almost all the ports of the world are in estuaries, a fragile area rich in maritime life which due to the intense pollution turned some of them, such as the estuary of Santos, into an Intensive Therapy Unit of animal life.

    Among other things, ships transport ballast water to be kept steady. When they arrive at a new port they normally throw it away, that is the ballast is removed. It is estimated that thousands of tons of ballast water are removed from one part of the globe and thrown in another. In the middle of the water, experts believe that 7 thousand different animal and vegetal species are transported. This is one of the greatest threats to the oceans today, which is bioinvasion. The golden mussel came from China in the ballast water of some ship and entered in Brazil through the ports of the south. Today this is one of Itaupu’s greatest problems: sometimes the turbines must be turned off so that the mussels are removed. Today, this type of bivalve, known as Lomnoperma fortunei, the scientific name, usually called golden mussel, will probably reach the Amazon bay. This is one of Ilhabela’s problems. But there is more. On the hull of the ships exotic species are incrusted. Some of them carry up to 2 million exotic organisms in this area. This decreases the speed and makes freight more expensive. To minimize the problem, ships and boats, including the Endless Sea, paint these parts, known in the nautical language as underwater hull, (part of the hull which is below the water line) with toxic paint containing TBT (tributi- stain) which is obviously harmful for maritime life. It would be even worse if there wasn’t any paint, since animals would be incrusted. However, there is no doubt it is harmful.

    Most people think industrial chimneys have to do with pollution, which is correct. But these people forget that the chimneys of the ships, responsible for 80% of the world trade, also pollute a lot. Some estimates show that in 2010, the emission of sulfur and carbon dioxide by ships in the European Community will represent 78% of all the terrestrial emission (source: the book Blue Amazon).
    It is important to remind you that the ships that come to this part of the country also have chimneys… To give you an idea, a cruiser with three thousand passengers pollutes the air as much as 12 thousand cars operating daily. They also come to Ilhabela, like thousands of cars with Paulistanos who come here whenever they can.

    Altogether, plus the omission of state authorities and real estate speculation resulted in today’s Ilhabela.
    The north side of the island which had been unoccupied for quite long; today plenty of houses are found all the way up the coast. Even in places which are not reached by the road.
    The part facing the continent has slums. There is an unoccupied area in the south and east, where non-industrial communities such as Bonete’s, Castelhanos’, etc. remain.
    We visited a beach which has been recently occupied by summer visitors, Indaiauba, just to mention a successful case.

    The responsible undertaker built his house behind the first row of trees and the landscape wasn’t changed. Besides, he planted hundreds of trees and reforested part of the hills. He also built better houses for old fishermen who work in his property today. He also built a school which has a teacher and fishermen’s children from that beach as well from others in the neighborhood go to the same school.
    As you can see, with information and good will changes are possible. It depends solely on you if you want to do it the right way.

    Before finishing this part, I would like to mention some remarkable aspects in Ilhabela. This is the district which has the richest Atlantic Forest in the entire state of Sao Paulo. The forest has 300 waterfalls as well as some endemic animals such as the cururua rat. Twenty-three species of mammals were classified like the jaguatirica (a leopard cat) as well as approximately 200 types of birds.
    The plains have reef formation and a few mangrove areas can still be seen, such as in Pereque and Castelhanos.

    At last, the island has a jewel as historic site recorded by IPHAN, the Engenho D’Agua Farm. It dates from the 16th century and it was renovated in the following centuries. In past times, it was one of the greatest producers of sugar-cane. Later, until 1982, it still produced distilled alcoholic liquor. It was finally plotted, and the remaining building is the wonderful headquarters with the water-wheel which is still operating. It is treated by the owner family comme il faut: the farm is perfect. There is no damage in the paint or a leaf on the floor. It must be visited.
    São Sebastião

    We crossed the Toque-Toque canal and arrived in São Sebastiao, the most important district of Sao Paulo’s north coast.
    In spite of having received Petrobras’ royalties since the late eighties, São Sebastiao is different from Macae where we have recently been. Royalties were used strictly where necessary: infrastructure improvements. The city grew and the inhabitants’ standard of life was improved.
    Here, on the contrary, royalties were used to afford the district’s ineffective public administration. And the chronic problems were intensified.

    About 75 thousand inhabitants live in 16 thousand houses; only 36% have waste treatment (IBGE 2000). Twenty thousand live in risky areas’ slums; most of them in huts on the Serra do Mar’s slopes, behind the beaches in “frozen centers” (the mayor’s recent determination to refrain slums from growing) and this is the core of the present issue.

    Caraguatatuba is at the district’s north border and Bertioga at the south border. It has about 30 beaches where fishermen lived; after BR 101 was built, hotels, pousadas, condominiums, summer houses owned by Sao Paulo’s elite are found instead. Additionally, Sao Sebastiao has a port as well as Petrobras’ terminal, the most important of the Brazilian coast; both are being expanded.
    To make things worse, the local mayor is a polemic person. Before being elected, Juan Garcia (PPS) was caught in the act by a hidden camera extorting money from a local bus company, Autovias, which denounced him and sent the video to the police. Nevertheless, he was elected and today he is being sued by the Civil Court.

    Two months ago, in July, Juan Garcia and his family were victims of a “vendetta”; they were in a car near their home and it was shot. Several bullets hit the car, but none of the passengers was hurt. These data show how difficult the situation is.
    Now the polemic issue, as I have already mentioned, is whether the district accepts or not Juan Garcia’s project which permits verticalization, that is the construction of five-floor buildings all over the area.
    I would like to put emphasis on the fact that Ilhabela and Sao Sebastiao are the only districts of SP’s north coast where this type of building is forbidden. The whole city is in a stir since the project was suggested. On one side, the mayor and his allies; on the other, there are environmentalists, city councilors, fishermen and people from Sao Paulo who go to local beaches.

