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The sea may swallow part of Santos and Rio de Janeiro, according to a United Nations study  Santos and the region

The sea may swallow part of Santos and Rio de Janeiro, according to a United Nations study Santos and the region

On hangover days, the sea reaches Beach Street and leaves the channels of Santos, SP, silted up. — Photo: Archive/A Tribuna

The city of Santos, located on the coast of São Paulo, faces the risk of part of the area near the coast being submerged by 2050, according to a study released on Tuesday (28) by the United Nations and specialized agencies. According to the article, 5% of the population living near the sea is expected to be affected.

“By 2050, projections indicate that hundreds of densely populated coastal cities will be at increased risk of flooding, including lands where about 5% of coastal city residents live, including Santos in Brazil, Cotonou in Benin, and Calcutta.” In India,” the UN said in a note. Rio de Janeiro is also mentioned, see list of all cities below.

According to the 2022 census, Santos has a population of 418,608, five percent of the 20,930 people whose homes could be destroyed by rising sea levels. He informed the city council, in a memorandum, that he had taken several measures to avoid the situation. (Check measurements below)

Also according to the research, if pollutant emissions continue at the current rate, by 2100, the sea should dominate 10% of the coastal areas of the mentioned cities.

UN study: The sea may swallow part of the city of Santos — Image 1: Archive of the Tribuna Journal — Image 2: Archive of the Tribuna Journal

As reported by the Human Climate Outlook, a collaboration between the United Nations Development Program and the Climate Impact Laboratory, new data indicate that the extent of coastal flooding has increased over the past 20 years, as a result of sea level rise.

The city has been increasingly affected by climate change

In a worst-case scenario of rising temperatures and no coastal defenses by the end of the century, the study predicts that five percent or more of the cities listed below will fall permanently below sea level. Check out the full list:

  • Guayaquil, Ecuador
  • Barranquilla, Colombia
  • Santos, Brazil
  • Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
  • Kingston, Jamaica
  • Cotonou, Benin
  • Calcutta, India
  • Perth city in Australia
  • Newcastle, Australia
  • Sydney, Australia

People watching surfing in Merante de Leblon — Photo: Marcos Serra Lima/G1

The Santos City Council cites the actions:

In a memorandum, the municipal administration highlighted some measures to prevent erosion and contain the advance of the sea. One of them began in 2018, through a partnership with the University of Campinas (Unicamp) by placing a submerged barrier containing 49 geotextile bags in an L-shape in Ponta da Praia. The geobags, as they are known, are 275 meters long and are filled with sand.

The city hall stressed that monitoring data shows a tendency for sand to accumulate in the section protected by geological bags. “Work is continuing to generate more information. Currently, studies are being conducted to expand the barriers,” he added, highlighting that the pilot project uses low-cost technology, ease of maintenance, and very low environmental interference.

Also according to the Executive, the Climate Change Department was created in 2019, and in 2021, the Municipal Climate Change Plan was revised. Last year, it launched the Santos Climate Action Plan (PAC), which includes 50 targets until 2030.

A strip of sand and pavement invades the sea in Santos (SP) – Photo: Santos City Council / Arquivo Carlos Nogueira

Objectives set by PAC:

  • Review the structural plan and the land use and occupancy law, taking into account climate issues;
  • Establishment and implementation of the Climate Risk Index System and the Social and Environmental Vulnerability Index (ICVS) and mapping of risk areas;
  • Preparing a housing plan for risk areas;
  • Planting 10,000 trees;
  • Replace at least 20% of the public passenger transportation fleet with non-emitting vehicles, reducing the emission of pollutants and urban noise.

The goals correspond to eight axes:

  • Sustainable urban planning and environment;
  • Reducing vulnerabilities and managing climate risks (natural disasters);
  • Inclusion and reducing social vulnerability;
  • Urban resilience and nature-based solutions;
  • Resilience in the coastal zone, estuary, beaches, rivers and canals;
  • Infrastructure management, including water resources, sanitation, transportation and port structure;
  • Greenhouse gas (GHG) emitter inventory and municipal GHG mitigation plan;
  • Governance and participation in climate management.

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