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West Zone Environment Forum Debated Mosaico das Vargens

The XXI Environment Forum of the West Zone, held by HotéisRIO (Municipal Accommodation Union) and ACIR (Commercial and Industrial Association of the Recreio and Vargens Region), debated this Wednesday, the 10th, at the eSuites Hotel Recreio Shopping, alternatives to the Environmental Protection Area (APA) of Sertão Carioca and the Wildlife Refuge (Revis) of Campos de Sernambetiba which, together, form the Vargens Mosaic. Among the topics covered were nature conservation units, management plans and environmental management of Baixada de Jacarepaguá. The deputy mayor of Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos Bandeirantes and Vargens, Raphael Lima, and the president of the Rio de Janeiro City Council, Carlo Caiado, among others, were present.

For Alfredo Lopes, president of HotéisRIO and Acir, the forum is an essential space for debate on sustainable development in the region. “The West Zone is a privileged place for nature, with a landscape marked by beautiful lagoons. It is also one of the city's main development sites, which means we have to be very attentive to take care of this fragile habitat. Therefore, it becomes our obligation to ensure that growth occurs in a planned and sustainable manner. Because it is perfectly possible to combine economic growth with environmental preservation. This harmony is essential for future generations.”

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West Zone Environment Forum Debated Mosaico das Vargens 24

The deputy mayor of Barra da Tijuca, Recreio dos Bandeirantes and Vargens, Raphael Lima, highlighted the importance of the City Hall's work in partnership with the State Government. “This coordinated action yields good results. In the case of the Vargens mosaic, we carried out inspections and managed to prevent the continuation of irregular fillings and the seizure of the machines that carried out this work”.

According to the president of the Rio de Janeiro City Council, Carlo Caiado, the challenges are diverse, not only in the region, but in the entire city. “Unfortunately, there is disorderly growth that needs to be controlled. There need to be rules for it to happen properly.” Caiado took advantage of the occasion to break the news that the dredging of the West Zone Lagoon Complex will be carried out by the state government. “It’s an old dream that will finally come to fruition”, he celebrated, drawing applause from the audience.

Luiz Pedreira, manager of Mosaico das Vargens, stated that routine inspections are carried out to preserve protected areas. “We are responsible for controlling just over 300 hectares and, to take care of this area, we use everything from drones to helicopters. Last year alone we wrote more than 80 inspection reports, pointing out environmental damage. However, we need to do more or soon there will be very little left, I estimate no more than 20 hectares.”

For João Rosas, UC (Conservation Units) management manager, one of the objectives, in addition to environmental preservation, is to guarantee the participation of local populations in the creation, implementation and management of UCs. “We seek support and cooperation from individuals and NGOs. There are several opportunities for civil society to participate directly. It is possible to adopt a certain area within a conservation unit and take care of it, from the landscape design to the vegetation management, associating your name with this recovery.”

According to Ricardo Couto, advisor to the Undersecretary of Environment and Climate, another way to help is by participating in the construction of management plans. “Without this plan, UCs are very limited. If before the preparation was expensive and long – sometimes it took so long that the plan became obsolete in the face of changes in the city – today they are prepared together with the population of the territories, in participatory workshops. They are smaller, more flexible and executable documents.”

In closing, the director of Acir, Marco Paes, recalled that he has been following environmental issues in the region since 1995. “I lived in Vila Autódromo for 25 years and I know this debate well. Having a space like this, where representatives of public authorities meet with society to discuss solutions, is proof that we are moving forward.”

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