    We talked to people from both sides. We first interviewed the mayor. Juan Garcia was authoritative and truculent. When we asked him the first question about the reasons which made him suggest verticalization, Garcia cursed: “Headlines lie” (I had newspaper articles explaining the issue), city councilors “are irresponsible people who didn’t vote” (when his project was first presented) and “they had an idiotic strategy” (on the voting day).

    And then, when he was calmer, he explained to us that it is a social project. The purpose is to build houses for 20 thousand people who live in 41 “frozen centers” These are invaded areas which the mayor asked to demarcate. His inspectors check them periodically in order to avoid new buildings.
    The project created “Zeis”, Special Social Interest Areas, to settle there people who live irregularly today.

    And most people are against it; from the vice-mayor to the Council’s President. Vice-mayor Santana thinks that “the project is an excuse to verticalize the city” (O Estado de São Paulo, March 2006). In the same article, Regina Helena de Paiva Ramos, secretary of the Environment Department and founder of Federação Pro- Costa Atlantica which includes 18 neighborhood friends’ communities of Sao Sebastiao’s south coast, says; “We are against five-floor buildings.” Cingapuras (same type of popular buildings) didn’t work in São Paulo and here it would be worse with this hot weather.”

    Regina thinks that “the buildings require waste sanitation system since the south coast has an important tourism appeal; if this is not made, there will be no more clean beaches.”
    She finally says: “These small buildings are dangerous. It sets a precedent for future verticalization.”
    People who are against say “everybody agrees with the idea of moving the inhabitants from slums, but the project doesn’t specify the areas and allows the construction of popular buildings up to five floors.”
    In spite of the mayor’s strategies, accused of being at the head of a group of Portuguese investors from Santos, the project has not been approved so far.
    I asked Juan Garcia to describe the 20 thousand people who live in “the frozen centers”; he explained to us that there is a significant part of migrants who have come to Sao Sebastiao from the late nineties at an annual rate of 6% attracted by Petrobras’ royalties.

    Does this migration continue today? The mayor explained that this rate dropped to 3.5% in 2005 due to the frozen centers created by him. He added that since February 2005, his inspectors have demolished 70 houses which had been built in spite of the frozen zone.
    I asked which were Sao Sebastiao’s major problems and he put things this way: “In the north and central part of the district there is an industrial complex and in the south tourism. “In both areas there is insufficient infrastructure and sanitation.”

    According to Juan Garcia, the second major problem is the seasonal variation. “The area has 75 thousand inhabitants but welcomes (on vacation) 300 thousand.”
    We have here the second home unsuccessful system. That’s what professor Paulo Pereira Gusmao from the department of Public Policies of Rio de Janeiro’s Federal University told us when we interviewed him in Rio (logbook 23).

    Juan Garcia told us about a curious thing in Sao Sebastiao; there are only two social classes: the rich and the poor who live in slums. “There is no middle class in Sao Sebastiao.” He blamed the Soil Use Law from 1977 for “giving no option to the middle class”. “This class didn’t come to the city because 500 reais per square meter in the cheapest area is very expensive.”
    I asked him about the royalties: The district has a budget of 200 million reais, 50% come from the royalties.”

    What investments can be made with a hundred million reais? And then he explained to us about the “big” public machine and the efforts made to decrease costs. This is the reason why this year, for the first time, 50 million of the royalties have been used to improve infrastructure.
    He is happy when he talks about the expansion of the port. He says that works will be completed in 2008, when the complex will be two-thirds bigger to be able to receive more ships at the same time. Petrobras’ terminal will be expanded as well and this will increase income.
    We left the mayor’s office and then talked to the President of the City Council, Boiçucanga’s ex-fisherman, Wagner Teixeira.

    My first question was about investments. Teixeira said that the mayor hasn’t made any changes to diminish the city’s “big” public machine. “He is using the money taken from the health and education budget, because he intends to be reelected.”

    In regard to verticalization, Teixeira explained to us the mayor’s strategies and the various rejections his project has submitted to in the City Council. The most important complaint is the fact of not stating precisely where the construction of the buildings will be allowed, which permits breaches in the legislation.

    The version spread is that the mayor is sponsored by businessmen of the building community and speculators in general, the same people who supported his campaign.
    And then Teixeira spoke about the chaotic situation of the district’s beaches: “Camburi has no water treatment as well as Baleia and Sahy.”
    Teixeira finally said that “the district has received a good amount of royalties these last seven years according to a study carried out by ex-mayor Paulo Juliao’s administration. Nevertheless, nothing happens.” He ended by saying that people who are against will suggest a new project to create the Zeis with no verticalization.

    The fight warms up. Since the nineties, from time to time, a similar project is sent to the City Council and it is always rejected. In 1999, a list with 12 thousand signatures made the city councilors review a proposal of accepting one of them.

    According Fundação Seade, the four districts of SP’s north coast, with 270 thousand people were one of the areas that most grew during the last decade in the state. Whereas SP’s average was 15.9%, this area reached 43.5% (O Estado de S.Paulo, March 2005).
    We finally interviewed environmentalist Eduardo Hipólito do Rego, Consema’s representative on SP’s north coast (Environment State Council). He also refuses the mayor’s project. He said that Sao Sebastiao was Brazil’s first district which had selective garbage collection with a collectors’ association. In past times, before the present administration, garbage decreased in 25%. Today, this rate reaches 10, maybe 12%. The mayor is not worried about the situation which is very serious.
    Baleia Beach is an area, where all the garbage is thrown, is full and “nobody does anything to face this problem”. Eduardo says that nowadays technology is available to recover the area, but it is very expensive. That’s why the mayor prefers, like in Ilhabela, to export the garbage to Tremembe district.
    In regard to the controversial verticalization issue, Eduardo said that “Zeis is included in the City’s Statute but the mayor distorted it by suggesting verticalization.”
    He told us that Sao Sebastiao is the eighth economy of the state since the royalties started to be paid and this caused migration. “A significant amount of people from the south of Minas Gerais is coming, and illegal plot sellers are everywhere.

