Socio-Environmental Development Index
for the State of Bahía
Leonardo Araújo, Elaine Fernandes and Patrícia Rosado
FOR THE STATE OF BAHÍA ( ...continuation )

The best four municipalities classified in the hdi were also classified in the idsa: Salvador, Lauro de Freitas, Itabuna and Madres de Deus. For the first two, the income indicator shows good performance. For the municipalities of Itabuna and Madre de Deus, the eci and Life Expectancy levels are in third and fourth places respectively. However, the Feira de Santana municipality was overtaken by Paulo Afonso on account of its higher eci level (Table 6).

The change that took place in the final positions was due mainly to the weight of the income per capita indicators and environmental conditions, in which the municipalities with the highest indicators achieved a better position in relation to the others.

With the construction of the idsa it was possible to verify a reduction in the average development index for the State. This fact highlights the importance of including environmental variables when measuring development, particularly for federation units such as Bahía in which the environment’s weighting was approximately 12% of the index. According to the ibge (2010) Bahía was one of the Brazilian States in which a greater area of trees were cut down, in relative terms, in the period 2002-2008 (6.12%) slightly behind Maranhão (6.99%). It is important to note that the majority of wood in Brazil is charcoal, used exclusively in the steel industry, obtained from destroying and burning native vegetation. In Bahía, Los Cerrados are the main concern.

Another big problem for the State is the availability of basic services such as water supply, refuse collection and sewers, which still remain precarious. To give an idea, of the total inhabitants who live in permanent private homes in the urban zone, only 62% have access to adequate sanitary sewers (collection network); 2.3% of inhabitants have no access to any type of sanitary sewers, which results in miserable conditions for the poorest populations (ibge, 2010). This extremely negative scenario was generated by the growth in urbanization in metropolitan areas, mainly in Salvador.

Environmental policies tend generally to focus on defending biodiversity. Initiatives directed towards the rational use of natural resources and limiting the capacity of the ecosystem are smaller still, both in quality and quantity. Some initiatives such as the Environmental Sanitation Program of Bahía - Todos os Santos (Bahía Azul Project)8 had satisfactory results for Salvador, but the data for the interior of the State show the effects of an environment without basic sanitation and without the socio-economic conditions to attain the minimum quality of life.

8 Environmental Intervention Project, focusing on sanitary sewers, increasing the water supply network and improving the refuse collection system.