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South America Environment, Science &Technology, and Health Newsletter Edition 82

by webadmin last modified Jan 10, 2013 11:52 AM
Contributors: Larissa Stoner
The information contained was gathered from news sources from across the region, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect those of the Regional Environmental HUB Office or of our constituent posts. Addressees interested in sharing any ESTH-related events of USG interest are welcome to do so.
Agriculture: Crops Responsible for Deforestation in Brazil; Water Issues: Brazil: Flood Insurance Measured; Colombia Gets Serious About Desertification; Forests: Brazil: New Trees to Reclaim Amazon Lands; Long-Delayed Native Forest Bill Is Back On Track in Chile; Wildlife: Guyana: NGO Accessing Wai Wai Land for Biodiversity Protection; NGO and Bus Company Team Up Against Wildlife Trafficking; Uruguay: The Return of the Aguará-Guazú Wolf; Protected Areas: First Aerial Spraying In Park Roils Colombia; Science & Technology: New Body to Boost Science for Development in South; Scientists Set Sights on 'Green' Chemistry; Waste Management & Pollution: Brazil: Aluminum Can Recycling Record Remains Firm; Venezuela: Volunteers Clean Up 300 Beaches; Argentina: Scavengers Export Scrap; Chile: Indians Fight Garbage Dumps; Will Santiago’s Air Goals go Up in Smoke?; Climate Change: Bolivian Glaciers Receding Rapidly; Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Greenhouse Gas Law; US$3 Billion Pledged To Fight Climate Change; Brazil: Pesky El Niño Returns; Energy: Peru Liquefied Natural Gas: Progress and Challenges; Chile Promotes Energy Investment to North American Electric Companies; Biofuel Boom Sparks Environmental Fears; Argentina to Add Reactors in Energy-Supply Push; General: Brazil Greens See Tensions If President Lula Wins Second Term; Peru: Fossils Reveal Ancient Biodiversity; Canada Faces Pressure to Promote Sustainable Mining in Latin America; Crude-oil Spill in Ecuador’s Amazon Termed Intentional; Colombia: Dredging to Prevent Floods;

Agriculture

Crops Responsible for Deforestation in Brazil

 

SEPT. 05, 2006 - The Brazilian Amazon is increasingly being cleared to grow crops rather than for grazing cattle, making the process even more harmful to the environment, say researchers.  Over the course of a three-year study led by Ruth DeFries of the University of Maryland in the United States, clearing for cropland accounted for nearly one fifth of deforestation in one state of the Brazilian Amazon.  The results were published by Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  Using deforestation maps, field surveys and satellite data to follow what happened to large pieces of land cleared of rainforest in the state of Mato Grosso, the team found that an area over one third the size of Jordan — about 36,000 square kilometers — was cleared between 2001 and 2004 for large-scale mechanized agriculture.  Their findings define a "new paradigm of forest loss in Amazonia", although cattle pasture still remains the dominant land use, say the researchers.

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3081&language=1

 

Water Issues

Brazil: Flood Insurance Measured

 

SAO PAULO, Sep 25 - Researchers from the University of Sao Paulo have developed a method to estimate insurance costs for urban flooding, saying claims could eat up as much as 12 percent of the gross domestic product.  The new calculation technique combines data on rains, water flow and economic analyses of water basins to estimate the impact of these phenomena and optimize the management of resources invested in insurance.  "We are not out to compete with U.S. and European methodologies; we just want to establish excellent human resources in Brazil and the Americas, to adequately address the needs of society," Eduardo Mario Mendiondo, the study's coordinator, told Tierramerica.  The methodology has already been tested in an experimental urban watershed, and is currently being studied in similar basins in Sao Paulo and the northeast region of Brazil.  

