The initiative is taken by the community of Prata, in the city of Entre Rios, and it counts on Bracell’s support
Residents of the community of Prata, in the city of Entre Rios, State of Bahia, are reviving an old dream that had been lost with illegal deforestation: the dream of having abundant water just like they did when the community first came together, in 1930. “The first residents of the community would even plant rice due to abundant water”, said Maria José Almeida de Jesus, 45 years-old, biologist and president of the association of local residents. In order to have abundant water again, community residents have recovered the headwater of one of the affluents of Rio Subaúma, in partnership with Bracell.
Such recovery and awareness work, involving children and the elder residents of Prata, was implemented in 2014 and has already resulted in the cultivation of over 1,500 seedlings in riparian forests, in addition to capacity-building and support provided by Bracell to the community. “We have been fighting, side-by-side with Bracell, to recover our headwater, and, over time, our water abundance”, says Maria, who decided to study biology to better understand about and help the community even more with environmental preservation matters.
“Recovering the headwater – the effect of which is already felt by the residents, especially during draughts –, is extremely important because it assures another water source to all 82 families living in the community, who currently get their water from an artesian well”, says the biologist.
She adds that the artesian well is shared with a neighboring community and that, in water shortage periods, the residents get water from the water pipes installed close to their homes as a result of the work to recover the headwater. “Water from this source is a good example of our good care of this water resource”, she says, also celebrating the World Water Day and knowing that the community will see better days the affluent of river Subaúma, which is almost 100 kilometers long and cuts the municipalities of Alagoinhas and Aramari, is recovered.
In addition to the support and instructions provided to the residents of Prata, Bracell has already developed actions in 16 different communities, bringing awareness to the population on the importance to preserve the environment through educational activities and joint efforts to recover riparian forests and headwaters. In addition, Bracell works in partnership with the Government, educational institutions and communities to map the areas to be recovered.
The project focus on the recovery of water resources in the basins of rivers Subaúma, Catu and Sauípe, in the Northern Coast and Northeastern region of Bahia. As a result of this work, between 2017 and 2019, the works to recover approximately 12 headwaters and riparian forests were started, involving over 1,600 people.
According to Mouana Sioufi Fonseca, manager of Institutional Relations and Social Responsibility of Bracell, the company’s work is intended to preserve the environment and improve the quality of life of the population as a result. “Bracell is surely one of the companies that mostly preserves headwaters and riparian forests in the region where it operates. And this is because over 30% of Bracell’s areas are preserved. And preserved forests mean preserved headwaters and streams. Water is critical for everyone: the community and Bracell”.
Meryellen Baldim, coordinator of Bracell’s Environment and Certifications division, says that the company has, within its areas, approximately 1,200 mapped headwaters, all protected against degradation: “We also have been monitoring, for over 18 years, the watershed of river Farje. And the results indicate zero impact on the river flow and quality of water within an area of 125 hectares. This only proves the high level of preservation of these areas and that the cultivation of eucalyptus does not negatively affect waterways, since the headwaters are located in areas that have both preserved native vegetation and planted eucalyptus”
Bracell is one of the largest producers of soluble and specialty cellulose in the world, having two major operations in Brazil, in the city of Camaçari, State of Bahia, and in the city of Lençóis Paulista, State of São Paulo. In addition to its operations in Brazil, Bracell has offices in Singapore and sales offices in Asia, Europe and the United States.