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Why Blue Water Baltimore Is In Brazil

Boats float along the shoreline of the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay. © Getty
Boats float along the shoreline of the polluted waters of Guanabara Bay. © Getty

In many ways, Guanabara Bay in the State of Rio de Janeiro faces many of the same water quality challenges today that the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland started dealing with more than thirty years ago.

Just as trash, toxic pollutants, sewage and stormwater runoff are a challenge to the health of Baltimore’s streams and harbor so too are they a challenge to the health of residents in Rio de Janeiro.

Now, as Brazil prepares to host the 2016 Summer Olympics, the health of Guanabara Bay is gaining increasing attention.

Van der Gaag

During the course of the coming week, Blue Water Baltimore’s Executive Director Halle van Der Gaag will join other clean water experts from the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science (UMCES) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as they travel to Brazil as part of a collaborative exchange with the State of Rio de Janeiro officials and non-profit leaders.

Blue Water Baltimroe is participating this week in a at a clean water  summit for Guanabara Bay, Brazil
Blue Water Baltimore is participating in a clean water summit at Guanabara Bay, Brazil.

The Maryland Chesapeake Bay and State of Rio de Janeiro partnership began in 2013 in effort to exchange information and capitalize on the Chesapeake Bay’s experience with pollution reduction.

And we are sure there will be many clean water lessons to learn from our southern hemisphere neighbors.

As an expert in non-profit urban watershed restoration, Halle will be participating in the Guanabara Bay-Chesapeake Bay partnership at the invitation of the EPA and UMCES.

We hope that Blue Water Baltimore’s involvement will benefit the EPA as well as Brazilian officials as they work to improve their environmental governance and to implement best practices for engaging low income communities in restoration efforts.

Over the next week we will be sharing information from the workshops on our Twitter and Facebook feeds, so keep an eye out for updates.


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