    He believes that these people work in plots in the surroundings of protected areas (more than 70% of the territory occupied by Sao Sebastiao, Ilhabela, Caraguatatuba and Ubatuba are covered with conservation units), like a cancer that spreads.

    Eduardo thinks that the worst thing is the fact the four agencies that are supposed to be in charge of the issue, DEPRN (State Department of Natural Resources Protection), the city administration, the Public Prosecution Service and the Forest Police do not communicate. “The Civil Police puts people in jail.” But “with all the red tape and the lack of communication among the agencies; the plot sellers, known by everybody, rarely go to jail.”

    Eduardo also talked about ecotourism, Sao Sebastiao’s natural call, “it is abandoned and none of the paths have signals”. Historic sites are abandoned too. “Seven blocks downtown are recorded as historic sites by IPHAN. However, even the mother church has no guards available.”

    In regard to the list of environmental problems, in addition to the garbage issue, Eduardo mentioned other problems and talked about a submarine detritus carrier which has been operating for seventeen years with no environmental permit. The carrier is so badly designed, so short, that it is impossible to get a permit. However, it keeps on throwing the detritus directly into the canal, treated only with chloride and gas.

    Finally, there is a great concern in regard to the expansion of the port. To conduct works more easily, an Export Corridor Project was created. This means the duplication of the Tamoios road, which is between the Atlantic Forest and reefs crossed by rivers which go down the Serra do Mar. There are five Eia-Rimas (Environmental Impact Study) which are interrupted now. And without them nothing can be done.
    Before finishing, Eduardo says that the production of gas, from Mexilhao base, 150 kilometers out of Ilhabela will be sent through the tubes to Caraguatatuba and then up the Serra do Mar.
    On the other hand, the oil production will be drained to Sao Sebastiao. And this is an additional pressure on the environment and people who are in charge of dealing with it haven’t been able to solve ordinary problems and are far from solving complex issues.

    There is a dark future for this area; that’s the feeling after these three interviews.
    Afterwards, we walked around the city and shot the old settlement and went to Santos by car and checked each beach. And the situation is miserable. At every beach, slums are found as well as huge areas densely occupied with insufficient infrastructure.

    If the shore line is paved, when you go to the interior, where old fishermen or migrants live, there is no pavement or sanitation. And all this in an area that is protected three times, since the Atlantic Forest and the coastal zone are national patrimony guaranteed by the Federal Constitution and the Serra do Mar is recorded land. Guess what would happen if this was not the case…
    Summing up everything I saw and heard, the three major problems are: ineffective inspection of chaotic growth as well as the waste treatment issue and the garbage destination.

    Just to give you an idea, at the few beaches where there is waste treatment, it is inadequate. Others have inspection wells on the sand. On holidays, when thousands of summer visitors are here, there are some failures and sometimes net waste pours, that is excrement, like an oil well, on the beach.
    We also saw privatized beaches. At least this is the situation at Galhetas, Guaeca and Santiago.
    Finally, after this trip and after having flown over the area by helicopter; we took a friend’s motor boat, Plinio Romeiro Jr. We wanted to shoot the coast from this angle too, since this is the TV program purpose.

    During our sailing, we were able to notice that the occupation impact on the natural scenery is the least serious problem. Apart from Sao Sebastiao’s hills and coast, the Toque-Toque canal is full of awful huge houses at the top, which is forbidden; some beaches don’t even seem occupied. Usually, but not always, houses were built after the first row of trees and don’t really spoil the landscape. Some of them, like Maresias, weren’t even spared from that. Others, like Santiago, look untouched from the sea (see pictures).

    I would like to emphasize the erosion on the hills where the vegetation was devastated, like those around Guaeca. However, in general, except Sao Sebastiao’s urban cities, from Toque-Toque to Boraceia, at the border with Bertioga, I described what I saw and noticed. Let’s go down a little bit.
    PS – Three days after the program on this area was broadcast, October 22, 2006, O Estado de S. Paulo, started to publish a new series of articles on the verticalization issue and on Mayor Juan Garcia’s administration. Today, October 26, the crew of the Endless Sea got a letter from Sao Sebastiao’s friends telling that the mayor bought all the newspapers from the city stands. Obviously, he learned this exotic technique with his peer, Ilhabela’s mayor…
    Bertioga.

    Some environmentalists tell us that approximately 50% of the mangroves of Santo’s Baixada (lowlands) have already been or are being devastated. The part which is left is here in Bertioga.
    After having traveled for two years on the north and northeast coast of Brazil, it’s been quite a long time since I last sailed through the Canal of Bertioga. When I did it during the present trip, I was positively impressed.

    To go to Ilhabela by motor boat we left Guaruja’s marina and came all the way until here through the canal.

    I know this area since I was a boy. I was 12 or 13 years old when I first came here. About 40 years ago. Taking into account that it is next to the biggest Latin American port and near Cubatao’s industrial complex, known in the past as the Death Valley; less than 100 kilometers far from the biggest South American city, after all these years, the situation is quite surprising.
    Sailing through the canal, where when I was a boy I used to go skiing, I could see that the landscape has changed just a little.

    What is really different since then is the amount of marinas on the banks, especially near Bertioga.
    In those times, people who had boats or sailboats could only choose between Santos Yacht Club and Sao Vicente’s. Both were small. After all these years, the nautical industry grew tremendously. Today, there are thousands of boats between the coast of Santos and Rio de Janeiro; consequently, marinas were created to keep them. Here in Santos, most of them are found in this canal.

    Apart form them, there are also one or two condominiums with contiguous nautical garages, similar to Miami’s: huge houses with floating structures where the owners keep their boats. And this is about everything you see that is different. The other change concerns the amount of people that come to these beaches on weekends, holidays and vacation. And this is a significant change. There are thousands of tourists coming. When you go through the canal, you can see thousands of aluminum canoes, with stern motor, full of leisure fishermen looking for robalos.

