HAVANA, Jun 6 (Tierramérica).- Construction has been completed on Cuba’s first "green" apartment building, equipped with technology for the more efficient use of water and electricity, thanks to a project supported by the government of Norway and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).
The 16-unit apartment block was built in Havana by the Cuban Technical Center for the Development of Construction Materials (CTDMC). "It will benefit the environment and contribute to saving water, which is scarce in Cuba," Anne Heidi Kvalsøren, first secretary at the Norwegian embassy in Cuba, told Tierramérica.
The building will be inaugurated after Norwegian experts have tested and certified the technology used, she added.
The building is equipped with tanks for the collection and treatment of sewage for use as fertilizer and for the production of biogas as a power source for external lighting.
NGO Fights Capture of Dolphins
CARACAS, Jun 6 (Tierramérica).- Environmental activists are calling on the Venezuelan government to prohibit the capture of Amazon river dolphins from the Orinoco River, after four of the animals died between January and April as the result of contaminated water in their pools at the aquarium in Valencia, an industrial city west of Caracas.
"The Valencia city government’s plan to take specimens of this endangered species that are living wild in Aguaro-Guariquito National Park (in central-south Venezuela) to place them in captivity, where they will likely die, is horrific," Nathalie Castillo, president of the Asoguau Foundation, told Tierramérica.
"We are calling on the Ministry of Environment to deny permission for these captures," said Castillo. The World Society for the Protection of Animals has endorsed the campaign.
Grape Waste a Potential Source of Income
RIO DE JANEIRO, Jun 6 (Tierramérica).- Grape bagasse and seeds, now viewed as waste products of wine and juice production, could actually be an additional source of income, according to research by the Food Agroindustry department of the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation.
"Grape bagasse and seeds contain bioactive components such as antioxidants, which slow down the aging process, and resveratrol, which reduces bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol. They could be used primarily by the cosmetics and health industries," research project coordinator Lourdes Maria Correa Cabral told Tierramérica.
The research, which will conclude in the first half of 2012, could also contribute to the production of enriched fruit juice and milk drinks.
"A small part of the waste from grape production goes back to the vineyards as fertilizer, but most of it is discarded. Finding more appropriate uses can provide added value and reduce the environmental impact," added Cabral.
Government Promotes Agro-Forestry Systems
TEGUCIGALPA, Jun 6 (Tierramérica).- The government of Honduras plans to implement an agro-forestry systems program in various regions of the country. These systems combine trees, agricultural crops and livestock raising, and are aimed at raising food production while mitigating the impacts of climate change.
Honduras is a very fragile country in environmental terms, and these agro-forestry systems will help reduce its vulnerability through appropriate techniques for the management of soils, water, nutrients, agricultural crops and forests, Agriculture and Livestock Minister Jacobo Regalado told Tierramérica.
To implement the program, the government is forming partnerships with non-governmental organizations and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), which has significant experience in the Central American region. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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