The Federal Public Ministry (MPF) asked two farmers and an airline company to pay R$1.024 million to the Morcego community in the Murupu region, in the Serra da Moça Indigenous Land, Rural area of Boa Vista for dumping pesticides on an agricultural plane under the community . The public civil action was announced this Tuesday (14).
The case occurred in August 2021 and afterwards the indigenous people experienced shortness of breath and itching. At the time, a letter signed by Macuxi and Wapichana leaders was sent to the MPF and the Brazilian Environmental Institute (Ibama) to demand action.
In addition to compensation, the MPF asks that the defendants be prevented from carrying out new agricultural spraying using aircraft or other aerial vehicles on farms close to indigenous land.
The MPF asks for an individual fine of R$1 million per act carried out. The compensation amount must be deposited into an account at the National Foundation of Indigenous Peoples (Funai) for application to the benefit of the community, according to a plan to be drawn up by Funai with the supervision of the MPF.
According to the action, since 2021, the owners of the farm, located less than 300 meters from the Morcego community, have used the agricultural airline services at least five times, four of which violated the administrative ban.
“The application of pesticides by air in the Morcego indigenous land put the lives and physical integrity of local inhabitants at risk, as well as the region’s biodiversity. Furthermore, the infraction demonstrated total disrespect for the authority of Ibama, which had ordered the suspension of aerial pesticide application activity in that area. Even after being fined, the defendants persisted in the illicit conduct, as found by the environmental agency in a new inspection”, cites the MPF.
Residents denounce the dumping of pesticides on the Morcego indigenous community, in RR
Following a request from the MPF, Ibama found that the application of pesticides occurred in a specially protected space, causing the destruction of indigenous crops.
In the first investigation, carried out in September 2021, Ibama inspectors found the application of pesticides in non-compliance with Normative Instruction 2/2008, from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa), which provides for aviation work standards agricultural.
At the time, they imposed two fines totaling R$205,000, in addition to suspending aerial pesticide spraying activities. Furthermore, Ibama confirmed that the distance measured between the application site and the indigenous area was only 300 meters, and the legislation requires that this distance be at least 500 meters.
The distance below the regulatory 500 meters was confessed by the farmers themselves in statements to the Federal Police.
In 2022, after reports of other applications, Ibama returned to the farm and confirmed that the defendants again, despite being prevented from doing so, confirmed the reiteration of the new dumping of pesticides, which culminated in other fines, culminating in new fines totaling R$307.5 thousand.
On the day of the inspection, the agency’s employees noticed a strong odor of chemical products throughout the exterior area of the residence, which was the same direction on the farm’s border with indigenous land. Within the TI, signs of leaf desiccation were noticed in the native Cerrado vegetation.
For Public Prosecutor Alisson Marugal, author of the action, despite the National Council of the Public Ministry (CNMP) suggesting that collective environmental moral damage has a value equivalent to half the amount requested as material damage, the guideline is insufficient for the case of the Morcego community.
According to the prosecutor, the environmental damage did not only result from an affront to the collective conscience, but also to other specially protected assets, such as indigenous lands, (arts. 231 and 225, §1, III, of the CF), it affected the health of indigenous people and occurred repeatedly, at least five times.
“Such reiteration took place despite administrative fines and the express prohibition of activity determined by the federal environmental police authority, denoting the complete disregard of the defendants for the environment, the victim indigenous community and the constituted state powers”, says an excerpt from the action.
For the MPF, the defendants violated the rights of the Morcego indigenous community, causing environmental, cultural and moral damage. Therefore, they must be held civilly responsible and obliged to repair the damage caused, as provided for in the Federal Constitution.
In addition to this civil action, the defendants also respond to a criminal action in the Federal Court for committing the crime of art. 15 of Law 7,802/89, which deals with the use of pesticides.