SAN JOSE, (Tierramérica).- Costa Rica has had a hard time cracking down on environmental crime because it lacks economic resources, specialized courts and solid government regulations, acknowledge two top officials.
Environment minister Elizabeth Odio and Environmental Comptroller Guillermo Porras told the Costa Rican newspaper 'La Nación' that the authorities cannot adequately protect the country's biodiversity due to the lack of technical and financial resources.
Porras said that Costa Rica, home to four percent of the total number of different species on the planet, is ''on the verge of impunity when it comes to environmental crimes.''
Illegal logging and pollution from solid and industrial waste are among the nation's leading crimes against the environment.
A Giant Aquifer
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay are to present a joint proposal before the Global Environment Fund for the management, protection and sustainable use of the Guaraní Aquifer.
The project involves a subterranean reservoir that spreads over 1.2 million square km in the four countries that make up Mercosur (Southern Common Market) and which could meet the water needs of a population several times larger than the 15 million people currently living in the area.
Hundreds of Brazilian towns and cities utilize the Guaraní Aquifer, but data is still scarce about its potential and its current levels of contamination. An in-depth study is to be carried out over four years at a cost of 15 to 25 million dollars.
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- - The environmental group Green Alternative will participate in Peru's April 8 general elections with candidates for the presidency and for parliament. The presidential hopeful is Alex Castillo, the party's secretary general, and among the likely parliamentary candidates are Gina Torrealba, former member of the national volleyball team, and several mayors.
Castillo reported that his group will have the support of green parties in the United States and in Mexico, and that his political platform gives priority to sustainable development, protection of human rights and of natural resources, administrative decentralization and the exchange of foreign debt for environmental projects.
The Green Alternative already has grassroots groups throughout the country and in 15 districts of Lima, the city where the group was born in 1997.
Protecting Fishing Resources
SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- The Chilean government has reduced the quota for the 'jurel,' or scad, catch from 1.20 million tons to 1.14 million tons annually, and for the first time set limits on fishing for anchovies, sardines and hake.
The Under-Secretariat for Fishing announced these protection measures for the fishing resources along the country's extensive Pacific coastline at a time when Chile is caught up in a legal dispute with the European Union before the World Trade Organization. The European bloc filed a complaint because of Chile's regulations for preserving swordfish, the prime target of Spanish fishing vessels in recent years.
Anchovies and sardines are in high demand for their use in producing fishmeal, an industry in which Chile and Peru are among the world's top producers. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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