BRAZIL: Anti-Coal Coalition Launched
RIO DE JANEIRO - "No to Coal!" is the
slogan of a coalition of two-dozen environmental groups formalized
last week to demand a ban in Brazil on this energy source.
Their priority is to prevent the construction of five coal-fired
electrical plants in southern Brazil, where the country's
coal deposits are located.
The environmental harm caused by this fossil fuel is described
in "Coal: Yesterday's Fuel", a book published by Friends of
the Earth-Brazil and Greenpeace, released May 25 to mark the
launch of the new coalition.
Its goal is to promote renewable energy sources, such as wind,
biomass, and southern Brazil has an abundance of rice chaff
and strong winds, Friends coordinator Kathia Monteiro told
Tierramérica. The new movement also rejects nuclear energy
and major hydroelectric dams, she said.
VENEZUELA: Getting Rid of Pesticides
CARACAS - Venezuela will invest 4.2 million
dollars on destroying a thousand tons of pesticides, including
DDT (dichloro dyphenil trychloroethane), toxaphene, lead arsenate
and methyl bromide.
Barrels containing these "persistent organic pollutants" (POPs)
will be sent this month to Germany, where they will be incinerated,
stored in high-security drums and buried in a salt mine.
According to the environmental group Aguaclara, Venezuelan
imported more than eight thousand tons of POPs in the 1960s
for the beneficiaries of an agrarian reform process.
"These pollutants are no longer used, but have medium and
long term effects," Environment Ministry representative Emilio
Chacón told Tierramérica.
Aguaclara activist María Eugenia Gil told Tierramérica, "It's
essential to investigate in order to find more pollutants
that were buried or are being stored" in Venezuela.
On May 17, the Stockholm Convention on POPs entered into force
for the 59 countries that ratified the treaty, but Venezuela
is not among them.
HONDURAS: Dive-Fishing to End
TEGUCIGALPA - The government of Honduras
announced that beginning next year it will work to eliminate
dive-fishing for lobster in the Caribbean department of La
Mosquitia, a fishing technique that has left at least 4,200
indigenous divers injured.
Miguel Suazo, head of the fishing division of the Agriculture
Secretariat, explained to Tierramérica that diving for lobster,
without the necessary safety measures, leads to decompression
syndrome, characterized by lack of oxygen to the brain and
various kinds of neurological disorders.
"There's a certain amount of resistance in the business community
to implement the fishing regulations and protect the divers,
but we cannot continue allowing more people to be injured
and we are going to eliminate dive fishing in 2005," said
Arquídimes López, one of the Misquito Indians living with
a diving injury, told Tierramérica that he is pleased with
the government's announcement because "we feel unprotected.
We are slowly dying and it seemed that nobody was aware of
GUATEMALA: Protecting Rivers
GUATEMALA CITY - Guatemala's Ministry
of Agriculture is set to protect the Xayá and Pixcayá rivers
in the western department of Chimaltenango, which supply 38
percent of the potable water consumed in the capital.
The program already has the approval of President Oscar Berger,
but its cost has not yet been established, nor the source
of financing, José Duro, the ministry's geographic planning
coordinator, told Tierramérica.
The protection strategy for the two river basins consists
of three phases, says Duro. The first is focused on preserving
forests and parks, the second promotes planting of fruit trees
in the high erosion zones, and the third is to diversify economic
activities in the river valleys, located some 150 km west
of the capital.