Brazil wastes US$ 250 billion dollars every twelve month, which is the equivalent to approximately ¼ of its GDP (gross domestic product). It is unacceptable that a country should neglect amounts of such volume for the goods and services produced in a year, because society and the authorities in charge of inspecting as a whole are insensate and not vigilant.
If the waste was reduced in at least US$ 30 billion/year, one million jobs would be generated, that's right, a million new jobs - in the several sectors of production - as affirmed by the specialists.
There are countless wastes of difficult quantification, but identifiable through the magnifying glasses of studious people, whether in civil construction, basic sanitation, civil service, water consumption, etc. Many of us have already witnessed the waste of grains transported in the wagons of the trucks on the Brazilian highways, which, in a glance, seems insignificant. However, this waste represents a significant loss to the public funds that could be avoided, if it wasn't for the indifference of the proper authorities, on our highways, concerning rigorously inspecting the traffic of such products. Were that not enough, there is also the serious problem of the stock of grains, as we are informed, improperly made in several warehouses of the country, resulting in bulky losses for the nation. Until when?
Nearly 30% of the food produced in Brazil goes to the garbage can, without any chance of being used. This is the conclusion of a study carried out by the Associação Prato Cheio (Full Dish Association) (1) that aims at combating both the famine and the waste of food in urban centers (2). The process of loss of products begins right after the harvest. A lot of food is packed without any care and in inappropriate containers.
In the topic of electric energy waste, according to the data from Eletrobrás, the Brazilian industry consumes nearly 9.2 million of MW/h, from which 31% could be saved. It is estimated that the segment consumes nearly 9.2 million of MW/h, from which 31% could be saved. This sector is the one that most consumes and wastes electric energy. On the other hand, in the commercial segment, it would be possible to save 18.9% of the 5.6 million of MW/h consumed, according to Eletrobrás' calculations. In the residential area the waste is also big. The segment consumes nearly 7.5 million of MW/h and could save up to 25% of this total. (3)
We also witness waste in unusual situations. How many times have we seen, in public rest rooms, some users that, to dry their hands, exaggeratedly use more than two paper towels? It is an "insignificant" gesture which reveals lack of manners, lack of consideration to others, waste of collective material. The full citizenship should be exercised in the small gestures that, in the whole population, make a big difference. There are other countless small gestures that could be modified through education, such as: open faucets, lights on, garbage on the streets, air and river pollution, etc. All of this can be avoided if, together to the family education, family citizenship were included.
There is, really, a very serious problem to be considered: we are making misusing our potable water. It is known that almost half the volume collected in the sources and springs does not get to the Brazilian residences. In the middle of the way, there are leaks in the plumbing, mistakes in the consumption measurement, misappropriations resulting from illegal connections. (4) The surveying is from the Instituto Socioambiental (Socio Environmental Institute) ISA, the organizer of the "De Olho nos Mananciais" (Watching the Springs) campaign, which aims at alerting the population about the rational use of the water. This reality is really concerning. The resources are getting increasingly scarcer.
According current researches - it is important to point out - the loss of water in the Brazilian capitals is 6,14 billion liters a day, in other words, 2,457 Olympic swimming pools every 24 hours. This is equivalent to 45% of all water collected from the sources and springs. The waste champion is Porto Velho, with 78.8% of loss. Rio Branco (74.6%) and Manaus (72.5%) come next. Rio de Janeiro is in the first place in absolute volume of waste water, with 619 Olympic swimming pools a day. Next come São Paulo (426) and Salvador (160). From the 27 Brazilian capitals, the population has the service of distribution of treated water in just six. Porto Velho (30.6% of the population), Rio Branco (56.2%) and Macapá (58.5%) have the smallest rates of assistance. Vitória is the champion capital in water consumption, with 236 liters per inhabitant per day. Rio de Janeiro (226) and São Paulo (221) come right after it. The UN recommends the use of (110) liters per inhabitant per day. (5)
Let's, then, learn how to save water in the several situations of the daily life. For example, in the daily bath, we have to accustom ourselves to turn off the tap when rubbing ourselves with soap. When brushing our teeth, we have to water the brush, turn off the tap, and, when washing our mouths, we have to use a glass of water. When washing our hands, face or shaving, we also have to be rational. We have to keep the flush valve always well-regulated and repair any leaks, as soon as they are identified. When doing the dishes, we first have to clean the food off the plates and pans and then use the previously wet sponge with soap. Then, to finish the chore, we have to open the tap and wash them. Washing clothes also demands discipline. We have to accumulate a reasonable quantity of clothes and then wash them all together, because this way we are rationally using such precious liquid. After putting water in the tank, while washing the clothes, we have to turn off the tap, and after having washed them, we have to use the water to wash the yard. This way not only are we saving water, but electric energy (for those who use washing machines). When watering the plants in the yard, we have to use a watering can instead of using the hose. To clean the sidewalk, sweeping is enough.
We have to avoid wasting, even because, facing the facts, we cannot accuse life, God, the weather, the country, etc., for what is just a consequence of the incompetence, improvidence, and irresponsibility of each one of us. In this regard, one day we read a Chico Xavier´s psychographed work (I cannot remember the title), about a seamstress who was not worried in using, when working, the "insignificant" sewing threads that would be left. Because of that, she reincarnated with the difficult karmic commitment of working in the fields, growing and taking care of cotton plants, in order to repair the non-observed waste. The lesson is significant and also warns us about an interesting reflection: What have we done of the "insignificant" wastes resulting from contumacious insurrection against nature's guidelines?
(1) Available in <>
(2) Available in <> accessed on 12/06/2007.
(3) Available in http://www.estadao.com.br/arquivo/economia/2007/not20070201p19525.htm, accessed on December 01, 2007.
(4) To find the quantity of water wasted in the pipeline system, the calculation is the following: we deduct what was taken from the springs (the measurements are made in the Water Treatment Stations) from what is consumed by the population. That's why leakage, measurement mistakes, frauds in the hydrometers and clandestine water connections are calculated as loss.
(5) Available in , http://revistadasemana.abril.com.br/edicoes/13/ambiente/materia_ambiente_261265.shtml, accessed on December 06, 2007.