RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil has 317 Natural Heritage Private
Reserves, evidence of the growing participation of
individuals in conserving the country's biodiversity.
Brazilian Environmental Institute recognized the latest
17 reserves in late February. They are privately owned
areas that, on the initiative of the owners and with
the approval and backing of environmental officials,
are declared to be of national environmental interest.
owners receive tax breaks and preference in obtaining
loans. They may use their land to develop eco-tourism,
environmental education or research, but cannot engage
in any activity that harms the natural resources,
flora or fauna.
goal is to create 5,000 private reserves by 2010,
says Cecilia Pereira, of the Environmental Institute.
GENEVA - March 22 is World Water
Day, dedicated to reflection on water's contribution
to human health and how it can contribute to reducing
With support from the World Health
Organization (WHO), governments and civil society
groups from numerous countries have organized events
for the day - and throughout the year - to raise awareness
about the right of all people to sources of safe water.
World Water Day was first declared
as an annual event in 1992, instituted by the Earth
Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
If you would like to participate,
connect to www.worldwaterday.org.
CARACAS - Lake Valencia, the
most important wetland in the central region of Venezuela,
is suffering the consequences of the massive dumping
of sewage, which is endangering the lake's environmental
The lake, which normally covers
369 square km, has overflowed its shores due to the
accumulation of sediment in the lakebed.
The organic and inorganic matter
collected there has triggered the growth of algae,
which uses up the oxygen in the water, and land along
the shoreline has become unproductive.
Local industry owners assure
that they are following environmental regulations.
But officials indicate that it is difficult to control
pollution caused by runoff from nearby towns, which
lack water treatment facilities.
Taxi Drivers Go Green
SANTIAGO - Taxi drivers are
to participate in a program to restrict daily vehicle
traffic in the Chilean capital, a system that has
been in place since the 1980s for privately owned
cars to reduce the city's high level of air pollution.
The National Confederation of
Independent Rental Car Workers of Chile, which includes
51 of the 53 taxi unions in Santiago, signed an accord
Mar 12 with the Ministry of Transportation to add
those vehicles lacking a catalytic converter (equipped
to use unleaded gasoline) to the pollution-fighting
From Monday to Friday, 8,000
rental cars will no longer circulate, a number equivalent
to 20 percent of the fleet, according to the agreement,
which is in effect Mar 26 to Aug 31.