RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- The Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro hopes to supply its entire fleet of buses, trucks and other vehicles with biodiesel obtained from processing of urban sewage.
Through this pioneer program in Brazil, fat waste from the food industry, hotels and restaurants will also be sued to produce six million liters of oil a month to be added to diesel, constituting up to five percent of the mix.
"Ten percent of urban runoff is grease, and we are developing our own technology to separate it out and turn it into biodiesel," project coordinator Nelson Furtado, of the State Secretariat of Science and Technology, told Tierramérica.
Field tests using this new source of biodiesel is underway with 50 buses and are to conclude within a few months
The Almiquí Lives
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- The chance capture of an almiquí (Solenodon cubanus) in the Alejandro de Humboldt National Park confirms that the species indeed survives in Cuba, but continues to be threatened with extinction.
The insect-eating mammal was found by rural residents, and was returned to its natural habitat. It is just one of fewer than 50 almiquíes that have been found alive since the first studies of the species were made in the late 19th century, say experts.
The almiquí, protected through conservation efforts, has a long nose and strong claws, which help it capture the insects that make up its diet.
Another Year of Leaded Gas
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- Peru's Transport Ministry extended authorization to produce 84-octane gasoline with lead -- the most consumed fuel in the country -- until the end of 2004.
Permits to produce leaded gasoline were to expire at the end of this year. The elimination of leaded gas is one of the top demands of Peruvian environmental organizations because of the pollution and contamination caused by the heavy metal.
Unleaded gasoline, 90 and 95 octane, are manufactured in Peru, but leaded gas is still the most utilized because most cars are older than eight years. The decision to extend the permit was justified by the high costs for refineries forced to switch to unleaded gas production.
Youths Draft Environment Report
MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Young Mexicans will present to the GEO Youth Report to their country's authorities in June 2004, summarizing their experiences, demands and reflections related to the natural environment.
Beginning this week, a network of contributors will begin collecting information on the concerns of youths 15 to 28 years old, which will serve as the basis of the report.
"We aim to provide young people with a means to make themselves heard," says Luis Betanzos, coordinator of the project sponsored by UNEP (United Nations Environment Program), which has produced similar reports in Argentina, Cuba, Peru and Uruguay.
Schoolbooks to Protect Natural Marine Wealth
TEGUCIGALPA, (Tierramérica).- TEGUCIGALPA - The protection of marine and coastal resources will be included in Honduran textbooks for biology and geography classes in primary and secondary schools next year, reports the Education Ministry.
The initiative is part of the project to protect the Mesoamerican Reef System, the largest in the Atlantic, extending from Mexico, through Belize, Guatemala and Honduras. The aim is to educate Honduran children about the importance of preserving marine ecosystems.
The effort has the backing of the environmental group Fundación Vida. "Only education of children and youths can ensure the sustainability of our resources," the group's leader Oscar Lanza Rosales told Tierramérica.
Subsidizing the Forests
SAN SALVADOR, (Tierramérica).- The Salvadoran Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock will begin the process this month to select a firm to handle the administration of subsidies for new forestry plantings.
The distribution of subsidies to encourage landowners to invest in tree species will be ready in August, Julio Olano, the ministry's forestry director, told Tierramérica.
El Salvador's environmental authorities approved a fund last month of more than six million dollars to support new plantations of forests and to help pay for those carried out in the past decade. Companies will receive up to 375 dollars per new hectare planted with at least 1,111 trees.
Expansion of tree coverage is vital for protecting the biodiversity and water supplies of this Central American country, which holds 915,000 hectares of forest-suitable land, says Olano.
Cerro La May to Be Protected
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Environmental officials in Guatemala have begun studies aimed at declaring the northern cloud forest Cerro La May, covering more than 100 square km, a protected area, reports the governmental National Conservation Fund.
Cerro La May, in the Chicamán district of El Quiché department, is a subtropical cloud forest that feeds the Naranjo and Chixoy rivers.
Efforts to have La May declared a protected area have been going on for years, "but they have lacked continuity. If approved this time, it would void the project to build a highway over the mountain," Carlos Salvatierra, of the environmental group MadreSelva, said in comments to Tierramérica.
Endangered species like the jaguar, tapir and quetzal, as well as precious wood species like the mahogany and cedar, are just some of the riches held by the Cerro La May forest. *Source: Inter Press Service.
up for Tierramerica's free weekly newsletter!