The BR 364 highway and the growth of Rio Branco

The BR 364 highway connects the capital of Acre, Rio Branco, across the states of Rondônia and Mato Grosso with the rest of Brazil. The presence of this highway was one of the conditions for the Invasion of the cattle raisers and loggers and the growth of the cities. The deforestations and land conflicts occurred mainly along the highway. Especially in Rondônia in the course of the settlement project "Pólonoroeste" that was financed by the World Bank, invasions of Indian territory and uncontrolled woodcutting took place. In Acre many thousands of traditional inhabitants of the rain forest who had lost their subsistence were drawn to Rio Branco. Rio BrancoHowever, the possibilities to make a living are little for the new city dwellers, most of them being without money and illiterate. In many cases this situation leads to prostitution, drug-trafficking and robbery. Waste disposal in Rio Branco is insufficient, which causes uncontrolled dumping on empty properties and as a result the contamination of the underground water and the wells. Many people burn the waste. In Acre as well as in the entire Amazon exists the tradition of slash-burning. Also the dry grass and bushes are burned by the end of the dry season in order to prepare the ground as pasture or field. Therefore (apart from the global environmental consequences) in the months of August and September the air is full of smoke and infants especially suffer from respiratory problems.
Since the beginning of the nineties the BR 364 is asphalted all the way to Rio Branco and can be used throughout the year. A continuing highway through Acre connecting Brazil with Peru and the Pacific coast is planned. This plan wasn’t executed so far because of the lack of funds. The impact of the completion of this highway on the population of Acre and Rio Branco and the plants and animals of the rain forest would be incalculable...


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