BRAZIL: Cultivating 'Clean'
RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil can already
produce tomatoes without agro-chemical residues, through
Tomatec, a production technique that was tested in
the planting of 12,000 tomato plants in Sao José do
Ubá, near Rio de Janeiro.
Analysis concluded in September proved the purity
of the tomatoes, a crop that is usually heavily treated
"Tomatec combines integrated management of pests,
drip irrigation, and sacks to cover the flowering
branches," José Ronaldo Macedo, coordinator of the
technique for the government's agricultural research
agency EMBRAPA, explained to Tierramérica.
The method does use agro-chemicals, but 60 percent
less than conventional cultivation, and only before
the plants flower. It reduces the loss of fruit to
one percent, conserves water and prevents soil erosion.
Although the cost of production is increased 20 percent,
it will tend to decline in the future, assures Macedo.
CHILE: 'No' to Road Through
SANTIAGO - Ecologists and residents
oppose the Chilean government’s decision to build
a 60-kilometer road through the center of Pumalín
Park nature sanctuary, in the country's 10th region,
instead of along its coastal border -- which is the
cheaper option and would have lesser environmental
"At stake is the conservation of Chilean ecosystems
versus a development model that has destroyed three-quarters
of the national territory," Juan Pablo Orrego, director
of the Ecosistemas group, told Tierramérica.
The owner of the park, U.S. multimillionaire Douglas
Tompkins, and environmentalists say the decision announced
Oct. 4 will only benefit the transnational corporation
Endesa and the local firm Colbún.
The government proposed that the route, which would
connect the cities of Puerto Montt and Chaitén, would
also include the transmission lines of four hydroelectric
dams that the two companies hope to build.
VENEZUELA: Veto Continues
CARACAS - Venezuela rejects use
of the insecticide DDT (dichloro-diphenyl-trichloroethane)
that was used to fight malaria-carrying mosquitoes
a half-century ago, "adopting the criteria that it
is toxic, non-biodegradable and accumulates in animal
tissue," said Jesús Toro, director of environmental
health at the Ministry of Health.
"It's a good decision and we hope that elimination
continues of the DDT inventories still held by 24
regional health delegations," María Eugenia Gil Beroes,
spokeswoman for the environmental group Aguaclara,
said in a Tierramérica interview.
According to the ecologist, the components of DDT
are very harmful because the affect the chemical functions
of the cell, causing cancer and fetal malformations.
For this reason her group has joined the demands that
the World Health Organization desist from recommending
even the limited use of DDT in fighting malaria.
URUGUAY: A Push for Biotech
MONTEVIDEO - The Pasteur Institute
of Montevideo, which will officially open its doors
Dec. 8, is trying to give a boost to biotechnology
in the countries of Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay,
Uruguay and Venezuela) and Chile, says executive director
Beginning Nov. 13, proposals will be accepted for
the pharmaceutical area, "both medical and veterinary,
to develop new diagnostic procedures and new medicines
based on recombinant technology," in this case using
the study of the human genome as the starting point,
Dighiero told Tierramérica.
This non-profit foundation, which has already invested
6.4 million dollars, was created by law in 2004, through
an agreement amongst the French and Uruguayan governments
and the Paris-based institute, and built with funds
reconverted from Uruguay's debt to France.
CARIBBEAN: Fewer Hurricanes
Predicted, But Risk Persists
HAVANA - The influence of the
climate phenomenon known as El Niño Southern Oscillation
(ENSO) makes it less likely that tropical cyclones
will form in the North Atlantic, but the risk is not
eliminated, warn Cuban meteorologists.
Maritza Ballester, who created the Cuban model for
predicting hurricanes, explained to Tierramérica that
the development of ENOS was very abrupt and fundamentally
affected the warming of the Pacific Ocean currents
along the coasts of Peru and Ecuador.
El Niño began to manifest in July, and Cuba maintained
its prediction of around 15 tropical cyclones in the
Atlantic Basin, nine of which could reach hurricane
category, with winds of 118 km/hour or more.
October is traditionally one of the most active months
of the hurricane season, which lasts from June to