General view from a pier of the Ilha Seca island at Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on November 13, 2015. AFP PHOTO / YASUYOSHI CHIBA
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If Ricardo and other activists succeed, tiny, deserted Ilha Seca will be the cornerstone of an epic effort to save one of the world's most photogenic bays from destruction.A one-man force of nature, Ricardo wants to transform the island, a Texaco depot abandoned by the corporation half a century ago, into a kind of marine Garden of Eden.Rio universities will conduct research, artisanal fishermen will teach their skills and Rio residents will come to experience Guanabara as more than today's giant sewage receptacle and oil industry base.Lost in jungle-like undergrowth are a dozen ruined houses and walled enclosures once used for supporting Texaco's storage cylinders.Another structural shell, the walls blackened by years of camp fires, will be a rescue station, another the welcome center, another the seafood restaurant – the possibilities in Ricardo's optimistic eyes are endless.Islands in Guanabara Bay are not exactly easy to come by.Ricardo says that by promoting local fishing and tourism the observatory would also generate money, directly benefiting up to 400 families.
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