Rio's "Eco Barrier" Draws Fire

Plans to erect a concrete "eco barrier" around Rio's slum areas being heavily criticized by human rights activists and environmentalists.
January 6, 2009, 12pm PST | Michael Dudley
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"Plans to surround a Rio de Janeiro slum with a 650-metre-long concrete barrier have come under fire from environmentalists and human rights activists.

Authorities say the R$1m (£300,000) 'eco-barrier', which will encircle part of the famous Dona Marta slum in southern part of the city, is intended to protect the nearby Atlantic rainforest from illegal occupation as well as improve security and living conditions for slum residents.

The wall is expected to be completed by the end of this year and, according to reports in the local press, may be followed by similar barriers around Rio's other slums, known as favelas.

Rio's environmentalists have given a frosty reception to the plans, arguing that unless low-cost housing options are given to the poor, they will continue to encroach on the hillsides of the city and into the surrounding rainforest."

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Published on Tuesday, January 6, 2009 in Guardian (UK)
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