RIO DE JANEIRO, (Tierramérica).- Big garbage dumps will no longer be a serious socio-environmental problem in Brazil, turning into an energy source instead, thanks to the clean development mechanism (CDM) of the Kyoto Protocol on climate change, say officials.
The solution, promoted by the ministries of Environment and Cities, involves taking advantage of the methane gas produced by organic waste to generate electricity and also what are known as carbon credits (which would cover a portion of the high costs), granted for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases.
Brazil has already approved to projects of this kind, and hopes to multiply them through a program that would initially select 30 municipalities with appropriate dumps or landfills, Claudio Langone, executive secretary of the Environment Ministry, told Tierramérica.
The selection will take place before June amongst cities of more than 118,000 people, which concentrate half of the population and 64 percent of the country's solid waste. A study found that urban waste could generate up to 389.5 megawatts by 2010, and 440.7 megawatts by 2015.
Plans to Halt Coastal Erosion
HAVANA, (Tierramérica).- A project backed by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) aims to halt erosion along the southern strip of coastline of Havana province in Cuba.
The plan covers Mayabeque beach, where cement structures are being placed to prevent sand from being washed out to sea, an environmental phenomenon with serious consequences for coastal ecosystems.
Fara Carena, head of the Melena del Sur municipal planning department and coordinator of the project ''Confronting erosion on Mayabeque Beach'', told Tierramérica that 20 to 100 cm of sand on the province's southern coast are lost annually.
Coastal erosion and climate changes endanger the residents of these areas, due to the gradual increase in sea level and sudden incursions of ocean water from tropical cyclones
Certified Lumber for Sale Soon
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Seven processed wood companies from various countries agreed to purchase certified lumber from the northern Guatemalan department of Petén to foment sustainable forest management.
The companies are based in Australia, Germany, Guatemala, United States and the Caribbean, José Román Carrera, regional coordinator for the Forest Alliance, told Tierramérica.
The trade agreements were signed by representatives of 11 communities and two private companies, which in total handle forestry concessions covering 461,000 hectares in northern Petén, he said.
Agreed was the purchase of nearly 1.5 million board feet of certified lumber, worth around 3.1 million dollars.
The Forest Alliance certifies forest management practices in Petén through a program that demands forest use that maintains natural balance and good social conditions, as well as providing technical support to the communities and companies that have been certified, says Carrera.
Tracking Glacier Melt
SANTIAGO, (Tierramérica).- For the first time in Chile's history there will be a systematic process for monitoring an important glacier in the country's southern region, as a means to measure melting that could be associated with global warming.
Francisco Riestra, water director for the Ministry of Public Works in the southern region of Aysén, told Tierramérica last week that the study is possible thanks to cooperation between the Chilean government, the French Development Research Institute and the Center for Scientific Studies, in the Chilean city of Valdivia.
Every six months, technical teams will turn in information about the flow volume of the Nef River in the watershed of Campos de Hielo Norte (icefields), a vast formation of glaciers.
That data will complement the information normally provided by 10 satellite reception stations, and another 20 stations that monitor water resources, all part of the Ministry of Public Works.
Emergency at Valencia Lake
CARACAS, (Tierramérica).- Lake Valencia, covering 375 square km and the second largest in Venezuela, is in a state of emergency because of the contamination resulting from the sewage water reaching the lake via rivers, and the imminent increase in incoming water as rainy season expands those rivers.
The watershed of the lake covers 3,140 square km (0.3 percent of Venezuelan territory) and is home to 2.8 million people (13 percent of the population), and to numerous manufacturing industries.
''Based on the water and sewage services, we will calculate how many families living along the shores and riverbanks should be relocated,'' Luis Carlos Rodríguez, environmental director of Aragua state, which holds part of the water body, told Tierramérica.
The Environment Ministry announced that it will invest 40 million dollars over the coming years in a lake recovery program.
Aerodrome Construction Threatens Maya Ruins
TEGUCIGALPA, (Tierramérica).- The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations of Honduras (ASONOG) denounced to the Cultural Heritage and Environment prosecutors offices that the government's intention to build an aerodrome in Amarillo River valley, in the department of Copán, could harm the environment and Maya ruins and threaten the Maya-Chortí peoples who live there.
ASONOG director Francisco Machado told Tierramérica that the authorities, in their zeal to promote tourism, announced the construction even though UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) has said the project would hurt the foundations of Maya ruins in the area.
According to Machado, UNESCO has conducted three impact studies and recommended building the aerodrome in a different location. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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