Source - Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iecobreves.shtml

 

Colombia Gets Serious About Desertification 

SEPT. 2006 - The Colombian municipalities of Alpujarra and Dolores are slowly turning into desert.  Rainwater—when it comes—races through crevices down the foothills of the eastern Andean range, lost to human use.  Temperatures above 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius) bake a hard-crusted earth stripped of its tropical dry forests years ago by slash-and-burn agriculture.  Conditions for many of the 5,000 peasant farmers of the two municipalities, which are located in the central department of Tolima, are so dire that crop cultivation is impossible.  Impoverished, they subsist instead on livestock in a bleak landscape of cactus and thorn forest.  When Colombia’s government decided last year to develop pilot projects to address desertification, one of them was earmarked for Alpujarra and Dolores.  Dozens of families in the area have received training and resources to practice agro-forestry, silvopastoral production and reservoir construction.  The hope is that the pilot project, which ends in November, will prompt more extensive efforts in the coming years, says Consuelo Carvajal, coordinator of the project for Cortolima, Tolima Department’s environmental authority.

 Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Forests

Brazil: New Trees to Reclaim Amazon Lands

SEPT. 27, 2006 - A Brazilian state intends to make cattle ranchers reforest land which they have cleared for grazing.  The government of Acre in the Amazon has established a nursery growing seedlings of species such as mahogany which they will issue to ranchers.  Ranchers may be made to reforest up to 30% of their land.  The government sees this as a vital component of its long-term aim to develop sustainable forestry as a key income generator for the state.  Until a decade ago, private landowners were allowed to deforest 50% of their land. Now legislation has amended the figure to 80%; but many ranchers have not replanted at all.

Source – BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5361840.stm

 

Long-Delayed Native Forest Bill Is Back On Track in Chile

SEPT. 2006 - The Chilean Agriculture Ministry has reached agreement on a native-forest conservation bill with the timber lobby, environmental groups and other forestland stakeholders.  The administration of new Chilean President Michelle Bachelet has re-introduced the legislation, called the Native Forest Recovery and Forest Development Law, in Congress amid signs the measure will win passage this year.  The bill reflects core ideas on which the various stakeholders could agree.  Among these is that Chile must encourage—through subsidies and other means—sustainable native-forest management among small- and medium-sized landowners.  Controversial issues that have derailed previous iterations of the native-forest bill were sidelined from the talks and will be taken up in separate bills.  These include the replacement of native forest with tree plantations, making an independent park service and the use of legal loopholes to log certain tree species that have been declared national monuments. 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Wildlife

Guyana: NGO Accessing Wai Wai Land for Biodiversity Protection 

OCT. 03, 2006 - Conservation International will lead a scientific expedition into unexplored areas in southern Guyana beginning Oct. 03 to accesses the value of the area for biodiversity protection.  For a month, the team headed by Dr Piotr Naskrecki, and including Smithsonian Institute scientists and three residents of the Wai Wai community, which owns the land, will set up camp in the area and closely follow the species living there.

Source - Stabroek News http://www.stabroeknews.com/index.pl/article?id=56505119

 

Uruguay: The Return of the Aguará-Guazú Wolf 

SEPT. 18, 2006 - The reappearance in Uruguay of an "aguará-guazú", or maned wolf (Chrysocyon brachyurus), the first one sighted here in 16 years, could help finance a study of this species.  The animal, which is more closely related to foxes than to wolves, was killed by hunters in the eastern department of Cerro Largo, and taken in mid-September to the Museum of Natural History and Anthropology in Montevideo, where it was being prepared for study.  Museum director Arturo Toscano told Tierramerica that efforts are being made, alongside the Ministry of Agriculture, to obtain financing for research, which would include a search for more maned wolves in Cerro Largo.  In Uruguay, the last aguará-guazú, which can weigh 40 kilograms and inhabits several South American countries, was seen in 1990 in the western department of Rio Negro.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0916/iecobreves.shtml

 

NGO and Bus Company Team Up Against Wildlife Trafficking 

AUG. 03, 2006 – Brazilian NGO RENCTAS and Bus Company Itapemirim have launched the second phase of an educational campaign to stop illegal wildlife trafficking, which will last until the end of 2006.  Using the slogan “Wildlife Trafficking: don’t fall into this trap”, the campaign hopes to reach the population in general as well as Itapemirim’s 16,000 employees.  Several posters will be hung near Itapemirim ticket booths and will be published in a monthly magazine produced by the bus company – 300,000 copies a month.  The magazine will also carry games such as puzzles and memory games, which were designed to reach the children as well.

