Brazil could meet its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in sanitation by 2025, a full 10 years behind schedule, according to a study by NGO Instituto Trata Brasil (ITB).
The MDGs require the country to halve the urban population without sustainable access to basic sanitation services by 2015, which would have required an average 2.77% expansion in coverage each year from 1990-2015.
From 1990-2006, the deficit fell an average of 1.31%/y. At this rate, the goal would have taken 56 years to meet. In 2007 and 2008, however, the average rate fell by 4.18%/y. If this rhythm is kept up, the country will reach the goals in 16 years, the release said.
The creation of the cities ministry in 2003, changes in sanitation laws and the county’s growth acceleration plan (PAC) have contributed to the upward trend.
ITB president Raul Pinho and Marcelo Cortes Neri, head of the center for social research at Fundação Getúlio Vargas (FGV) presented the results of the study in São Paulo [at the end of November 2009].
“Giving PAC all the credit, however, may be a little premature,” Neri said, adding: “Local political decisions such as separating city centers from suburbs have also contributed.”
While 51% of the population now has access to sewage services, it is still low compared to other basic services such as electricity (98.6%), water (82%) and trash collection (79%).
A recent study released by the World Health Organization shows that 18mn Brazilians do not have bathrooms, according to Pinho.
“This is an embarrassing statistic as only six other countries have lower figures,” Pinho said, adding: “We need political will and an overall social awareness” to overcome the problems of basic sanitation in the country.
Source: Daniel Bland, BNamericas.com [subscription site], 26 Nov 2009