HAVANA, Feb 12 (Tierramérica).- From 1996 to date, more than 80 buildings and three kilometers of walls and fences on the dunes in the resort of Varadero have been demolished as part of an integrated management program.
Another 100 buildings are to be removed from this peninsula of white sands located 140 km from Havana to comply with the plan that so far has affected only the state's holdings, Alfredo Cabrera, from the environment ministry, told Tierramérica.
"In taking a decision, the historical value of the site is considered, and whether it serves an important social function," he added.
Efforts to save Varadero from erosion include hauling in more sand, research on natural recovery of the beach, environmental education of the local community, and restricting new construction to at least 40 meters from the dunes.
Don't Rule Out Aysén Volcano
SANTIAGO, Feb 12 (Tierramérica).- Tremors recorded since Jan. 22 in the southern Chilean city of Aysén are being caused by magma under the sea floor pressing for release, say experts, who are not ruling out the possibility of a volcanic eruption.
"Because there is no evidence of the magma moving laterally or vertically, it is impossible to predict if it will reach equilibrium and begin to cool, or if it will open a passage to reach the surface," Jorge Clavero, head of the applied geology department at the National Geology and Mining Service, told Tierramérica.
The epicenter of the tremors is 20 km northwest of Puerto Chacabuco, on the Aysén fjord, and 10 km deep. Meanwhile, the temblors continue.
Fire Destroys Plain
CARACAS, Feb 12 (Tierramérica).- A fire that started Feb. 2 on La Negra high plain, 600 km southwest of the capital, consumed more than 1,000 hectares of vegetation, Yuri Bermúdez, commander of the local firefighting team, told Tierramérica.
Even with the support of military helicopters, additional firefighters, soldiers and disaster workers, they were unable to contain the blaze that consumed vegetation from river beds, forested areas of Juan Pablo Peñaloza national park, and farmland.
Bermúdez said the unusually warm temperatures for this time of year likely helped ignite the inflammable waste left along the roads of the park by visitors.
Experts at the forestry sciences department at the University of the Andes consulted by Tierramérica refused to put forth hypotheses about the causes of the fire.
Energy for Amazon's Frontiers
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 12 (Tierramérica).- Oil from the inaja palm, or great Brazilian palm (Maximiliana regia), will be used to fuel small electrical plants for isolated communities in the Amazonian frontier.
A pilot project capable of supplying 40 families will begin in March in the northern state of Roraima, which borders Venezuela.
"Natural oil will be used, not biodiesel, which requires complex technology for these parts," said Antonio Carlos Cordeiro, head of the Roraima center of EMBRAPA, the national agricultural research agency.
The palm's productivity is not yet known, but it is highly resistant to fire, and 40 to 60 percent of the fruit is oil, Cordeiro told Tierramérica.
Contamination from Mine Confirmed
TEGUCIGALPA, Feb 12 (Tierramérica).- Contamination of the main source of potable water for the Honduran town of Valle de Angeles, 20 minutes from the capital, is the result of waste found at the mouth of a mine that was shut down 50 years ago, according to CESSCO, a contamination control and research center.
CESSCO expert Danelia Sabillón told Tierramérica that the samples tested were taken from one of the openings of a mine operated by the transnational Rosario Mining Company, which is now working a mine in the western Honduran department of Santa Bárbara.
The contamination comes from a high concentration of iron, aluminum and acids, which have caused skin, stomach and respiratory ailments among the residents of Valle de Angeles.
The authorities prohibited consumption of water from the source, after the residents' complaints were made public in the local press two weeks ago. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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