    When I sailed to Ilhabela through this canal from the Port of Santos to Bertioga, I had this good impression. Looking at the banks, I recognized every curve, every detail. And, at first sight, except the marinas, it looked good to me. Maybe not very thick, but nothing more dramatic than that. The place is beautiful. Besides the mangroves, the Serra do Mar is really close. The huge walls follow us from the beginning to the end; and are really near the water, especially when you approach Santos. Two wonderful affluents are remarkable. The Jurutuba River, almost beside the port of Santos and the Itapanhau River, downwards, near Bertioga.

    The population of Bertioga is 30 thousand inhabitants divided in 8,500 homes, only 19% have waste system (IBGE, 2000). This means that only 1,600 benefit from it. It is sad to realize the fraud from the Brazilian government against its citizens. Our tax burden is one of the highest in the world, almost 40% of the GNP, and the government doesn’t give us anything back. Our education is ridiculous, public security is a bad taste joke, and sanitation is this mess we have seen on our journey.
    But this is not the major problem in this area. The problem is being near Santos and Cubatao because of the industrial pollution with all this type of material thrown in the estuary.
    The concentration of industrial complexes on Sao Paulo’s coastal zone is approximately 9%.
    Pressures in this area are oil leakage and heavy metals such as plumb, cadmium, copper and zinc, among others. The oil comes from ships and Petrobras refinery in Cubatao as well from the cars of local inhabitants and those from Sao Paulo’s tourists. It’s good to remember that on every holiday; more than one million tourists go down the Serra do Mar. The gases from their cars at first go up and then with the rain, they go down straight to the estuary, transformed again into oil residues.

    Bioinvasion caused by ballast water from ships which come to Santos is another serious problem as well as the toxic paint used on the hull of thousands of boats and ships which sail in its waters. There is also the garbage from local inhabitants as well as tourists, irregular occupation and real estate speculation.
    Garbage, for instance, is a serious problem. UN’s studies show that a person produces from 300 grams to a kilo of garbage per day. When people come to this area, most of them are smokers, throw their cigarette butts in the sea or stick them into the beach sand. They don’t realize what they do; if they do, they are selfish, since cigarette butts disappear after two years. Not to mention plastic bags and bottles, paper, paper drinking cups, etc. After a holiday, beaches look like big garbage areas.

    Funny! These people ask what this has to do with pollution; as if it were only the government or other people’s fault. They mistakenly think that the oil that exists in the ocean results only from accidents with ducts or ships, never from their cars. In addition to contributing to global warming, 80% of oil leakage in the seas comes from cars.

    As long as this type of behavior exists, our generation won’t fulfill the task of leaving a better planet for the next.

    Selfishness, no public spirit, lack of information or self-indulgence as citizens will make us fail. It is a pity. It is not too late; however, most people think it is impossible to change their habits. Consequently, it is difficult to change an overpopulated planet with unsustainable production and consumption habits.

    In regard to public policies, the problem is always the same. Sometimes there are laws, but no inspection. Sometimes there is no communication in repressive agencies at different levels; consequently, law-breakers are not punished.

    Well, let me talk about my impressions. The beginning of the district is in the north, at Boraceia beach, and right after I had the first very pleasant surprise. Between Boraceia and Sao Lourenço there is one beach. From the road or the sea, I must have passed it a hundred times, but it had never caught my attention. I had never seen it, this was the first time. I missed a lot. The beach is beautiful, wonderful, with exuberant Atlantic Forest at the south border, reef coverage from the Serra do Mar slope to the beach, in the center, and more untouched reef, at the north border. Actually, Itaguare is a jewel. It is tremendously threatened.

    At this right moment, in the Baixada, Itaguare’s future is discussed. On one side, there are environmentalists who want to turn it into a conservation unit so as to keep its biodiversity. On the other, businessmen from the building industry, groups involved with condominium, real estate speculators and even Bertioga’s Environment Secretary want to plot it.

    We talked with Fabricio Gandini from Maramar Institute for the Responsible Management of Natural Resources, a NGO from Santos. He told us about the pressures in this fight for Itaguare. The ring of this contention is the meetings of the Sectorial Group Of Santos’ Baixada who discusses the ecological economic zoning of this part of SP’s coast. There are 27 members who represent the government, environmentalists, the civil society, the academic community, the state, the district, etc.
    SP’s coast was divided into four parts for zoning purposes: North Coast, Santos’ Baixada, Iguape-Cananeia Lagoon and Ribeira Valley.

    Fabricio told us that environmentalists were able to classify the area in Zone 4, “ultra-special”, these are his words. It is not a full victory, but it is not a defeat either.
    Fabricio defined “ultra-special” as “a sort of Zone 2”, that is 80% of the area has to be preserved. The other 20% may be occupied with restrictions: street planning is forbidden which he believes “increases the value of the area and then attracts real estate speculators”. Zone 4 doesn’t allow either the soil plotting in Itaguare or urban infrastructure. This decision was taken a few days after our visit. Now it will be submitted to public hearings during one or two months so that it is legitimate. Afterwards, it will be sent to the governor so that a decree turns it into law. At least this; it’s not the best but that’s what they’ve got.

    Going southwards, we arrived in Sao Lourenço, a beach like Itaguare some years ago. And then a huge condominium, the biggest I have ever seen on the Brazilian coast emerged.
    The change was so strong that nobody knows it as it was originally called. Everybody knows it as Riviera de São Lourenço; this is the name of the condominium built by Sobloco Construtora S/A, since 1979.
    The original land belonged to Praias Paulistas S.A. and Cia. Fazenda Acarau’s owners and have nine million square meters. Huge.

    What is it and how was it made?
    Well there are hundreds of houses and apartment buildings. There is even a shopping center. It seems it is a city in a district.
    The damage caused to the landscape is devastating. See the pictures taken from the sea or the houses and the buildings. Actually, it is a city and the size is quite impressive. However, if the landscape was damaged in an unprecedented way, it was completely changed. I must say the condominium is very well designed.

