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Ban on Cars Benefits City

BOGOTA - The second annual ''Day without Cars,'' held Feb 1, produced a sharp drop in air pollution in the Colombian capital, and allowed drivers to explore their city through other modes of transportation. Individual vehicles were replaced on city streets by public transportation and nearly 1.3 million bicycles.

The greatest improvement was recorded in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, which plummeted 71 percent compared to normal days of car usage, reported Bogota's Administrative Technical Department of the Environment. The lack of cars also curbed noise pollution by 1.3 percent.


Billion-Dollar Costs of Global Warming

NAIROBI - Global warming could cost more than 300 billion dollars annually, unless immediate steps are taken to halt ''greenhouse'' gas emissions, says a report presented in the Kenyan capital.

Prepared by top insurance companies, which form part of a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) initiative on financial services, the report indicates that material losses will largely be the result of increasingly frequent tropical cyclones, erosion from rising sea levels, and damage to aquifers and to fishing and agricultural areas.

''The time to act is now,'' asserted Klaus Toepfer, UNEP executive director, as he presented the document before a forum of environment ministers from around the world on Feb 9.


Subway Line Puts on Breaks

BUENOS AIRES - Argentina's justice authorities ordered the closing of a line of the Metrovías' subway service in the capital until the company finds a way to curb the noise produced when the underground train is operating.

Judge Juan Cataldo upheld a citizen's petition for legal protection, which had the legal and technical support of the non-governmental Environment and Natural Resources Foundation.

The Foundation reported that the noise on subway Line D, which is slated for expansion, reaches an average of 97 decibels, with peaks hitting 140. Anything higher than 80 decibels is harmful to the human ear, according to the World Health Organization.


Recycling Plastics

HAVANA - Cuba will put its first plastic waste recycling plant into operation this year as part of an official campaign to reduce pollution and encourage what is known as clean production.

Officials from the Science, Technology and Environment Ministry announced that the processing plant is under construction.

The national recycling program also includes channeling water waste used in sugarcane processing back into the sugarcane fields, installing environmentally-friendly coffee bean pulpers and using bran (a byproduct of beer making) in cattle feed.

*Source: Inter Press Service.

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