RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 22 (Tierramérica).- The International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank, rescinded 45 million dollars of financing granted in 2007 to the Grupo Bertin, Brazil's largest beef processing plant.
The "shared decision" is due to the economic crisis, according to the company. But environmentalists see it as a victory for their accusations against the meat packing plants that purchase beef from illegal ranchers that deforest the Amazon.
The next step is for the National Bank for Economic and Social Development (BNDES) to stop financing deforestation, said Roberto Smeraldi, director of Friends of the Earth-Brazilian Amazon.
"BNDES partnered with the companies" and will be held responsible, therefore "its way out is to change the purchasing policies and clean up the environmental damage," Smeraldi told Tierramérica.
Polluting Mining Company Finances Public Universities
BUENOS AIERS, Jun 22 (Tierramérica).- The Foundation for the Defense of the Environment, in the central Argentine province of Córdoba, reported that a mining company whose vice-president has been indicted for polluting is handing out millions of dollars to public universities.
"After learning about the denunciation, various strata within the university expressed that they were never informed that the funds existed," Foundation president Raúl Montenegro told Tierramérica.
He said the consortium that includes Minera Alumbrera and other companies that mine the Agua de Dionisio deposits in the northwestern province of Catamarca distributed 14 million dollars to 40 public universities in 2008 and nearly 10 million dollars so far this year.
The environmentalist called on the National University of Córdoba -- one of the beneficiaries -- to refuse the contribution this year and to investigate where the 2008 money went.
Recession Puts Bike Plan on the Skids
MEXICO CITY, Jun 22 (Tierramérica).- The economic crisis has put the Mexico City government's plan to expand bicycle paths -- which now total 80 kilometers -- on hold. The expansion plan coasted to a halt in late 2007.
"It is unlikely that the bike routes will be completed in the short term," because the recession has imposed "other priorities," a source from the city's Finance Secretariat told Tierramérica.
In December 2007, the capital's authorities announced that in 2008 they would build 60 km of new bike paths, but delays in the plans and disputes with activists impeded completion.
Nearly 4,000 Tons of Garbage Daily
TEGUCIGALPA, Jun 22 (Tierramérica).- Honduras produces some 3,800 tons of garbage per day, which contributes to the reproduction of flies, mosquitoes and rats, which in turn transmit preventable diseases.
Most waste is sent to inadequate sites, as only 11 of the 298 municipalities in the country have appropriate sanitary landfills, according to a 2007 report from the World Health Organization, Health Secretary Carlos Aguilar told Tierramérica.
The study indicated that Tegucigalpa and the northwestern city of San Pedro Sula concentrate the most waste: plastics, paper, organic waste, pesticides, paints, motor oil, tires and other items.
The WHO and the Environment Secretariat are coordinating pilot projects to set up garbage collection and recycling centers, as well as advising local governments on appropriate waste management, said Aguilar. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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