CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- The Venezuelan government plans to invest 450 million dollars over eight years on the recovery of the Guaire River. Fifty-three of the river's 70 km cross the capital from west to east, receiving sewage and runoff.
''By October 2006 we will have recovered approximately half of the river's course, with clean-up and drainage, and diverting sewage to collectors from some 1,500 hectares'' in the west of Caracas, Environment Minister Jacqueline Faría told Tierramérica when the plan was launched.
It is hoped that by 2013 the 3,000 hectares of the city that currently sends its waste to the Guaire will have sewage collectors, and that a treatment plant will be built to process the 18 tons of sewage per second that the river is now receiving, she said.
Bridges at Risk
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Around half of the 1,079 bridges in Guatemala are at risk, and their vulnerability only increases during rainy season, according to a study by the government's road agency COVIAL.
''There are 367 bridges on Central American routes, and 166 on national roads'' that could fail, and ''leave the country incommunicado,'' because they lead to Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras, and the ones leading to the Caribbean and Pacific ports are also crucial, COVIAL director Angel Cabrera told Tierramérica.
One of the problems detected is that the bridges were built for the type of cargo being transported more than 20 years ago, he said.
During rainy season -- already under way -- the rivers carry great quantities of sediment and waste, including dead trees, which damage bridge structures.
''We have only limited funds for maintenance,'' including for the 14 bridges at greatest risk of collapse, said Cabrera.
Peasant Farmers Promote Reforestation
SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- More than 90,000 small landowners are participating in Chile's Rural Forestation Program, aimed at recovering land. In 2004 the initiative was responsible for around half of all trees planted in the country.
Officials from the Agriculture Ministry and the national forestry agency, CONAF, underscored this achievement when they launched the program's 2005 season May 31 in the city of Angol, 610 km south of Santiago.
From 1990 to 2004, the program saw 165,571 hectares reforested, benefiting some 93,159 peasant farming families, according to CONAF figures.
The beneficiaries receive 90 percent of the cost of forestation the year after the plantings, when it can be verified that the new trees have begun to grow.
Last year 34,929 hectares of trees were planted by 9,058 people, and 31.1 were women.
Business Bets on the Environment
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- The Ibero-American Congress on Sustainable Development reflected the growing concern of the business world for the Brazilian and the global environment, with 1,200 entrepreneurs and environmentalists participating in the May 31-Jun. 2 meeting in this Brazilian city.
Seventy to 90 percent of the market value of major companies ''corresponds to their trademark and reputation,'' and investments in social-environmental responsibility adds 20 percent, congress promoter Fernando Almeida, head of the Brazilian Business Council for Sustainable Development (CEBDS), said in a conversation with Tierramérica.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) launched the UN Decade of Education for Sustainable Development during the congress, which saw debate on education, cultural diversity, the role of business, technology and ethics in dealing with the challenges of sustainability.
CEBDS has 50 member companies, which together are responsible for 40 percent of Brazil's domestic product. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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