Polluted river covers Brazilian town with foam

  • Reuters, PTI, Rio de Janeiro
  • |
  • Updated: Jul 05, 2003 10:19 IST

A river polluted with waste from Brazil's biggest city of Sao Paulo covered the streets of a small colonial town with a thick layer of snow-like foam that emits harmful acidic gas on Friday.

A Town Hall official contacted by Reuters said the foam had been affecting Pirapora do Bom Jesus for about a month, but a clogged clear-water channel made the foam levels rise especially high, blocking bridges across the river Tiete which runs through the town and nearby streets.

"It is all a dreadful consequence of Sao Paulo city's pollution," said Mare Brasilio, a Town Hall spokeswoman. "The sulphydric gas caused by the foam provokes respiratory problems among children and elderly people."

Globo Television showed footage of cars being unable to cross the bridges early in the morning, and a bus forcing its way through the white foam that practically covered its body.

The foam lay in private courtyards and was blowing in the wind like snow, sticking to the roofs and television antennas.

The Sao Paulo state governor traveled to the city to discuss how to solve the problem, which apparently derived from interaction between Tiete water, polluted with human and industrial waste, and the water from the local reservoir.

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