MEXICO CITY, Apr 9 (Tierramérica).- An alliance of civil society organizations, academics and citizens has called on the Mexican government not to grant authorization for the commercial cultivation of genetically modified soybeans in the southeastern state of Yucatán, because of the potential impact on local honey production.
The call was made by 64 organizations and 102 researchers and citizens on the basis of the potential health, environmental and economic risks, and was presented on Apr. 3 at the end of a public consultation regarding a request by U.S. transnational Monsanto to plant 60,000 hectares of transgenic soybeans.
Most of the honey produced by more than 17,000 beekeepers in Yucatán is exported and brings in annual revenues of more than 30 million dollars, according to the regional honey producers association.
“The risk of contamination by transgenic pollen and the possibility that this would lead to the loss of access to European markets is reason enough to deny the request,” environmentalist Carlos Meade of the organization Yaxché, Tree of Life told Tierramérica.
Bees as Indicators of Air Quality
RIO DE JANEIRO, Apr 9 (Tierramérica).- A research study by the School of Higher Agricultural Studies at the University of São Paulo found that bees can act as bioindicators of air pollution and air quality.
Worker bees make exploratory flights around their hives to collect water, nectar and pollen from flowers, with which they produce honey, royal jelly, wax and propolis.
Through an analysis of the matter collected on these expeditions, the study revealed that in a contaminated environment, pollen becomes impregnated with any microorganisms and chemical substances that are present.
“The results can serve to warn beekeepers about the areas where their apiaries are established. In addition to pollen, apicultural products can also be used to monitor pollution and prevent its impacts, since the contaminating particulates are transmitted to these products,” biologist and head researcher Talita Antonia da Silveira told Tierramérica.
Latin American Forum to Prepare for Rio+20
BUENOS AIRES, Apr 9 (Tierramérica).- The city of Rosario in the eastern Argentine province of Santa Fe will host the Latin American Forum on Sustainable Development: Rosario, Towards Rio+20, which will bring together representatives of governments, international agencies and civil society organizations.
“It is going to be the most important event in the run-up to the summit,” said Gregorio Acerbi from the Undersecretariat of the Environment of Rosario, referring to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), to be held in June in Brazil.
The forum, which will take place Apr. 22-24, will be attended by representatives of Latin American governments, environmentalists, businesspeople and youth, along with representatives of the United Nations Development Programme.
The aim is to discuss and exchange experiences in the forum’s main themes: climate change, biodiversity, renewable energies, the green economy and governance, Acerbi told Tierramérica. The forum will produce a document to be presented at Rio+20.
Fires Destroy 5,000 Hectares of Forest
TEGUCIGALPA, Apr 9 (Tierramérica).- In the last two months, 5,000 hectares of forest have been destroyed by fire in Honduras, particularly in the jungle region of La Mosquitia, on the Atlantic coast.
In La Mosquitia alone, 1,830 hectares have burned down. Other departments (provinces) heavily affected are Francisco Morazán and Comayagua in central Honduras and Olancho in the northeast, José Trinidad Suazo of the Forest Conservation Institute, a government agency, told Tierramérica.
In Tegucigalpa an average of seven fires are reported every day, most of them the result of criminal activity, firefighter Óscar Triminio told Tierramérica.
In 2011, a total of 155 forest fires were recorded in Honduras. The authorities are hopeful that an early arrival of the rainy season will alleviate the current heat wave and stem the outbreak of fires. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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