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Claiming against “black powder” at Tubarão Port in Vitória, Brazil

A combination of iron ore and others pollutants in the air around the Tubarão Port is affecting local population. Vale, Arcellor Mital and Samarco are the companies responsible for the emissions


The Tubarão Port is the largest iron ore export terminal in the world. It is located in Victoria, the capital of the State of Espírito Santo in Brazil. Since 2009 people in the neighborhoods noticed "black powder" in their environment and especially inside their homes. This "Black powder" is a combination of iron ore and others pollutants present in the air because of the activity of the Tubarão Port. In February 2015, the local legislature set up a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (PCI) to find out the responsibility, and they concluded that Vale, Arcellor Mital and Samarco are the companies responsible for this emissions.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Claiming against “black powder” at Tubarão Port in Vitória, Brazil
State or province:Espírito Santo
Location of conflict:Grande Vitória (Cariacica, Fundão, Guarapari, Serra, Viana, Vila Velha e Vitória)
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Ports and airport projects
Pollution related to transport (spills, dust, emissions)
Specific commodities:Lead
Iron ore
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Tubarão Port is one of the most important iron ore terminals in the world. In 2015 Its docks loaded 82.5 million tons of iron ore destined for steelmakers around the world.

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Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:Direct and indirect: 327 000
Start of the conflict:2009
Company names or state enterprises:Samarco from Brazil
Acellor Mittal from France
Vale (Vale) from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Assembleia Legislativa do Espírito Santo (Ales); Instituto Estadual de Meio Ambiente (LEMA); Instituto Estadual de Meio Ambiente e Recursos Hídricos (IEMA);
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Associação Juntos SOS ES Ambiental.
Supporters: Technology Center of the Federal University of the State (UFES);
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Informal workers
Local ejos
Local scientists/professionals
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Public campaigns
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Groundwater pollution or depletion, Other Environmental impacts, Air pollution, Soil contamination
Potential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsImpact in domestic animals
Health ImpactsVisible: Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsRespiratory infections and cardiovascular diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Other socio-economic impacts, Violations of human rights
Potential: Displacement
Other socio-economic impactsSpecific impact on children, elderly and pregnant women. According to WHO, they are most vulnerable to the harmful effects of pollution.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Institutional changes
Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
New legislation
Technical solutions to improve resource supply/quality/distribution
Proposal and development of alternatives:none identified.
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:In the past, the court has ordered to paralyzed imports and exports of metals such as iron because of the high levels of pollution. But these temporary actions remain insufficient.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Air pollution and its impacts on health in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil
[click to view]

Poluição por pó preto volta a ultrapassar os limites em Vitória
[click to view]

Moradores reclamam da poluição causada pelo pó preto em Vitória
[click to view]

Vale: After de mud, the black powder
[click to view]

Três empresas são responsáveis por emissão de pó preto no ES, diz CPI
[click to view]

ES: ato contra poluição chama Vitória de capital do pó preto
[click to view]

ArcelorMittal nega poluir com pó preto
[click to view]

Brazil court orders closure of Vale's Tubarão iron ore port
[click to view]

Related media links to videos, campaigns, social network

Medição do pó preto no ar da Grande Vitória não é feita há cinco meses
[click to view]

Juntos -SOS-ES Ambiental , facebook campaing
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:ENVJustice Project (G.N)
Last update18/08/2019
Conflict ID:2795
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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