Reporter 430, 1 February 1999

Brazilian joint project leads to 400 recycling facilities

The health of people in some of Brazil's poorest regions is being helped by award-winning joint research between the University and the Brazilian University of Viçosa.

400 facilities to compost and recycle domestic waste - based on technology developed by the joint project - are soon to be installed across the country.

Most of this waste is currently dumped in open pits, leaving the surrounding area vulnerable to disease-carrying insects and rats. The waste also severely pollutes water and soil.

The new composting plants turn this harmful waste into soil fertiliser for agricultural use. They can be operated by local people, creating jobs in regions which often have few opportunities for employment.

The programme is being co-ordinated by Viçosa University Professor João Tinôco Peneira Neto, and is based on his postgraduate research at Leeds in the 1980s. Following his return to Brazil, he retained strong links with his former supervisors Professors D Duncan Mara and Edward Stentiford in Civil Engineering.

This decade of cooperation included exchange visits and educational programmes for staff and students. A research laboratory was built at Viçosa with support and assistance from Leeds.

"The project is helping Brazil to solve one of its biggest problems," said Professor Neto. "We are sure that its success is a result of our determination and the solid support we have received from Leeds University."

Eighteen composting and recycling plants have already been constructed and the Brazillian government has recently given the green light to the multi-million dollar project to install them in Minas Gerais state.

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