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Use of Atrazine and groundwater availability in Brazil

Author(s): Case study Tianguá
IWRA World Water Congress 2008 Montpellier France
1. Water availability, use and management
Author(s): Asdrúbal de Albuquerque Arraes
Francisco Mauricio de Sa Barreto
José Carlos de Araújo
Chemical Engineer (UFC) asdrubal.arraes@gmail.com Rua Paula Rodrigues 420 (Fatima) Fortaleza CE, Brazil

Keyword(s): availability, groundwater, pesticide, Atrazine, Brazil

AbstractThis paper focuses on the use of pesticides in Brazil, particularly Atrazine, and on the damage to groundwater and overall water availability resulting from this use. The paper gathers evidence from literature, pointing to the ultimate nocivity of this practice, both from the health perspective and from the social-environmental standpoint. The pollution-profit concept is denounced, referring to its profound social and environmental unfairness. The economic evils of pesticide-intensive agribusiness are schematized under a chart. The fundamental misconception that lies under the word pesticide is exposed, and linked to the root of the misuse of chemicals as agrarian panaceas. As a particularly environmentally dangerous pesticide, Atrazine, its characteristics, customary uses and essential dangers are described. The case study of the aquifer in the municipality of Tianguá, Ceará, Brazil, is presented. The two-year monitoring of nine wells in the referred aquifer showed its contamination by pesticides (Atrazine included). The studied aquifer is an important source of water to Ceará, the driest State of the Country, and its pollution reduces considerably the water availability in the region. The discussion brought up in this paper is of great importance to the water management system, especially for the Brazilian semi-arid region, where conflicts for water are already a reality, and water quality effective regulation is still to be achieved.
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