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Eco-Briefs

 ARGENTINA 
 
 Quality Standards for Waste Oil Biodiesel


BUENOS AIRES, Feb 13 (Tierramérica).- Argentina’s National Institute of Industrial Technology (INTI) has developed standards that will enable the certification of small plants that produce biodiesel from used cooking oil.

"There was no certification for biodiesel made from used vegetable oil, and many plants operated by small producers or municipalities are using it for their energy needs," INTI technician Matías Ribeiro told Tierramérica.

There has been growing interest from municipalities in the provinces of Buenos Aires and La Pampa, in central Argentina, and the southern province of Tierra del Fuego, in learning about the requirements of the voluntary standards that would serve to certify the quality of their operations.

The used cooking oil is collected from restaurants and used to produce biodiesel that is in turn used to fuel municipal vehicles, buses and farm vehicles, as well as electricity generators.


 HONDURAS 
 
 Increased Protection of Coral Reefs


TEGUCIGALPA, Feb 13 (Tierramérica).- Environmental organizations and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Honduras have launched a program to conserve the coral reefs off the country’s Caribbean coast, considered the most beautiful in the world after the Great Barrier Reef of Australia.

The project forms part of an initiative to preserve the entire Mesoamerican Reef – shared by Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Honduras – which is being implemented by international and regional agencies such as the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD). The presidency of the CCAD rotates on a six-month basis and is currently held by Honduras.

One of the sites targeted for protection through educational and awareness-raising campaigns is the Cordelia coral forest, a 21-hectare-long reef stretching through the Islas de la Bahía (Bay Islands) that encompasses a wealth of marine life, Environment Minister Rigoberto Cuéllar told Tierramérica.

There are also plans to design a marine recreation plan to ensure the protection of the coral forest, which is home to the largest population of live staghorn coral in the Caribbean and is currently threatened by diving and fishing, he added.


 BRAZIL 
 
 64 Million Used Tires Removed From the Environment


RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 13 (Tierramérica).- During 2011 some 320,000 tons of used and scrap tires, corresponding to 64 million tires from tourism vehicles, were taken out of circulation through environmentally correct treatment by Brazilian industry.

Around 63 percent of the tires were used to produce alternative fuel for the cement industry. A smaller portion were used in the production of shoe soles, flooring for sports facilities, rubberized asphalt and other materials, according to Reciclanip, an association of companies in the sector that collect and recycle scrap tires.

"This amount of material means that the volume of waste removed from the environment is equivalent to what is added in the form of new tires," stressed Cesar Faccio, general director of Reciclanip.

In the future, the main use of the tires will be for the production of rubberized asphalt, since many state governments in Brazil are adopting laws requiring its use on highways, Faccio told Tierramérica.


 MEXICO 
 
 NGOs Demand Respect for the Right to a Healthy Environment


MEXICO CITY, Feb 13 (Tierramérica).- The public but autonomous National Commission of Human Rights (CNDH) of Mexico should take action to defend the right to a healthy environment, say two non-governmental organizations.

A complaint filed by the Fray Julián Garcés Center for Human Rights and Local Development and the Mexican Environmental Law Center refers specifically to the pollution of the Atoyac River, which runs through the southern states of Puebla and Tlaxcala, and the construction of the Independencia Aqueduct in the northern state of Sonora.

The two organizations have called on the CNDH to intervene in these cases because of the threats posed to nearby communities.

"Because of the CNDH’s failure to take action in these cases, we have been obliged to file a complaint with the internal monitoring body against the attorneys responsible for them," Alejandra Méndez, deputy director of the Fray Julián Garcés Center, told Tierramérica.


*Source: Inter Press Service.
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