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Incineration of hospital and industrial waste in Camargos, MG, Brazil


In November 2003, the Secretaria Municipal Adjunta de Meio Ambiente (SMAMA) granted operating license to the company SERQUIP Waste Treatment Ltda. of a health care waste incinerator. In 2004, the company has also obtained license to process industrial waste. According to the residents of Camargos, the licensing process occurred without the community being informed.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Incineration of hospital and industrial waste in Camargos, MG, Brazil
State or province:Minas Gerais
Location of conflict:Belo Horizonte
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Landfills, toxic waste treatment, uncontrolled dump sites
Specific commodities:Industrial waste
Biomedical And Health Care Waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationUrban
Start of the conflict:2006
Company names or state enterprises:SERQUIP Waste Treatment Ltda from Brazil
Relevant government actors:Secretaria Municipal de Meio Ambiente (SMMA) de Belo Horizonte; Ministério Público Estadual de Minas Gerais (MPE/MG); Comissão de Direitos Humanos da Assembléia Legislativa de Minas Gerais; Defensoria Pública do Estado de Minas Gerais (DPMG); Fundação Est, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (FIOCRUZ).
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Associação Comunitária do Bairro Camargos; Movimento pelos Direitos Humanos e ao Meio Ambiente (MDDUMA/BH); Comissão Pastoral da Terra (CPT); Rede Brasileira de Justiça Ambiental (RBJA); Associação de Combate aos Poluentes (ACPO); Coordenação Nacional de
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:International ejos
Local ejos
Local government/political parties
Social movements
Forms of mobilization:Community-based participative research (popular epidemiology studies, etc..)
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Street protest/marches
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Air pollution, Food insecurity (crop damage), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil contamination, Waste overflow
Potential: Global warming
Health ImpactsVisible: Accidents, Exposure to unknown or uncertain complex risks (radiation, etc…), Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide
Potential: Deaths
Other Health impactsDamage fetus development, respiratory diseases and cases of cancer.
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Loss of livelihood, Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusStopped
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Withdrawal of company/investment
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Yes
Briefly explain:The case is successful as SERQUIP withdrew, but the diseases and contamination remain and affect people and the environment.
Sources & Materials
Juridical relevant texts related to the conflict (laws, legislations, EIAs, etc)

SMAMA. Secretaria Municipal Adjunta de Meio Ambiente de Belo Horizonte. Processo n° 01-031707/03-10. 2003 [Consultado em 4/05/2009].

Resolution 02/360 do Conselho Nacional de Meio Ambiente (CONAMA).

SMAMA. Secretaria Municipal Adjunta de Meio Ambiente de Belo Horizonte. Parecer Técnico N. º 1237/08 das Gerências de Licenciamento Ambiental de Empreendimentos de Impacto (GELA) e de Licenciamento de Comércio e Prestação de Serviços (GELP). Belo Horizonte, 2008.

References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

Max Vasconcelos Magalhães, Onde ha fumaca, ha luta: conflitos ambientais e a trajetoria de mobilização dos moradores do bairro Camargos / BH , 2010
[click to view]

SERQUIP loses environmental permit
[click to view]

[click to view]

Open Letter writting by the mobilizers:
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Andréa Zhouri
Last update18/08/2019
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