    From the total area, 2 million, six hundred thousand meters were preserved. It is more than twice as much the surface required by law. There are schools for the employees’ children, first world infrastructure, better than many Brazilian coastal cities. There is water and waste treatment, garbage recycling, pavement, etc. Irreproachable. Additionally, the condominium employs lots of people. There are plaques informing they employ 4 thousand people. I don’t doubt. As I said, the thing is huge.
    Afterwards, we went to urban beaches such as Bertioga, Enseada, Vista Linda and Indaia. All of them densely occupied, with lots of buildings and houses, a chaotic occupation which has also changed the natural scenery.

    And at last, the city. Something that is remarkable is Sao Joao Fort, which very well preserved, built at the end of the beach to defend the entrance of the canal. On the other side, in Santo Amaro Island, the Portuguese built another fortress, in ruins today, for the traditional “blind spot”, always made by the Portuguese in the mouth of the rivers through which they entered to establish the first settlements.
    Apart from that, there is Bertioga’s canal, with its affluents, and the mangrove.
    We went up the Itapanhau River, one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen, to Itatinga Power Station. It was built by the English in the 20th century to generate power to the port of Santos and it is still operating today. A wonderful place. An exuberant forest, the big walls of the Sea Mountain Chain going down abruptly and some pressure, such as the extraction of sand of the area.

    This is where I had one of the worst experiences in the sea. Alonso and I were in the boat. But, when we were going to bed, we were surprised by three burglars on board. One of them had a 38 caliber gun, another a 12 ammuniton belt and the third one a 44. During half an hour these burglars stole everything they found in the Endless Sea. All the electronic devices, the rubber boat, the stern motor and even the money I had with me. They tied us in the bathroom and escaped. In spite of having made a complaint at the police, they were never caught. This happened about four years ago. Later I was told this occurs in boats in the area of Santos, more often than we imagine. Even fishing boats have been stolen.
    As you can see, even in the sea we are not free from the problem of lack of security.
    Santos.

    What can be said about the most densely occupied area of the Brazilian coast? About the area which has the biggest port in Latin America and Cubatao petrochemical pole? It is not an easy task because I’ve known this area for so long that I am used to it. That’s why it is a difficult task. I cannot count on the expectation or surprise factor. The fact of being used to it sometimes leads us to the risk of accepting the situation.

    Now that I have explained the restrictions, I can go on.
    The estuary of Santos is dead. The noblest species of fishes and crustaceans such as robalo and shrimp have almost disappeared. I haven’t seen dolphins in the bay for at least thirty years. I think globefishes are the only which still resist. And this partially results from the neglectful attitude towards the maritime environment.

    As I have already said in these diaries, a study shows that Brazilian people see the sea as an area for leisure, on vacation or on the weekends. Most people don’t see the sea as a huge collective ecosystem, responsible for instance for the climate of the Earth. It is simply a leisure area. This makes its sustainable use even more difficult.

    Additionally, this area was occupied earlier. Sao Vicente, the old “Slaves’ Port,” was Brazil’s first city which had a City Council and jail.

    Today, Sao Vicente has 300 thousand inhabitants. Santos has approximately 500 thousand and Guaruja, 260 thousand. The lowlands of Santos are an hour away from Sao Paulo, Brazil’s biggest metropolis.
    On long holidays, millions of Paulistanos go down the Serra do Mar road with their cars. The area is more polluted with thousands of garbage thrown on the beaches and in the streets, human waste that the sanitation system is unable to eliminate, in addition to the pollution from their cars in the air and sea. Nowadays, many Paulistanos live in Santos and work in Sao Paulo.
    To make things worse, the area was first industrialized in the fifties. Maybe these data help to explain what happened.

    Unlike the Northeast, Santos has ALREADY been occupied. To talk about it is like talking about the past. That’s why on this trip I read a series of articles by Jornal da Tarde and o Estado de São Paulo published in 1984 showing data on the alarming situation on the Brazilian coastal zone.
    It was a great series, maybe one of the first times the press tried to call the society and authorities’ attention about the disregard towards our coast. Cubatao polluted the environment so much that in the sixties it was called the “Death Valley” after the babies started to be born without brains!
    In one of the articles, the newspaper published parts of a study carried out by Raul Ximenes Galvao, at that time he was FAO’s Brazilian consultant, on pollutants thrown in the estuary daily. Let’s see what it says: “A huge volume of waste from the city of Sao Paulo arrive in the Baixada of Santos through Billings (SP’s huge reservoir); manganese and iron oxide released by Cosipa, a big steel company; nitric acids, ammoniac and ammonia nitrates released by Ultrafertil, a fertilizer plant; methyl-mercury released either by Companhia de Estireno or Carbocloro; phenol, methanol, formaldehyde, synthetic resins and urea-phenol by Alba-Adria, whereas Manah, a fertilizer plant, releases chlorides and fluoridric acid.” Rhodia is also a company in the petrochemical pole which released lots of toxic substances until 1983 when it was accused of releasing in the air hexachlorobutadiene, a highly toxic substance that can kill a person in 24 hours, if it reaches 2.3 grams per cubic meter of air.

    Moreover, Cubatao was built at the bottom of the Serra do Mar, beside huge rock walls which reach 800 meters refraining winds from coming and helping to spread.

    The other problem was the omission of government authorities towards the irregular occupation of the slopes of the Sea Mountain Chain, near Imigrantes, the road, or “big avenue” that connects the Plateau with the Baixada. In spite of the accusations of the press, the invaders were never removed. Today, when you go up the mountain chain, at night, you can see a huge light in the middle of the forest. A small town with slums which already has public phone, electricity, etc.

    The same happened in the mangrove and flooded areas of the Baixada where huge slums started to appear little by little. This occurred in Permanent Preservation Areas, or in recorded land, such as the Serra do Mar.

