Rio: Soiled Gem

The delegates to the Earth Summit won't have to travel far to see an urban environmental disaster in progress. Rio de Janeiro has it all: air and water pollution on a grand scale, crumbling infrastructure, raging crime and sprawling slums. Rio even has its own troubled tropical forest, the remnants of which sweep up the hillsides behind the beaches of Copacabana and Ipanema. Those beaches have lost much of their appeal to tourists, because the ocean waters are polluted and because beachgoers are vulnerable to the crime wave that has overtaken Rio in recent years. The pollution problem is grave: some...

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