CARACAS, Mar 23 (Tierramérica).- More than 800 kilometers of coral reefs of Los Roques archipelago, a Caribbean paradise covering 225,00 hectares just 180 km north of Caracas, are at risk due to the warming of their marine environment.
It will lead to "bleaching, which affects its cells, hinder reproduction and make them more vulnerable to diseases, like white-, yellow-, black-, and red-band, dark-spot disease and white pox," Juan Carlos Fernández, director of Los Roques Scientific Foundation, told Tierramérica.
"Monitoring in the area should be maximized. Tourist who go diving are tempted to touch it or take a piece of coral as a souvenir," he added.
The reefs of Los Roques and other archipelagos are essential as habitat and reproduction sites for marine species like grouper (Serranidae), snapper (Lutjanidae), grunt (Haemulon plumierii) or Atlantic mackerel (Scomberomorus).
Mining Project Has Town on Alert
SANTIAGO, Mar 23 (Tierramérica).- The Chilean town of Tierra Amarilla, 805 km north of Santiago, has filed numerous observations about the Caserones copper mining project, of the Japanese firm Lumina Copper, as part of the environmental impact assessment process.
It is the first time that officials from that mining community are participating in the environmental affairs of a mining site, environmental engineer and municipal advisor Manuel Pizarro told Tierramérica.
The town is calling for the construction of a water desalinization plant due to the water shortages the region faces, for expanding the project's area of influence to more communities, and that the firm recognize its impacts on employment and other issues.
The assessment of the 1.7-billion-dollar project is slated for completion at the end of July. The project also faces challenges from public services.
Peasants Join the Biodiesel Market
TEGUCIGALPA, Mar 23 (Tierramérica).- Peasant farmers of the Salamá cooperative in the northern Honduran region of Tocoa have achieved a three-year dream: their own biodiesel production plant to supply the local market.
The plant, which will produce more than 9,800 liters of fuel per day, was donated by the government of Colombia and presented on Mar. 16 by that country's President Alvaro Uribe.
"Finally we have realized our dream and we are going to produce fuel from natural products, like palm oil," the cooperative's president, Neptalí Rivas, told Tierramérica.
With a price tag of 1.1 million dollars, the production facility has an energy generating system provided by the government. Initially, it will supply biofuel to the Honduran Atlantic coast.
Supermarkets Promote Eco-Friendly Shopping Bags
RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 23 (Tierramérica).- The Brazilian supermarket chains Bompreço, Hiper Bompreço and TodoDia, concentrated in the nine states of the country's Northeast region, have begun discount programs in their 131 stores for shoppers with reusable or returnable bags.
Clients earn the equivalent of one cent on the dollar for every plastic bag avoided, which reflects the total cost that the markets spend on buying new bags.
A pilot project ran from December to March in 50 stores in Salvador and Recife. The discount total was 14,748 dollars, meaning the non-use of more than one million plastic bags.
"Participation surpassed expectations, primarily because it is helping change society's habits, which for 30 years has been invaded by plastic bags," Bompreço director Luiz Herrisson told Tierramérica.
The new program aims to double the results of the pilot project, he said. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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