    In these articles published by SP’s newspapers, there is an emblematic statement I quote here: “This thing of preserving the Serra do Mar is a utopia. This is ecologist stuff who only wants to see birds sing on branches. Wood has to be used to make money. The deal is to cut down trees and plant again.” This statement was made by a retired general, Alcindo Pereira Gonçalves, in 1984. At that time he was Parana’s Regional Representative of the Brazilian Institute of Forest Development. It was during the same period that the IBDF implemented a reforestation policy, especially with exotic trees of rapid growth such as pinus elliot.

    The article explains that the IBDF was founded in 1967 during Castelo Branco’s administration and “it never acted effectively to protect preserved areas”. It’s also said that “IBDF’s forest development never included management in its priorities. The entire structure of this institute was created merely to transfer tax benefits for reforestation purposes.”

    I remember in the 80s the scars on the Serra do Mar in Sao Paulo’s portion. Once, O Jornal da Tarde published a photo on the newspaper front page showing the eroded veins at the top and on the slopes of the Serra do Mar. It warned readers and authorities that if nothing was done, it would collapse. This actually happened in Caraguatatuba in 1967. It was an alert, a strong accusation that made the state government turn the Sera do Mar into recorded land. This enabled a greater inspection as well as reforestation projects, this time with native cuttings.

    When I passed Cubatao on the way to Guaruja, I remember seeing the slopes almost naked, without life due to the pollution from the petrochemical pole. The situation was dramatic. Additionally, there was an army of loggers, palm tree cutters and coal dealers working freely due to omission as usual.
    Government authorities started to plant the area with lots of cuttings of native plants and they were also tougher with law-breakers.

    Today, after all these years, the situation is significantly better. That’s why, at the beginning, I said it was hard to talk about this area. It was worse in a recent past. Just to give you an idea, from 1974 to 1979, the beaches in the Baixada were considered unsuitable for swimmers due to the amount of fecal coliforms found in it. This was the situation for five years.

    Today, this area’s basic sanitation is much better. Santos is the Brazilian coast’s paradigm. Ninety four per cent of the 131 thousand homes have waste treatment and 99% have garbage collection. In São Vicente there are 83 thousand homes and 67% have waste treatment and 99% have garbage collection.
    The situation is better too in regard to the Sea Mountain Chain and the Atlantic forest. Today, Cubatao doesn’t pollute so much. There are a few exceptions; however, as a whole, it is certainly better.
    This part of the Serra do Mar is not naked any more and even a few flamingoes returned to mangroves and rivers.

    Nevertheless, if improvements can be seen in Cubatao; other pressures still exist or are even worse. Real estate speculation has devastated the beaches in the south area of Santos, from Peruibe to Bertioga. It also damaged almost all the beaches of Guaruja.
    Since the 80s, the number of Paulistanos who go down the Mountain whenever they can has continued to increase. After they go back, they leave behind tons of garbage on the beaches.
    It is hard to believe that an ordinary citizen still acts like this in the 21st century
    with all the available information on the damage caused by the garbage thrown in the street or on the beaches. But it still happens.

    I suggest a test. I believe you, reader, know a few smokers, don’t you? Well, I would like you to try to remember how many you’ve seen throwing cigarette butts in the streets or on the beaches. I can predict the answer: the vast majority. And a significant part repeats the same thing with other types of garbage that take longer to disappear, such as plastic which takes a hundred years to disintegrate. So, whose fault in this case? We can’t say it is only the government’s…

    Every year, more than 5 thousand ships anchor at the port. Five thousand additional chimneys which are highly pollutant. And millions of tons of ballast water that make bioinvasion reach unthinkable proportions. I have already mentioned this in other logbooks and here I am again with more examples. Today, bioinvasion is seen as the second biggest threat to the planet’s biodiversity. It is just behind habitat devastation.

    Santos has already lost about 50% of its mangroves, one of the biggest cultures of maritime life.
    They were destroyed to fill with earth flooded areas and enable the urban growth in the districts of the Baixada. With the port and the ships that arrive constantly, this area still receives thousands of exotic organisms every year.

    According to the Convention on Biologic Diversity, CDB, UN’s agency, only in the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Brazil and India, there is a damage of 300 billion dollars per year! In Brazil it reaches 50 billion dollars and CDB says that “assuming there are similar costs all over the world, the damage caused by invader species would be higher than 1.4 TRILLION dollars”, alarming figures.
    A study carried out by the Environment Department, the First National Bulletin on Invader Species, shows that about 545 types are introduced in the country such as the pinus, dendezeiro, acacias, castor beans, the African bee, the sparrow, pigeons, the Chagas mosquito, carps, tilapias, the buffalo, the wild boar, the golden mussel, the dengue mosquito, the African giant-winkle, which was introduced like escargot, different types of grass used in pasture as well as bacteria and viruses which cause diseases such as cholera, leptospirosis and schistosomiasis.

    In regard to the insular environment, we have already mentioned the damage caused by lizard Teju in Fernando de Noronha or the nonsense of introducing animals in Anchieta Island, on Sao Paulo’s north coast. This is one of the huge pressures on Santos and the surrounding area.

    Moreover, the port attracts thousands of trucks that go down the Serra do Mar for the production outflow; consequently, they add more pollution. I’ve already said and I repeat: 80% of the oil found in the sea doesn’t result from ships or ducts’ leakage; it results from the exhaust of cars. Imagine the amount of trucks required to carry 28% of Brazil’s export leaving from the port of Santos.
    In spite of that, there are many problems. Modern structures, fruit of privatization, coexist with others which are extremely archaic. Although productivity has recently increased, cost is still very high which makes it expensive; consequently, our products are not competitive and don’t bring foreign currencies which could help improve the situation.

    The Agenda of the Ports, a group of 64 measures to avoid the strangulation of the domestic ports doesn’t work. Up to the present moment, more than two years after it was announced, only 18 were implemented. (O Estado de S. Paulo, March 5, 2006). The state government invests little; it spends badly its meager funds. If you put all this together, the result couldn’t be very different.
    Before ending, there is a new fact. Petrobras has announced new findings in the waters of Santos this year. According to Guilherme Estrela, the head of the company’s exploration department, there are two new wells: BMS 10 and 11. It’s light oil which is more valuable. This makes the bay of Santos have a greater potential than that of Campos, in Rio de Janeiro where 80% of the (heavy) oil produced in the country is. This finding may bring improvements through currencies and royalties so that Santos makes investments; it can also bring more environmental pressure. All depends on how the project will be put in operation and conducted.

