GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Some 15,000 small scale fisherfolk along Guatemala's Pacific and Atlantic coasts will benefit from a project "with incentives and aimed at supplying the national market," says Erick Villagrán, coordinator of the government fishing and fisheries agency, Unipesca.
"The goal is to build six collections centers in areas of greatest production of fish and shellfish. The first warehouse is almost finished in the area of Tilapa," in the western department of San Marcos, he added.
There will also be incentives for producing tilapia fish as well as shrimp, which according to Villagrán, 90 percent of what is sold inside Guatemala is farmed, and 10 percent is wild.
The incentive has the backing of Spain's international cooperation agency and the Guatemala City government.
Buenos Aires Bets on Recycling
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- "Buenos Aires Recylces" is a new environmental program designed by the capital's government to process a progressively greater amount of the waste its residents produce.
With this goal, the first plant for separating out materials will begin operating in March, in the central neighborhood of Flores, and will be managed by a cooperative of "cartoneros", informal garbage collectors.
"We are very pleased. For more than two years we have been working on this," Francisco Monzón, head of the Bajo Flores Ecological Cooperative for Recycling, told Tierramérica.
The more than 40 members of the project will recycle around 10 tons of waste per day, with the aim of reaching 120 tons, the maximum capacity of the site.
"We are the first cooperative with a plant of this size. It is an opportunity to prove that the cartoneros can organize," added Monzón.
Ecologists Demand Forest Law
TEGUCIGALPA, (Tierramérica).- Civil society organizations in the Coalition for Environmental Justice have asked the Honduran government of president-elect Manuel Zelaya Rosales to immediately pass a forest law, which has been frozen in the files of the National Congress for four years
Efraín Díaz, of the Democracy Without Borders Foundation, which coordinates the coalition, said the law has not been approved because groups with logging interests have made their moves in Congress.
Díaz told Tierramérica that the government's initiative to earmark one percent of the the national budget for reforestation is a good start, but that "it will not be effective if there is no transparent and credible legal instrument."
The law regulates the use of the forest and creates community-based forestry, which gives broad participation to local residents in the preservation of natural resources.
Copper Cages for Salmon Farming
SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- The Chilean government's copper agency, Codelco, has an agreement with the Salmon Institute of Technology to manufacture cages for raising these fish with a special copper alloy that is more resistant to contamination than traditional cages, made from synthetic fibers and galvanized steel.
With an investment of 20 million dollars, five cages will begin use in March at five salmon farms in the south of Chile, the world's leader in copper production, and second in salmon.
The new cages cost 40 percent more than the conventional types, but they may reduce losses in salmon from "fouling" (contamination from algae, shellfish and bacteria) by 30 to 40 percent, said Victor Pérez, marketing director for Codelco and president of ProCobre-Chile, the entity promoting copper.
Photos in the Subway
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- The photography exhibition "Mega-Diverse Venezuela" can be viewed on the walls of the central Caracas subway station Bellas Artes.
There are images of the jungles , flowers from the tropical Andes, beaches of fine sand from the Caribbean -- all in Venezuela, but also landscapes from Bolivia, Brazil, China and Congo.
The show is organized by the non-governmental Conservation International (CI) and the Mexican cement giant Cemex.
"We were looking to publicize among the greatest possible number of Caracas residents -- half a million go through this station each day -- information about the importance of preserving species of plants and animals," CI spokesman Franklin Rojas told Tierramérica.
The photos highlight areas where there are many threatened species, like the tropical Andes, and wild areas, like the Venezuelan Amazon, where more than 70 percent of the original ecosystems are intact
Green Light for Water Management Plan
RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Brazil recently became the first Latin American country to approve its National Plan for Water Resources for the sustainable use, which will be presented at the 4th World Water Forum, in Mexico Mar. 16-22.
Because of its participatory process, it is a big step forward in "democratic management of natural resources," says Gustavo Cherubine, representative of the Forum of Non-Governmental Organizations and Social Movements in the discussions, which ultimately involved more than 7,000 interested persons.
The plan takes up policies in development for several years, with "a view of ecosystems as generators of water," Cherubine explained to Tierramérica.
But its application will be complicated because Brazil has poor distribution of its water resources, enormous waste, contamination and political and legal conflicts that make solutions difficult, according to Rui Vieira da Silva, president of the Brazilian Association of Hydric Resources.
Peasant Farmers Go Solar
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- - More than 40 farming families in Valle de Viñales, in the western Cuban province of Pinar del Río, have been illuminating their homes with solar panels since the end of January.
"It was the best alternative. The homes are very far flung, and the towers of the national electricity network are not compatible with the local landscape," Alberto Pérez, a United Nations informaton officer in Cuba, told Tierramérica.
This type of electrical supply is planned for an additional 118 homes in Viñales, of some 10,000 inhabitants and one of the 36 protected areas in Pinar del Rio.
Sponsoring the program are the French energy company Total, the French Fund for the Global Environment, the Cuban government and the United Nations Development Program, said Pérez. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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