DAKAR, (Tierramérica).- A new injection of resources for recovery of the ozone layer, which protects Earth from the Sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, was approved in Senegal's capital during a meeting of the signatory countries of the Montreal Protocol.
The Multilateral Fund for the Implementation of the Montreal Protocol was refinanced for the 2006-2008 period with 470 million dollars, which will permit a series of programs for curbing the production and use of ozone-depleting substances. These have a direct impact on human health.
The thinning of the atmospheric ozone layer contributes to higher rates of eye problems, like cataracts, and skin cancer and other health and environmental problems the world over, Rajendra Shende, director of OzonAction, told Tierramérica. OzonAction is part of the United Nations Environment Program, which hosted the Dakar meeting, Dec. 12-16.
The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1987, regulates the production and use of ozone-depleting substances and is considered "the most successful international environmental treaty," according to UNEP's Bakary Kante.
Super Pipeline Worries Environmentalists
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- The "super-pipeline" planned for distributing gas "from the Caribbean to Patagonia" could have disastrous effects, says Roberto Smeraldi, coordinator of Friends of the Earth - Brazilian Amazon.
Land disputes, expulsion of residents, crossing indigenous territories and protected areas, violence and deforestation are potential consequences of the pipeline, said Smeraldi in a Tierramérica interview. He said widespread public hearings are needed to assess impacts at the local, regional and continental scale, in an "unprecedented process."
The construction of the gas pipeline -- some 8,000 km long and costing 17 billion dollars -- was agreed by the presidents of Argentina, Brazil and Venezuela at the Mercosur (Southern Common Market) summit Dec. 6-9 in Montevideo.
Once finalized, "it will have a terrible impact," said Elisángela Paim, of the Brazilian Forum of NGOs and Social Movements, and member of a network that tracks megaprojects in the region.
Less Regulation of Big Investors
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- Neighborhood organizations in the southern Argentine province of Chubut are warning against new legislation that would reduce environmental controls of major investment projects.
The new Environment Code for Chubut, which is to take effect in 2006, overturns the legislative decrees that regulate the application of the laws themselves.
"This is no accident," Gustavo Macayo, a lawyer with the Chubut neighborhood association, told Tierramérica. "We have more than 200 mining projects underway in Chubut, and this contributes to limiting controls."
The new law ignores requirements for environmental impact studies and limits the right to file complaints against the projects.
"For the corporations it will be a protective umbrella, and for the citizens it will mean fewer tools to protect themselves and the environment," he said.
Indians in Dispute over Deforestation
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Residents of the indigenous villages of Canchún and Mangales are resisting the deforestation of an extensive pine forest by the people of Chitucán, located in the northern Guatemalan department of Baja Verapaz.
The Chitucán residents say that cutting down the trees will open a way to the urban area, and promote development in the region, given that there are no institutions or organizations concerned with the zone's progress, says Valerio Tista, who is in favor of the project.
But the initiative will be harmful and leave them without a water source, Juan Sic Sanchez, who is anti-deforestation, told Tierramérica.
In addition to creating a road, the people of Chitucán hope to sell the lumber produced by cutting down the trees. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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