    A few more words about Guaruja, the old swimming place of Sao Paulo’s elite, in decay today. The district could be a good example for the country of the damage caused by real estate speculation.
    There were very beautiful and unoccupied beaches in Guaruja until the beginning of the 20th century. It was an elegant resting place. Today it is a very crowded and ordinary city. At the beginning of 1984, when this area had already been changed by speculation, there was the last straw: the development guide plan was changed and skyscrapers covered the forests and hills. The amount, the height and the distance from the beach of the buildings are unequalled. A cement wall emerged on the shore of Santo Amaro Island. I quote again a series of articles from Estadão and Jornal da Tarde where it is said: At the end of November (1983) , the Institute of Brazil’s architects – Guaruja center – wrote a paper accusing the devastation of Pitu and Botelho hills whose recorded land processes started in August 1982. Legally speaking, from this date on, excavation or building on the hills was forbidden. However, Guaruja’s administration itself and Urge (Guaruja’s urbanization company) have removed land from Pitu’s slopes to fill 1.6 million square meters of a mangrove area between the Do Meio River and the Icanhema River. Architects were afraid there wouldn’t be anything left as recorded land on both hills. We have already seen this type of anxiety expressed by mayors of many coastal districts we have visited on our journey. Most of them act like Guaruja’s administration: they break their own rules to satisfy their eagerness to increase tax collection.

    Today, there is nothing else to be done. The damage is irremediable. This is gone. Maybe the only thing to be done is to use Guaruja’s present images as an alert for other districts in Brazil to make them see that what they see here today may be the reflection of their district tomorrow. See pictures on the site.
    There are still a few beaches in Guaruja which haven’t been completely devastated and some of them are illegally “privatized” such as Iporanga, Branca, Tijucopava and Taguaiba. These are “fortunate people’s” condominiums which are very controversial. As usual, Estadao accused this illegal practice in an article published this year on August 19. According to the article, Attorney General Rodrigo Pinho appealed against Cezar Peluso’s decision, Minister of the Supreme Court, who kept these five beaches closed to be exclusively used by the condominium. Believe it or not, the argument used was the “preservation of the environment”.

    This fight dates from 1997 when the City Council issued an act to make legal the private use of these public properties. The State Public Prosecution Service proceeded against it and wanted it to be unconstitutional. However, the suit was considered unfounded by the chief judges of the State Supreme Court who accepted the arguments of Tijucopava Friends Society saying that “the restriction was for nature’s good”. One of the pearls used as argument is remarkable. They said that “using the beaches was not forbidden, just the access was closed.” Yes… There is the Supreme Court. We must wait.
    Oh, I forgot to say; one of the fortunate who has a house in Iporanga is your Excellency Minister of Justice Marcio Thomaz Bastos.

    That’s it, pal. In Brazil, the law is the same for all of us; the poor, the rich, the ordinary citizen or State Ministers.
    I got it.
    Next trip, Jureia and Iguape.

    Trip 25 – Ilhabela – São Sebastião – Bertioga – Santos.
    In the last logbook I explained that when the Endless Sea returned to Santos two years after having left to the north deserved to rest and to be repaired. That’s the reason why we will go on this trip by motor boat. Meanwhile, the sailboat will be at the marina, Pier 26, and executive officer Alonso Goes will take care of it.

    Actually, this trip is made of several short trips. We traveled by motor boat, car and helicopter. And all of the trips were affected by a series of cold fronts which are typical in this season.
    Anyway, we carried out our task and recorded four programs. Seeing that the trips occurred on different days and weeks, this logbook won’t be chronologically written as usual; I will describe each visited area.
    Ilhabela.

    Ilhabela is the biggest island of volcanic origin on Sao Paulo’s coast. Although it is near the continent, Ilhabela is about 70 miles towards the north of Santos.
    I have been going to this area since the end of the sixties, beginning of the seventies. That’s why I know it before the tourism boom, when it was calm and quiet, and not very much occupied. The village was not paved; there were just a couple of bars, one or two restaurants, an unpaved landing strip, almost in the center of the city and something similar to a nautical club. Almost all Sao Paulo’s coast was like this in the late sixties.

    In the seventies, BR 101 was built and after the “Brazilian miracle” years, the unsustainable growth promoted by the military government, things changed.
    In less than ten years, almost all the coastal zone was occupied.

    There was no previous planning, no occupation plan and at that time environmental issues were not as important as they are today for the media. The result was not encouraging. Real estate speculation expanded and its claws continue to be sharp today. It is the case for instance of the controversial issue on the verticalization of Sao Sebastiao district on the other side of the canal. We will talk about it later.

    Ilhabela was also submitted to real estate speculation and it has recently involved the current mayor, Manuel Marcos de Jesus Ferreira.
    He first came into power in January 2001 and a few months later he was one of the partners of Ilhabela real estate agency. This agency is accused of selling properties in Ilhabela State Park’s areas, especially in Siriuba plots 1 and 2.

    According to the report of the State Department of Natural Resources’ Protection (DEPRN) “in addition to the fact that some plots are completely or partially in the State Park, there are irregular buildings in Permanent Protection Areas as well as in headwaters.”
    When the newspaper O Estado de São Paulo revealed the fraud in a series of articles published in March and April 2005, the mayor and his allies bought all the newspapers at the news-stands …
    During one of our trips, before the TV program started in 2004, I went to Ilhabela to record a pilot episode for the series. I interviewed the mayor. I was already aware of the irregular buildings. Most of them had probably been built before he came into power. However, at the beginning of the interview I didn’t mention anything about it. I knew it was a controversial issue; that’s why at first we talked about other aspects of the occupation.

