RIO DE JANEIRO, Jan 31 (Tierramérica).- Brazil has held first place since 2008 in consumption of agro-toxins.
This leading role causes concern because 88 percent of these chemical-based agricultural defense products can harm the environment, according to a report from the Brazilian government's environmental research institute IBAMA, released Monday, Jan. 24. Human health is the other victim.
The study was based on commercial data from production in 2009, reported by the companies themselves. Categorized based on degree of eco-toxicity, from one to four, with four being the least aggressive, the results show that one percent of agro-toxins are category 1, while 38 percent are in category 2, and 49 percent in category 3.
"Agro-toxins can contaminate the environment, create imbalances and contribute to the loss of biodiversity," Márcio Freitas, IBAMA's general coordinator for chemical assessment and control, told Tierramérica.
HAVANA, Jan 31 (Tierramérica).- Cuba will begin production this year of solar-powered freezers, after successfully manufacturing a prototype in 2010. This appliance ensures considerable savings of electrical energy.
The new freezer will be a boon to hotels and to isolated homes, and can operate for a short time even in adverse conditions like storms because they can store energy.
Geovanny Rojas, vice-president for technology development at the Ministry of Steel's industrial group for refrigeration and heating, confirmed to Tierramérica that the first batch for 2011 includes 10 eco-freezers.
Each unit allows savings of 700 kilowatts/hour annually compared to conventional freezers.
Communities to Manage Sustainable Forest
TEGUCIGALPA, Jan 31 (Tierramérica).- Eight communities in the northern Honduran departments of Atlántida and Yoro will take charge in the next two months of 30,000 hectares of forest to carry out a sustainable management project.
Karla Cáceres, of the Atlantic Regional Development Network, which is promoting the initiative, told Tierramérica that the area to be sustainably managed and utilized and protected will have broad citizen participation.
For more than three decades that the people "live with the forest, and today the government authorizes them the permits to legally manage it for its sustainability," she explained.
The community programs will have financial backing from the Forest Conservation Institute, donor countries and of the areas farming cooperatives, which will purchase the products. The beneficiary zones are part of the Honduran Atlantic protected areas.
Fighting the Ashen Moth
CARACAS, Jan 31 (Tierramérica).- Researchers at the Central University of Venezuela are proposing to develop the Beauveria Bassiania fungus in mangroves on the Paria Peninsula and other region in the country's northeast as a biological agent to control an onslaught of the ashen moth (Hylesia metabus).
The tiny hairs of the moth cause allergic reactions in human skin and other organs.
"We are proposing to develop ... biological agents to control these pests, as well as agricultural diseases, with economic and environmental costs far below the use of chemical agents," Blas Dorta, coordinator of the University's School of Sciences, told Tierramérica.
The coastal zones of Paria, where the ashen moth poses a health problem for the production of goods and services in both farming and tourism, the authorities rely on fumigation with chemical pesticides over 15,000 hectares that include mangrove forests -- in a bid to get rid of the pesky moth. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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