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COSTA RICA: Backing for Marine Park

SAN JOSE - Costa Rica's two main political parties, now in campaign for February's general elections, announced their support for the construction under way of an ecological marine park on the Pacific coast.

Environment Minister Elizabeth Odio said the ruling Social Christian Unity Party and the opposition National Liberation Party guaranteed their backing for the Marine Park, including its three-million-dollar price tag.

The park, geared toward eco-tourism, is being built in the city of Puntarenas, 100 km west of the capital. The objective of the site, according to the parliamentary-approved plan, is to support sustainable development along the Pacific seaboard.


CHILE: Airport Green Seal

SANTIAGO - The Chilean capital's principal airport will slash its contaminating emissions 40 percent by 2005, according to an agreement signed Nov 19 by three governmental agencies, the airport's concession-holding firm and the airline Lan-Chile.

The project will give the Arturo Merino Benítez airport, located in the densely populated Pudahuel municipality, the necessary conditions for an international green seal, similar to the certification granted by the US Energy Department to the air terminals in its network of "clean cities."

The plan consists largely of replacing the 850 land support vehicles on the tarmac with new ones that run on cleaner technology, such as natural gas or electricity.


BRAZIL: Using Discarded Wood

RIO DE JANEIRO - The Brazilian Environment Institute (IBAMA) launched two training programs this month aimed at preventing the waste of wood and reducing the burden on the country's forests.

Some 420 technicians from state governments, companies and trade unions are receiving training to advise wood-related businesses on manufacturing toys, moldings and other goods using leftover pieces of wood and producing sawdust bricks that can replace coal in thermoelectric energy plants.

Of the 50 million cubic meters of wood extracted from the Brazilian Amazon last year, 30 million were wasted in the sawmills and industrial plants, according to IBAMA figures. The lumber waste was burned or dumped, polluting rivers, soil and air.


CUBA: A Study of Mountain Springs

HAVANA - Cuban scientists will study the origins of the more than 600 rivers in the country's sierra as part of the program laid out for the International Year of the Mountain, in 2002.

Their research will determine the quality of the water and the polluting elements in the Cuban sierra, establishing a set of indicators for each river.

Infrastructure in Cuba would permit the use of 57 percent of the island's accessible water resources, though in eastern zones like Guantánamo, over 1,000 km from the capital, just 10 percent is being utilized.

* Source: Inter Press Service.

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