    Manoel Marcos was on board the Endless Sea. We went to Bonete in the south of the island. At that time he was in the middle of his political campaign. Obviously, the mayor was visiting the communities in order to get votes.

    When we were approaching the village in the densest area, full of houses at the top of the hills or in the navy’s property where it is forbidden, I asked him about the issue. With an amazing deadpan face, the mayor looked at me and said categorically: Here on the island there are no irregular buildings.”
    I didn’t insist. It is hard to make politicians say the truth at any time of the year. During their political campaign it is almost impossible.

    I realized it would be a waste of time. The sailboat approached the town’s pier and he left the boat.
    Manoel Marcos is not the only mayor who acts like that. On our journey, we have accused others who instead of protecting the population who elected them, become their main tormentor. They make profit dishonestly.
    We saw the same thing in Maranhao, Ceara and Bahia, and here in São Paulo too.
    Ilhabela is part of São Sebastiao archipelago composed of 12 islands; the most important one is the island of Sao Sebastiao where the district which we are talking

    about is. In addition to Vitoria, Buzios, Somitica, Cabras and other which are smaller. They are protected (?) by State Act nº 9.414 from January 20, 1977, which created the State Park.
    Its total area is approximately 27 thousand hectares and the biggest part is on Sao Sebastiao Island which has 85% of its area in it.

    The island is impressively big and beautiful; its height is remarkable too. Some peaks reach 1.300 meters and are covered with Atlantic Forest.
    The Park is 100 meters high; however, the side which faces the continent, densely occupied, where the village is, is at least 200 meters high.

    When you sail through Toque-toque canal, you can see a greater number of houses occupying the hills year after year; some of them invade the Park area.
    Near the sea, on the coast and beaches, it is the same. Although the Park embraces properties of the navy (30 meters above the tide average level), every year more houses are built in this area too. As far as I am concerned, none has ever been demolished because it occupies irregular properties. If there is no punishment for law-breakers, what is the use of an act which determines that the whole area is a Park?
    According to IBGE’s data (2000), Ilhabela’s population is 21 thousand inhabitants, who occupy 5 thousand houses. Just 2.3% have waste system, that is 131 houses; however, 95% have garbage collection. On vacation or holidays, the population is multiplied by 4 or 5. Where do you think the waste of this crowd goes to? Do I have to say?

    Additionally, there is the port of Sao Sebastiao and Petrobras’ terminal in front of it; one of the biggest in Brazil through which 50% of the oil extracted from the sea by this company enters.
    Pollution results from ducts or ships’ oil leakage, ships’ ballast water, poisonous paint which is extremely toxic used on the hull of almost all the vessels, from ships to sailboats including motor boats, fishing boats; absence of inspection, etc. This and the fact of being near the port of Santos and Cubatao’s industrial pole give us an idea of the threats in the area.

    Let’s explain it. In Brazil, about 40% of the industrial complexes were established on the coast. Cubatao is not an exception. Almost all the ports of the world are in estuaries, a fragile area rich in maritime life which due to the intense pollution turned some of them, such as the estuary of Santos, into an Intensive Therapy Unit of animal life.

    Among other things, ships transport ballast water to be kept steady. When they arrive at a new port they normally throw it away, that is the ballast is removed. It is estimated that thousands of tons of ballast water are removed from one part of the globe and thrown in another. In the middle of the water, experts believe that 7 thousand different animal and vegetal species are transported. This is one of the greatest threats to the oceans today, which is bioinvasion. The golden mussel came from China in the ballast water of some ship and entered in Brazil through the ports of the south. Today this is one of Itaupu’s greatest problems: sometimes the turbines must be turned off so that the mussels are removed. Today, this type of bivalve, known as Lomnoperma fortunei, the scientific name, usually called golden mussel, will probably reach the Amazon bay. This is one of Ilhabela’s problems. But there is more. On the hull of the ships exotic species are incrusted. Some of them carry up to 2 million exotic organisms in this area. This decreases the speed and makes freight more expensive. To minimize the problem, ships and boats, including the Endless Sea, paint these parts, known in the nautical language as underwater hull, (part of the hull which is below the water line) with toxic paint containing TBT (tributi- stain) which is obviously harmful for maritime life. It would be even worse if there wasn’t any paint, since animals would be incrusted. However, there is no doubt it is harmful.

    Most people think industrial chimneys have to do with pollution, which is correct. But these people forget that the chimneys of the ships, responsible for 80% of the world trade, also pollute a lot. Some estimates show that in 2010, the emission of sulfur and carbon dioxide by ships in the European Community will represent 78% of all the terrestrial emission (source: the book Blue Amazon).

    It is important to remind you that the ships that come to this part of the country also have chimneys… To give you an idea, a cruiser with three thousand passengers pollutes the air as much as 12 thousand cars operating daily. They also come to Ilhabela, like thousands of cars with Paulistanos who come here whenever they can.

    Altogether, plus the omission of state authorities and real estate speculation resulted in today’s Ilhabela.

    The north side of the island which had been unoccupied for quite long; today plenty of houses are found all the way up the coast. Even in places which are not reached by the road.
    The part facing the continent has slums. There is an unoccupied area in the south and east, where non-industrial communities such as Bonete’s, Castelhanos’, etc. remain.

    We visited a beach which has been recently occupied by summer visitors, Indaiauba, just to mention a successful case.

    The responsible undertaker built his house behind the first row of trees and the landscape wasn’t changed. Besides, he planted hundreds of trees and reforested part of the hills. He also built better houses for old fishermen who work in his property today. He also built a school which has a teacher and fishermen’s children from that beach as well from others in the neighborhood go to the same school.

    As you can see, with information and good will changes are possible. It depends solely on you if you want to do it the right way.

    Before finishing this part, I would like to mention some remarkable aspects in Ilhabela. This is the district which has the richest Atlantic Forest in the entire state of Sao Paulo. The forest has 300 waterfalls as well as some endemic animals such as the cururua rat. Twenty-three sp

    COMPARTILHAR