BOGOTA, (Tierramérica).- Traveling spider show in Colombia
The zoo of the northern Colombian city of Barranquilla began 2006 with an exhibit of spiders and scorpions from across the Americas, part of a traveling program of the Bogotá-based Arachnid Collection of Colombia.
Diana Rincón, spokeswoman for the zoo, told Tierramérica that the exhibit of more than 50 species, will be open through the month of January, with four educational sessions daily, of about an hour each.
South America's largest tarantulas (Xenesthis immanis and Pamphobeteus fortis), which can measure two to 26 cm long, can be seen and touched by visitors.
Also on display, with ultraviolet light, are fluorescent scorpions of the Chactas and Tityus pachyurus species, which, according to some experts, have great biomedical potential for developing pharmaceuticals to fight cancer of the brain.
Lake in Final Throes
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Guatemalan lake could disappear
Chichoj lake, located in the the middle of the northern Guatemalan indigenous community of San Cristóbal, is on the verge of disappearing, due to contamination caused by the local population and by private businesses, charges Mayor José Humberto Suc.
Two centuries ago, the lagoon covered 107 hectares, but human activities have reduced it to 47 hectares, Suc told Tierramérica. To halt the destructive process, water treatment plants will be built, he said.
Lawmaker Lucrecia de Palomo, president of the legislative environmental commissions, said that one of the initiatives to stop the contamination and begin recuperation of the lagoon is to declare the zone a protected area, as it is considered one of the country's 13 main water bodies.
She also called for immediate treatment of solid waste, and to begin a program to educate the local population so that they stop dumping dirt in the lake.
Protecting Beaches During the Summer Season
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- Protecting Argentina's beaches during busy summer season
Umbrellas, brochures, stickers and garbage bags are being distributed as of Jan. 14 amongst the visitors to the beaches of Buenos Aires province as part of an awareness-raising effort about protecting the environment in Argentina's resort areas during the Southern Hemisphere summer.
The campaign -- "The Environment Means Commitment" -- was launched by the province's Secretariat of Environmental Policy.
The materials will also be handed out to travelers at highway toll booths, and the government will have mobile units on the streets of the Mar del Plata and San Bernardo resorts.
"The idea is to take advantage of the high flow of tourists visiting the beaches in January and February, many of whom are young, and to raise awareness of the importance of preserving our natural resources as part of the country's national heritage," secretariat spokesman Facundo Arrechea told Tierramérica.
Garbage, a Private Business
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Garbage is a private business in Brazil
Private companies collect the garbage of two-thirds of Brazil's urban population, and are responsible for 15 percent of the sanitary landfills, according to the recently published "Overview of Solid Waste in Brazil", for 2005.
The privatization of these services has increased over the past decade as a result of the limited government investment and the "good business" this concessions represents for the sector, Eduardo Castagnari, head of ABRELPE, the Brazilian association of waste companies, told Tierramérica. The association was in charge of the overview report.
The trend of privatization is likely to deepen with the enactment of the law on public-private association, passed in late 2004.
In Brazil, 100,000 tons of urban waste daily -- equivalent to about 60 percent -- continue to be deposited in open-air dumps, instead of regulated landfills. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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