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|Type:||Capítulo de livro|
|Title:||What Do People Think About Pollution? Contributions Of Human Ecology To The Study Of River Pollution With A Focus On Brazil|
|Abstract:||River pollution has been reducing water quality for human consumption and affecting ecological integrity and biodiversity. Notwithstanding the biological focus of many studies addressing river pollution, it also has a relevant social dimension: pollution is caused by people and affects people in turn. The research area of human ecology studies the relationships between people and their environment. The main purpose of this chapter is to provide a brief review of studies on human ecology in Brazil, addressing three major approaches involving river pollution. First, studies of fish consumption by local riverine fishers reveal not only those preferred fish, which people regularly eat, but also the food taboos involving fish, or rules that lead people to avoid or to limit the consumption of certain types of fish A broad survey on fish food taboos among riverine fishers in the Brazilian Amazon shows that people tend to avoid the large piscivorous fish, which are top predators more prone to accumulate toxins. According to an independent study on mercury content in fish from an Amazonian river, some of the tabooed fish are also those showing high mercury content. On the other hand, in an urban river located in southeastern Brazil, people avoid eating bottom-dwelling fish due to increased seasonal levels of organic pollution, which is more noticeable. However, these people do not seem to perceive the danger of mercury pollution and its effect on fish. Such studies can provide indirect insights about water quality and the patterns of human consumption of contaminated fish. Second, some studies address the perception that people have about the ecosystem's integrity, comparing such perception to the literature or biological surveys. One such study shows that local farmers in southeastern Brazil overestimate the water quality and ecological integrity of streams located inside their properties, due to patterns of water use and to the financial opportunity of allowing reforestation on their land. Third, local fishers usually show a detailed knowledge about the behavior and ecology of the exploited fish. Such local knowledge may be a first-hand and invaluable source of information to deal with the biological pollution, or the invasive exotic fish (and other aquatic organisms), which can quickly colonize an aquatic habitat, often with drastic and unknown consequences to the local biological communities. These and other studies including those involning people, can potentially improve our knowledge of river pollution. © 2009 Nova Science Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved.|
|Editor:||Nova Science Publishers, Inc.|
|Appears in Collections:||Unicamp - Artigos e Outros Documentos|
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