Source – RENCTAS http://www.renctas.org.br/pt/informese/renctas_brasil_detail.asp?id=316

 

Protected Areas

First Aerial Spraying In Park Roils Colombia

SEPT. 2006 - After a guerrilla land mine last month killed six laborers working to manually uproot coca plants in Sierra de la Macarena National Park, Colombian and U.S. spray planes swept over the park, destroying 4,400 acres (1,800 has) of coca in five days and infuriating environmentalists and media commentators alike.  The spraying operation, which used a potent herbicide mixture sold by Monsanto, made Colombia the first nation in the world to aerially spray drug crops in a national park.  Critics say such spraying threatens the park system’s immense biodiversity.  The decision to begin chemically spraying the 1.56-million-acre (630,000-ha) Macarena National Park came after an eight-month attempt at manual eradication that destroyed nearly 75% of the coca in the Macarena, but left 35 eradicators, police and army soldiers dead from guerrilla land mines.  Juan Lozano, Colombia’s minister of environment, housing and territorial development, has tried to calm the uproar over the Macarena spraying by telling the press that the decision to spray in the Macarena was “exceptional.” He has indicated that there are no plans to spray in other parks. 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Science & Technology

New Body to Boost Science for Development in South

SEPT. 27, 2006 - The foreign ministers of 131 developing nations have backed plans to transform a network of science ministries, academies and research councils into a new body to promote science-based development.  The Consortium on Science, Technology and Innovation for the South (COSTIS) will replace the existing Third World Network of Scientific Organizations (TWNSO).  The decision was made 22 September in New York City, United States, at the annual meeting of foreign ministers of the 131 member states of the so-called Group of 77 (G-77).  The move is intended to put science and technology closer to the heart of economic-development policy.  COSTIS will focus on organizing South-South forums on developing appropriate and affordable technologies in sectors such as energy and water.

COSTIS will seek funding from governments in the North and South, as well as international donors and foundations. It is set to be fully operational by January 2007.

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/News/index.cfm?fuseaction=readNews&itemid=3120&language=1

 

Scientists Set Sights on 'Green' Chemistry

SEPT. 23, 2006 - A green chemical revolution is underway that promises to be environmentally sustainable and profitable while reducing the risks of industrial disasters like the Bhopal, India gas leak in 1984.  "Green chemistry" has already turned maize into biodegradable plastics, developed non-toxic solvents and dramatically reduced the toxic byproducts from the manufacture of popular pharmaceuticals like ibuprofen.  It is vital to the production of Toyota's new electric cars, made in part from kenaf, an annual grass plant.  "Green chemistry is about developing new products and processes which actually fit the 'triple' bottom line of environmental, economic and social sustainability," said Robin Rogers, a researcher and director of the University of Alabama's Center for Green Manufacturing.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iacentos.shtml

 

Waste Management & Pollution

Brazil: Aluminum Can Recycling Record Remains Firm  

Sept. 25, 2006 - In 2005 Brazil recycled 96.2 percent of its used aluminum cans, making it the world's leader in this activity for the fifth year in a row, according to the Brazilian Aluminum Association (ABAL).  Japan followed with 91.7 percent, while the United States and the European Union trailed with can recycling levels of only 52 percent, said ABAL during an international seminar in the southeastern state of Sao Paulo.  "Organizing the market at all points of the chain in the early 1990s was key to Brazil's success," ABAL’s Recycling Coordinator, Jose Roberto Giosa, told Tierramerica.  The collection system also has a large social impact, providing a source of income for 520,000 informal collectors and street garbage vendors.  

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iecobreves.shtml

 

Venezuela: Volunteers Clean Up 300 Beaches  

SEPT. 18, 2006 - Some 20,000 volunteers took part in a beach clean-up Sep. 16 in Venezuela, targeting 300 areas along the Caribbean, as well as around lakes and riverbanks, coinciding with the end of school vacation.  "We also classify and inventory the garbage we collect.  The experiences of recent years indicate that the waste associated with tourism, especially plastics, are the main pollutants of our beaches," Maury Marcano, spokesman for the initiative, organized by the Foundations for the Defense of Nature, told Tierramerica ahead of the clean-up.  Last year, thousands of volunteers on 179 beaches collected 755,000 kilos of waste in 13,400 garbage bags.  The annual beach clean-up is financed by big Venezuelan private companies.  

