RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Five buses fueled by hydrogen will circulate in Sao Paulo and four neighboring cities beginning in 2007, with innovations similar to those in industrialized countries.
The vehicles will incorporate the "hybrid concept," using electricity generated by hydrogen fuel cells and batteries, Marcio Schettino, coordinator of the project for the Metropolitan Enterprise of Urban Transportation, explained to Tierramérica.
The batteries accumulate the energy saved in moments that require little power -- as when the vehicle is traveling downhill -- and the energy generated by braking, which help to reduce costs. The great challenge is to ensure the economic viability to these buses, making them competitive with diesel-fueled buses, Schettino said.
The buses will be shown at the Electrical Vehicle Seminar and Exhibition, Aug. 16-17 in Sao Paulo. The 12-meter-long buses with a passenger capacity of 90 people each, will travel one million kilometers in four years of testing.
Love for the Mangrove
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- The exposition "For Love of the Mangrove", organized by the National Center for Improvement of Science Education, will run through August at the Lía Bermúdez Art Center in the western Venezuelan city of Maracaibo.
Videos and photographs by artists Audio Cepeda and Jean Cearlos Ramos illustrate the contributions made by mangrove trees. There will also be workshops on conservation in which residents of communities near mangrove forests will participate, says spokeswoman Adriana Vera.
The urgency of the effort to protect these trees lies in "the pressures from development along Venezuela's coasts," which are implementing projects for natural gas, petroleum and coal there, says Jorge Hinestroza, professor of ecology at the University of Zulia in Maracaibo.
"Venezuela has 300,000 hectares of mangrove forests with the potential to generate up to three kilograms of organic material per square meter," he said.
Clean Release of the Last Oil-Contaminated Penguins
SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- The Chilean government's National Forest Corporation (CONAF) has completed the recovery project for penguins contaminated with petroleum, rescuing 54 of these birds living in the extreme southern region of Magallanes, 3,000 km south of the capital.
CONAF veterinarian Alejandra Silva told Tierramérica that the source of the contamination discovered in April is not yet known. On Magdalena Island, a natural sanctuary of penguins located in the Strait of Magellan, 76 penguins were found covered in petroleum.
At a CONAF forestry nursery, the birds were washed, dried, fed and treated with medications. Of the penguins taken to the center, 22 died of aspergillosis (a disease caused by fungus) and hydrocarbon poisoning.
The release of the surviving penguins in their natural habitat began on Jun. 19 and was completed Jul. 28.
Organic Tilapia for Export
TEGUCIGALPA, (Tierramérica).- - The private company Aquafinca Saint Peter Fish, established in northern Honduras, will export to the United States more than 11,000 kg monthly of organic tilapia fish filets beginning in August.
Aquafinca is one of the leading exporters of this type of fish, with a monthly average of 460,000 kg, generally to the United States. Now the firm is working to expand production that is in better harmony with the environment.
"The outlook is encouraging," Andrés Piedrahita, research and development manager, told Tierramérica. He explained that this tilapia (Oreochromis spp) was fed with certified organic products.
In 2005, tilapia exports brought in 41.2 million dollars, according to the Central Bank of Honduras. As for the organic version, it is the first attempt of its kind in Latin America, said Piedrahita.
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- The intense summer heat, vacations and the need to get into the Caribbean water wherever and however has sounded the alarm in Cuba, where drowning is the third leading cause of accidental death.
"Most of the deaths do not occur in swimming areas, but rather in other areas not designated for that use," Luis Enrique Calero, of the Cuban Red Cross, told Tierramérica.
"The drownings are almost always the result of violating safety rules and of neglecting to keep watch over minors. Men, especially adolescent males, are very vulnerable because they feel the need to prove the 'three Cs': courage, combativeness and creativity," he added.
The lives saved by the aquatic safety service of the Red Cross reached 5,575 in 2005. In Cuba last year 282 people died from drowning, of which 255 were males. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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