COLOMBIA: Holy Week, but
No Palm Fronds
BOGOTA - Colombia's Environment
Ministry and Bogotá's Botanical Garden have launched
the ''Reconcile with Nature'' campaign to prevent
the use of the fronds of the wax palm (Ceroxylon quindiuense)
in the celebrations of Christianity's Holy Week.
Illegal harvest of this tree in the central and southern
parts of the country harm the only habitat of the
yellow-eared parrot (Ognorhynchus icterotis), an endangered
species found only in Colombia's Tolima and Antioquía
departments, Luz Cortés, of Conservation International-Colombia,
''We want to raise public awareness about protecting
vulnerable species like the wax palm,'' said Environment
Minister Sandra Suárez, who recommended using other
types for Holy Week festivities, such as the iraca
and areca palm branches.
MEXICO: 'Export' of Law
MEXICO CITY - The environmental
watchdog group Greenpeace warned that the new Mexican
law on biosecurity for genetically modified organisms
(GMOs) --opposed by environmentalists, a group of
farmers, and scientists -- could be used as a model
for similar legislation in Central America.
''We are worried because in countries like El Salvador
and others they are thinking about taking the content
of the Mexican law and replicating it in creating
their own laws,'' Areli Carreón, coordinator of the
Greenpeace genetic engineering campaign, told Tierramérica.
Activists oppose the law on Biosecurity for Genetically
Modified Organisms, approved by Mexican lawmakers
on Feb. 15, because they say it has loopholes and
would allow cultivation of GMOs throughout the country,
endangering the environment.
Carreón says the content of the Mexican law, which
activists say was drafted under pressure from the
transnational companies that dominate the global transgenics
market, is a bad example to follow for any Latin American
or Caribbean country.
PERU: Oil Companies Resist
LIMA - Sugarcane growers in Peru
are demanding that the government comply with the
law on Promotion of Bio-Fuel Market, in effect since
Jan. 1, and which obligates petroleum refineries to
replace the lead in gasoline with ethanol.
This substitution -- which would be a boon to the
sugar industry -- is one of the measures Peru is to
adopt in order to reduce emissions of air pollutants
and to comply with the Kyoto Protocol on climate change,
which took effect Feb. 16.
But the refineries are resisting production of fuel
with 10 percent ethanol because it would drive up
costs, and they have stopped implementation of the
law by putting of definition of regulations.
The Cartavio sugar mill built a two-million-dollar
plant with a capacity to produce 15 million liters
of ethanol a year, a quarter of the estimated demand
once the law is applied, said the firm's general manager
HONDURAS: $320 Million
to Fight Water Shortage
TEGUCIGALPA - Honduran authorities
need 320 million dollars to build a reservoir for
potable water in the capital, where tight rationing
of water supplies has been in effect because of a
dry summer and the climate phenomenon known as El
La Concepción and Los Laureles reservoirs, which supply
water to more than a million of Tegucigalpa's residents,
are not enough, and alternatives are being sought
to resolve water supply problems over the next 14
years, Francisco Herrera, an official with the national
water service agency, told Tierramérica.
The government is considering building a dam in the
Guacerique district, near the capital, and would have
a capacity for 60 million cubic meters of water.
La Concepción and Los Laureles can hold 33 million
and 10 million cubic meters, respectively.
The government began rationing potable water supplies
at the end of January. If action is not taken now,
say experts, water shortages will only worsen in the
next two years.
GUATEMALA: To Jail for
GUATEMALA CITY - The municipal
government of Quiché, a tourist destination in central
Guatemala, will send anyone who dumps trash in the
streets to prison for 10 to 60 days.
Enforcement of this city law will be up to the municipal
City secretary Manuel Pérez told Tierramérica that
Mayor Delfino Natareno ''will personally present the
charges against anyone who litters before the municipal
''With so much garbage in the streets, it's disheartening
to go for a walk. The poor state of our streets is
embarrassing,'' he said.
Residents will have to pay one of the two garbage
collection companies, which make their rounds three
times a week, said the official.