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Mirror without reflections: social and environmental conflicts and vulnerabilities in a sugarcane producing region

Abstract

This study aims to analyze the socio-environmental and health effects of sugarcane crops in a county in the Zona da Mata of the state of Pernambuco, Brazil. A collective mapping was carried out with use of social cartography. The issues investigated were plotted on maps, whose final versions were elaborated by means of the ArcGIS 10.2 software. The study was carried out in the district of Tejucupapo, located in the municipality of Goiana, selected due to its proximity to the sugarcane fields. In the environment there was an increase in deforestation, mangrove degradation, silting of rivers, reduction of fish and contamination of water and other crops by pesticides and sewage. For health, respiratory problems were pointed out by sugarcane burning, pesticide poisoning and the precariousness of the governmental health care. In the socio-cultural dimension, conflicts related to land use and occupation were identified, with loss, expropriation and destruction of historical objects and symbols of the community, reflecting the loss of cultural identity. The problems related to sugarcane production severely affect human health and destroy the territory both in its environmental aspects and the very identity construction of the community, threatening traditional livelihoods.

Key words:
Sugarcane; Health vulnerability; Environmental impacts; Pesticides

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