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Eco-Briefs

 MEXICO 
 
 Medications via Nanoparticles


MEXICO CITY, Mar 30 (Tierramérica).- Researchers in Mexico have encapsulated pharmaceuticals in microscopic nanoparticles, allowing the medications to be delivered with greater precision to the ill part of the body, without the secondary effects of conventional therapies.

The nanoparticles with medications, known as aquasomes, promise more accurate dosage and greater efficiency of medications, Irma Rojas, a scientist with the Autonomous Metropolitan University in the Mexican capital, told Tierramérica.

Rojas and her team are aquasome pioneers in Mexico. They are currently testing the technique with indometacine, an anti-inflammatory that is used to treat eye diseases.

Various medications, as well as proteins synthesized through biotechnology and genes can be encapsulated in aquasomes, a technique developed by Nir Kossovsky, at the University of California, said Rojas.


 CENTRAL AMERICA 
 
 Universities to Study Natural Disasters


TEGUCIGALPA, Mar 30 (Tierramérica).- Representatives from the 19 public universities of Central America agreed on a 12-year strategy for studying and preventing natural disasters and for proposing appropriate public policies.

The initiative promotes scientific research and equipping laboratories and seismic detection networks, among other efforts.

The university representatives are working on joint academic plans to reinforce studies of natural disasters, climate change, mitigation and risk management, as well as developing infrastructure for early warning when these phenomena occur, Honduran Science and Technology Minister Miriam Mejía told Tierramérica.

The academy "has joined in this regional initiative that aims to strengthen capacities and offer responses to the governments, which lack the appropriate technical and scientific instruments" for dealing with these problems, she added.


 ARGENTINA 
 
 Indignant Over Mining Project


BUENOS AIRES, Mar 30 (Tierramérica).- Residents of Andalgalá, in the northwestern Argentine province of Catamarca, are preparing a national protest against the approval of a mining project they say will hurt their water supply and the environment.

The group Neighbors for the Life of Andalgalá is fighting the exploitation of a 730-million-ton bed of gold, copper and molybdenum in Agua Rica, 25 kilometers from their town, held by the Canada-based Yamana Gold.

Patricia Figueroa told Tierramérica that the residents are requesting a copy of the approved studies and convening a national protest in April with environmental and community organizations opposed to large mining projects.

The company had warned this month that it would begin layoffs in April if the environmental impact study was not approved. Two days later, the government gave the green light, which the neighbors say was granted under pressure from the mining firm.


 BRAZIL 
 
 New Standards for Forest Products


RIO DE JANEIRO, Mar 30 (Tierramérica).- The Brazilian industries that utilize raw materials from the forests will have to follow new production criteria, according to a resolution passed by the National Environmental Council this month.

The rules standardize procedures for technical inspections, indicators of output and nomenclature for species and forest products, in order to prevent deforestation, facilitate monitoring and auditing, and integrate data from different states.

According to Paulo Amaral, of the Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon, the standards will affect the communities whose economies are based on extractive activities.

"It's essential to guarantee conditions and incentives so that the people leave behind illegal situations, because there is a vast illicit supply of forest products," he told Tierramérica.

Agricultural security, assurance that extractivist communities won't lose their lands, and better access to technologies that improve efficiency are some of the conditions necessary, Amaral said.


*Source: Inter Press Service.
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