Greenpeace joins the Munduruku to protest damming of the Tapajos

Press release - 21 March, 2016
Munduruku Indigenous Land, Pará state, Brazil, 21 March 2016 – Greenpeace Brazil activists have joined forces with Munduruku Indigenous leaders to protest the Brazilian government's plans to build a mega dam complex in the Tapajós River, in the heart of the Brazilian Amazon.

Activists joined the Munduruku on a sacred section of the Tapajós River to send a clear message to the world: "Damn the dam. Keep the Tapajós River alive." Together, they unfurled a 20x30 meter banner demanding an end to the Tapajós dams project. The protest coincides with International Day of Forests, celebrated globally on 21 March.

"Greenpeace stands in solidarity with the Munduruku people in the fight to protect the Tapajós River, its forests and people," says Tica Minami, Greenpeace Brazil Amazon Campaign coordinator. “If built, the dam will be responsible for further deforestation, biodiversity loss and for threatening the cultural survival of the Munduruku Indigenous People from the Tapajós region.”

The Brazilian government plans to build more than forty dams in the Tapajós River basin. The São Luiz do Tapajós dam, the largest with a potential capacity of 8,040 MW, is planned to stretch 7.6 km and include a reservoir the size of New York City (729 km²). If built, the São Luiz do Tapajós dam will destroy fourteen seasonal and perennial lakes, over 7,000 hectares of rock formations, 320 islands and seventeen rip tides.  

Today, there are more than 12,000 Munduruku peoples, the majority living along the Tapajós River, inhabiting its banks for thousands of years. Their communities depend on the river for food, means of transportation and for the survival of their cultural and spiritual practices. The loss of the river will mean an end to their way of life.

“We oppose the dam construction because our lives depend on the river and the forest and they belong to us. If the Tapajós River is dammed, we will lose our fishing grounds, our means of transport; we will lose our way of life," says Juarez Saw Munduruku, Chief from the Sawre Muybu Land.  

"By insisting on the construction of megadams in fragile regions such as the Amazon rainforest, the Brazilian government is ignoring the risks of disrupting the environmental balance of the entire region, which houses an invaluable diversity of life and the cultural wealth from the Indigenous People," continues Tica Minami.

The São Luiz do Tapajós dam project is in the early stages of the environmental licensing process, but it is progressing with the same serious flaws observed with the construction of other hydro dams in the Amazon, such as Belo Monte on the Xingu River, currently part of the largest corruption investigation in Brazil.

"The latest political developments in Brazil are exposing the collapse of the current model of development. Behind these mega projects lies the same political interests that favor corporate greed and feed a vicious circle of corruption and misuse of public money," says Tica Minami. "We believe there is another way. Clean and responsible energy sources, such as solar and wind, can meet the supply needs for all Brazilians, without destroying the biodiversity and livelihoods from local communities."


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Vania Alves, Communication Officer, Greenpeace Brazil,  +55 21 97178 6574,

Greenpeace International Press Desk, +31 (0) 20 718 2470 (available 24 hours),