Recent sightings of fish, ducks and birds in the very polluted Pinheiros river in São Paulo have raised hopes that wildlife may finally be returning. Brazil has an ambitious project to clean up the Pinheiros by the end of 2022.
São Paulo Governor João Doria told Reuters that the clean-up of the Pinheiros river was the largest environmental project in the country in terms of investment, costing around four billion reais ($735 million).
“We have already removed 30,000 tonnes of surface garbage from the river. Today we have 20 boats working daily to clean the Pinheiros,” Doria said. He wants to rescue a river “that for 70 years has become a bad example for Sao Paulo, a polluted and stinking river.”
Jose Bueno, an urban planner with the river conservation group Rio e Ruas, said new bike paths and cafes should help locals to feel closer to the river, and it will encourage them to keep it clean.
“When I see fish in Pinheiros river, I see life. So we are not defending something invisible, something abstract. We are protecting what is alive,” Bueno said.