MEXICO CITY, Mar 5 (Tierramérica).- In 2008 the results will be ready from a study about the dependence of Mexicans in 50 urban areas on their cars. The unprecedented study will define indicators for tracking the issue and suggest strategies to reduce reliance on automobiles.
Reduced car use, more walking and greater use of public transportation are the goals motivating the research, Salomón González, an expert with the Metropolitan Autonomous University (UAM), told Tierramérica.
The survey began in 2006 and the initial findings indicate that Mexico's biggest cities, like the capital, are not the ones with greatest dependence on cars, it's the middle-sized cities bordering the United States where residents rely most heavily on their automobiles.
In Mexico, there are some 15.5 million individual cars in circulation, and the annual growth rate is more than triple the country's population growth of 1.44 percent.
Banana's Useful Fibers
RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 5 (Tierramérica).- Students from the State University of Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) are taking advantage of the banana stalk to develop BananaPlac, a colorful laminate that can be used for furniture, walls, car panels, among other things, replacing traditional formica.
"It's an ecological product whose raw materials -- plant fibers and resins -- are biodegradable and are cold pressed, consuming little energy," says Bernardo Ferracioli, a partner at Fibra Sustainable Design, founded by the UERJ industrial design students who created BananaPlac.
Production will be fomented among small cooperative factories, as a means to increase incomes in the communities that produce bananas, which tend to be poor.
BUENOS AIRES, Mar 5 (Tierramérica).- The Argentine government will grant credits and subsidies in 2007 to consumers to exchange -- over the next three years -- old refrigerators for new ones that are more energy efficient.
The initiative, coordinated amongst several government agencies, aims to cut overall household energy use.
Roberto Lenzi, president of the Argentine Chamber of Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Industries, told Tierramérica that the new units use 20 to 30 percent less energy, and factories are investing to accommodate higher demand for efficient refrigerators.
The "exchange plan" includes a subsidy of 25 percent of the value of the new refrigerator, if the consumer turns in the old unit for recycling and destruction. Credits are being made available to cover the difference. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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