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0916/iecobreves.shtml

 

Argentina: Scavengers Export Scrap

SEPT. 25 - By the end of the September, the Argentine ecological cooperative Reciclando Sueños (Recycling Dreams) will have sent another two shipments to Spain, each containing 25,000 kilograms of scrap iron.  The cooperative, made up of southern zone "cartoneros" (informal scrap collectors) and some of Buenos Aires's poorest residents, is a pioneer in exporting scrap for recycling.  In April the co-op sent its first shipment of 25 tons of scrap to the Interrecicla steel mill, which manufactures tools in the Spanish city Bilbao.  The collectors receive approximately 130 dollars per exported ton, on which they have to pay a tax of almost 40 percent to the Argentine government.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iecobreves.shtml

 

Chile: Indians Fight Garbage Dumps

SEPT. 18 - A dozen representatives of indigenous Mapuche communities in Chile's Araucania region charged that they are the target of racism and discrimination by the authorities who set up 19 garbage dumps less than one kilometer from their homes.  The Mapuche Indians say the foul odors and the smoke from burning garbage have caused respiratory problems.  Furthermore, the dumps have attracted packs of dogs, and led to the appearance of larvae in livestock, particularly hogs, that causes trichinosis in humans.  The Mapuche leaders gathered in the city of Temuco to draw up strategies for getting rid of the dumps.  Alejandra Parra, of the non-governmental Action Network for Environmental Rights, told Tierramerica that a prompt solution is unlikely, which is why they will file a complaint of racism before an international organization, yet to be determined.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0916/iecobreves.shtml

 

Will Santiago’s Air Goals go Up in Smoke? 

SEPT. 2006 - Six years ago, Chile’s National Environment Commission (Conama) hailed the progress being made against air pollution in the Chilean capital.  Thanks to the implementation of stricter standards in key areas including vehicle fuels and industrial emissions, air-quality indicators had improved markedly.  Conama stated confidently that by 2005, Santiago would no longer have to face extraordinary steps such as mandatory bad-air-day curbs on automobile circulation, industrial activity and school sports.  The forecast, however, proved wrong.  Last year, metropolitan Santiago’s regional government was forced to declare two “environmental pre-emergency” days on account of elevated airborne particulate concentrations.  And on Aug. 2, authorities announced this year’s third pre-emergency, after concentrations of PM10—particulates of up to 10 microns in diameter—had reached “critical” levels.  As part of the pre-emergency, officials prohibited more than 130,000 cars from circulating on Santiago roads, designated seven major city avenues for the exclusive use of public transport, temporarily banned emissions at 552 industrial sites, prohibited the use of residential chimneys and redoubled efforts to scrub particulate matter from Santiago streets.  And throughout the city, schools halted physical-education classes and canceled sporting events.  Such experiences underscore an unfortunate fact: despite its early success in improving air quality, Santiago has made little anti-smog headway since 2000.  The World Health Organization still ranks it as one of the globe’s 10 most polluted cities.  When asked why this is so, air-quality experts, government officials and environmentalists cite many factors.  Among the most important, they say, are timid and poorly funded air-quality efforts in recent years, the region’s continued growth and the dictates of geography.

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)

Climate Change

Bolivian Glaciers Receding Rapidly

OCT. 03, 2006 - Bolivian glaciers are receding so rapidly, say scientists, that most could disappear within the next ten to 15 years, with alarming implications for potable water and hydroelectric energy supplies.  Scientists tie the last two decades' acceleration in glacial melt to the greater intensity and frequency of El Nino events, which in turn are linked to gradually rising global temperatures.  GOB officials are aware of the glaciers' recession but appear ill-equipped to cope with what may be serious consequences. 

