Socio-Environmental Development Index
for the State of Bahía
Leonardo Araújo, Elaine Fernandes and Patrícia Rosado
Environmental Conditions Index for the Municipalities of Bahía ( ...continuation )

The eci for Bahía has an average value of 0.30, which means that on average just 30% of the ideal environmental conditions were reached by Bahía’s municipalities. This average is less than anticipated and reflects, among other factors, poor conditions for domestic refuse disposal and residential infrastructure (access to water and sanitary sewers). In summary, Figure 2 shows that of 333 Bahía municipalities, 80.24% have an Environmental Conditions Index equal to or less than 0.49, which is considered low. This means that more than three quarters of Bahía’s municipalities have an environmental level that compromises the wellbeing of the population.

It should be noted that the municipalities with the worst environmental conditions are, respectively: Itaguaçu de Bahía, Souto Soares, Ibitiara, Rio do Antônio, Planaltino, Pé de Serra, Ibiassucê, Gentio do Ouro, Caturama and Érico Cardoso. These municipalities have, on average, a smaller area of vegetation coverage and fewer homes without automobiles than the average for the whole state, which reflects negatively on air quality. As well as serving ecological functions by improving the urban environment, the vegetation coverage has other benefits such as absorbing pollution from the atmosphere. The fact that these municipalities do not have adequate vegetation coverage and that homes have so many automobiles contributes to this result.

At the other extreme, the municipalities Madre de Deus and Itapetinga have the highest eci . They were the only municipalities that attained an index higher than 0.8, considered high (Figure 2). Although the contribution of the industrial sector is relatively high in these municipalities (38.3% on average) the other indicators used to measure environmental conditions show significantly higher values than the average for the state (12.4%). Access to water, sanitary sewers and refuse collection serve as examples.

Basic sanitation in the State is clearly an issue. Of those municipalities with a low eci , less than 1% of the population had access sanitary sewer services. Taking the whole State into account, only 48% of Bahía’s municipalities have more than 50% of homes with running water. In summary, where sanitary sewer services are concerned, fewer than 25% of homes have access to the service in more than 72% of municipalities (Table 3).

Figure 2. Environmental Conditions Index for Bahía’s Municipalities
Source: Research Results

Figure 3 shows that the municipalities with Environmental Conditions Indices less than 0.49% (considered low quality) are mainly located in the interior of the State. It can be inferred that this is on account of the low level of urbanization and consequently the low universal level of basic sanitation services. In summary, forest coverage in these regions, the tropical desert Caatinga area of north east Brazil, is reduced and closed off where the forest density is naturally inferior. There has also been significant agricultural expansion in the region in the past two decades.