Half a Century of Public Participation to Stop Pollution in the Alviela River, from 1957 to Today



Local organizations and communities mobilized in different ways against pollution in the Alviela River: not just denouncing pollution, they also proposed ways of ameliorating it, and acted and protested to make them possible. The “Anti-Pollution Commission of Alviela,” created in 1957, was one of the first public forums for discussion and action on pollution in Portugal. Later, in 2009, the Commission for the Defense of Alviela River brought together 40 entities (riverside municipalities and parishes, parliament deputies and NGOs) with the aim of deciding on and implementing actions.

Author Biographies

Sofia Bento, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Sofia Bento is Sociology Professor at the University of Lisbon, and researcher at SOCIUS-Research Centre in Economic and Organizational Sociology, CSG Consortium of Social Sciences and Management, ISEG School of Economics and Management. She holds a PhD in Sociology of Innovation by the École Normale Supérieure des Mines de Paris, and in Sociology of Economics and Organizations by ISEG School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon. Her research focuses on studies of science and technology especially topics related to the environment, water resources, climate change, citizens’ involvement and participative processes. She has coordinated European projects under the frame of ERA CIRCLE the European research program dedicated to climate change in mediterranean countries. Recent projects focus the transition movement in Portugal and the construction of technical-scientific knowledge in the Portuguese Environment Agency. She trained in participative methodologies and has applied in different research contexts.

Teresa Bezerra Meira, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Brazil

Teresa Bezerra Meira is a PhD candidate in Economics of the Universidade Federal Fluminense, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and holds a master degree in Environmental Engineering from Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Portugal. She has experience in international research, and has collaborated in international and multidisciplinary projects, namely about degrowth and consumption patterns and in environmental conflicts. Currently MSc Meira is developing her thesis on the topic of local institutional change and collective action to improve waste management systems inside slums. She is a team member of the project PaeM-Portugal: Environment on the move.

Lúcia de Oliveira Fernandes, University of Lisbon and University of Coimbra, Portugal

Lúcia Fernandes is recipient of a postdoctoral fellowship (SFRH/BPD/79933/2011) supported by Ministry of Science, Technology and Higher Education (Portugal). Lúcia de Oliveira Fernandes holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Coimbra, Portugal. She concluded a Master of Social Sciences, specialized in Environmental Policies, at the University of Aveiro, Portugal, and holds a degree in Chemical Engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She has conducted research and published in interdisiciplinary journals. She currently works in a post-doc joint project between SOCIUS-Research Centre in Economic and Organizational Sociology, University of Lisbon, and CES-Center for Social Sciences, University of Coimbra. The project addresses environment, health and citizens mobilization in Transition experiences in Portugal and other sustainability experiences. Other research topics relate to environmental conflicts in Portugal. She co-coordinated the project EJ atlas Portugal, and co-coordinates the project PaeM-Portugal: Environment on the move.

Oriana Rainho Brás, University of Lisbon, Portugal

Oriana Rainho Brás concluded a PhD in Sociology at CES-Centre for Social Studies/Economics Faculty, University of Coimbra, in 2013. She holds a degree in Social and Cultural Anthropology by the same university. Her research focuses on social studies of science, health, socio-environmental conflicts and public participation in water management. She is a consultant of the project PaeM-Portugal: Environment on the move. She currently works in the project RePortCancer/CancerRePort: Researching the dynamics and international positioning of the portuguese medical oncology community promoted by ASPIC-Portuguese Association for Cancer Research. She is a researcher at the University of Lisbon, SOCIUS-Research Centre in Economic and Organizational Sociology, CSG Consortium of Social Sciences and Management, ISEG School of Economics and Management.