RIO DE JANEIRO, Oct 11 (Tierramérica).- A cement alternative, one that is less polluting, cheaper and more durable, has emerged from research at the Brazilian São Carlos School of Engineering.
Replacing clay and lime materials with magnesium oxide and other materials allows cement production at lower temperatures, thus cutting emissions of greenhouse-effect gases.
The new formula can only be used in the production of fiber cement, and will not completely replace the traditional Portland cement. "Fiber cement is not used for structural purposes, only for constructive elements like tiles or siding," head engineer Carlos Gomes explained to Tierramérica.
"In addition to the technical aspects, we aim to create discussion about the indiscriminate use of certain materials in construction, those that do not take into account the environment, lifetime and destination of their production," he said.
Confiscated Lumber Turns Into School Equipment
TEGUCIGALPA, Oct 11 (Tierramérica).- Fifty percent of the lumber that Honduran officials seized from smugglers or illegal loggers will be used for school equipment, according to a reform in the Forestry Law approved by Congress.
The wood and the fines charged to the offenders will be used by primary schools. Inmates in Honduran prisons will turn the lumber into desks and other school equipment, lawmaker Lena Gutiérrez, of the governing National Party, told Tierramérica.
Supervision and delivery of the materials will be the responsibility of community forest councils, according to the reform law Congress passed unanimously on Oct. 5.
The Honduran government loses an estimated six to eight million dollars annually in fiscal revenues as a result of illegal logging.
Campaign to Protect Sea Lions
SANTIAGO, Oct 11 (Tierramérica).- The non-governmental Chilean Eco-Oceans Center is leading a national and international campaign against a proposal to authorize quotas to hunt sea lions (Otaria flavescens).
"We are trying to confront the pressure from artisanal fishing sectors, government officials, some lawmakers and entrepreneurs from the Salmon Industry Association of Chile," who want sea lion hunting as a way to eliminate interactions between the sea mammals and the fishing and aquaculture industries, Patricio Igor Melillanca, of Eco-Oceans, told Tierramérica.
In his opinion, "there is no scientific evidence to support a slaughter. Where this sort of approach has been taken to prevent interactions with fishing, the results have not been successful," he said.
The measure is still under consideration by Chilean authorities. Legal protections of the species are in place until 2010. *Source: Inter Press Service.
up for Tierramerica's free weekly newsletter!