Buenos Aires to Contract Cooperatives for Waste Collection
BUENOS AIRES, Apr 4 (Tierramérica).- The city of Buenos Aires will contract 13 cooperatives to handle the collection and recycling of all of the capital’s dry wastes as of 2012.
The new waste collection system will require households to sort and separate dry wastes - reusable materials such as paper and cardboard, plastic, glass, metal and fabric - from organic wastes, such as food scraps.
“What is important is that the city government is backing this decision with budget resources, because the wet waste collection companies are paid millions and we are marginalised, as if we weren’t a social enterprise,” waste collector Cristina Lescano told Tierramérica.
Lescano is a member of the El Ceibo cooperative, which collects waste from some 8,000 points around the city through an agreement with local residents.
Waste collection is one of the city’s most costly budget allocations, representing an expenditure of around 500 million dollars annually, of which 95 percent will go to the organic waste collection companies and the remainder to the cooperatives.
Guaraní Aquifer Threatened by Pollution
RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 4 (Tierramérica).- The illegal dumping of garbage and toxic agrochemicals used in sugarcane farming poses a serious threat to Latin America’s largest groundwater reservoir, the Guaraní Aquifer, according to the Institute for Technological Research (IPT) in the southern Brazilian state of São Paulo.
Areas of potential risk in São Paulo were identified by the IPT and other state government agencies. The aquifer covers around 850,000 square kilometres beneath the surface of southern Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.
“We evaluated degrees of vulnerability in accordance with the depth of the aquifer, the presence of native forests as protection, and the types of materials produced in the soil,” IPT researcher José Luiz Albuquerque told Tierramérica.
The study divided the 143,000 square kilometres of the aquifer located beneath the state of São Paulo into three categories: areas of restricted occupation, such as riverbanks and legally protected forest reserves; areas of supervised occupation, due to their vulnerability to pollution; and areas of environmental recovery, which have already been degraded by erosion, garbage dumps or overcrowded residential areas.
The resulting risk map is meant to serve as the basis for developing draft legislation and preventive measures.
Illegal Dam Construction Under Investigation
TEGUCIGALPA, Apr 4 (Tierramérica).- The Office of the Special Prosecutor for Ethnic Groups in Honduras is investigating the construction of small hydroelectric dams without the required environmental licences in the western department of Intibucá, which is home to most of the country’s Lenca indigenous people.
Special Prosecutor Yani del Cid told Tierramérica that local indigenous communities have presented “irrefutable proof of the construction of dams without legal authorisation, taking advantage of the boom in the government’s promotion of renewable energy.”
According to del Cid, the Ministry of the Environment has been informed of these irregularities, “but we also want to know who the guilty parties are, in order to enforce the law on them.”
The Honduran government is encouraging the development of different renewable sources of energy to reduce the country’s dependence on oil imports, from which 70 percent of electricity is currently produced.
Energy companies claim that the country has the potential to generate 3,200 MW of hydroelectric power, while the demand is 1,400 MW. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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