Source - LA PAZ   00002674

 

Schwarzenegger Signs Landmark Greenhouse Gas Law 

SEPT. 27, 2006 - In a move backers hope will change the U.S. approach to the problem of global warming, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law aimed at reducing the state's greenhouse gas emissions.  "We have begun a bold new era of environmental protection here in California that will change the course of history," the Republican governor said.  The measure passed by the Democratic- led Legislature last month caps the state's man-made greenhouse gas emissions.  The most populous U.S. state seeks to reduce its emissions to 1990 levels by 2020, a cut of about 25 percent. 

Source – Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com

 

US$3 Billion Pledged To Fight Climate Change

SEPT. 22, 2006 - British entrepreneur Richard Branson has committed what could amount to US$3 billion to research into renewable energies in possibly the largest-ever personal donation to fight climate change.  He made the announcement 21 September at the Clinton Global Initiative, a three-day meeting of philanthropists in New York, United States.  Branson will invest all the personal gains he makes from his airline and train companies over the next 10 years into finding non-polluting sources of energy, an amount which he estimated could come to US$3 billion.  Earlier this month, on 10 September, Branson's company Virgin announced the launch of a new subsidiary company, Virgin Fuels, which will invest up to US$400 million in renewable energy initiatives over the next three years.

Source – SciDev http://www.scidev.net/content/news/eng/us3-billion-pledged-to-fight-climate-change.cfm

 

Brazil: Pesky El Niño Returns

SEPT. 18, 2006 - The cyclical climate phenomenon known as El Niño will return at the end of the year, but will lack the strong intensity if had in 1997-1998, when it triggered droughts and devastating fires in Brazil, say meteorologists.  It will tend to be "moderate" in comparison because the surface waters of the equatorial Pacific Ocean will be two to four degrees warmer than average, Epedito Gomes Rebello, a researcher at the National Institute of Meteorology, told Tierramerica.  This is predictable because the water currents at a depth of 100 meters are already four degrees warmer, he said.  As a result of the ocean's interaction with the atmosphere there will be drought in the northern Amazon and in northeast Brazil while there will be heavier rains in the south.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0916/iecobreves.shtml

 

Energy

Peru Liquefied Natural Gas: Progress and Challenges

SEPT. 29, 2006 - The Peru Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project is proceeding apace, bringing gas from the Camisea gas fields through to pipeline to LNG plant and marine terminal on Peru's coastline.  A 2010 export target should deliver $200 million in GOP revenues and community projects per year, with annual exports of four million metric tons of liquefied natural gas, potentially worth a billion dollars.  President Alan Garcia has publicly expressed full support for this project, in which U.S. company Hunt Oil is the operator with a 50 percent share.  There is little Peruvian opposition to the LNG project but continuing complaints about Camisea.  At a September 27 Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) public forum, civil society and GOP speakers noted the economic importance of Peru LNG.  There were no concerns raised about Paracas Bay.  NGO critics focused on rupture risks of the Camisea liquids pipeline (which will also carry Peru LNG liquids) and social impacts on the indigenous residents near the gas fields and pipeline.  Project implementers said they are addressing these concerns by working to ensure the pipeline's integrity and improve their work with indigenous communities. 

 Source - LIMA 00003896

 

Chile Promotes Energy Investment to North American Electric Companies

Sept. 22, 2006 - With pressures mounting to address Chile’s looming energy crisis, both the government and Chilean energy distributors have set their sights on North American electric companies.  Chile’s first energy “road show” began Sept. 20 in New York City, where President Michelle Bachelet and Energy and Mining Minister Karen Poniachik met with Wall Street analysts and industry leaders from Chile and the United States.  The seminar, called “Business and Investment Opportunities in Chile's Energy Sector,” aimed to show North American electric companies that “Chile is a great place to invest in,” said Bachelet.  The bait is no less than US$10 billion in energy deals to supply the country with 5,000 MW, a plan authorized by the national Energy Security Policy (PSE) and destined to make the country energy independent by 2008.
Source – Santiago Times (no link)

 

Biofuel Boom Sparks Environmental Fears

SEPT. 18, 2006 - The use of biofuels is on the rise in Latin America and is feeding dreams of abundance in countries like Argentina and Colombia.  But the experience of Brazil, a pioneer in this alternative energy, raises questions about their potential negative environmental consequences.  With ethanol and biodiesel as a springboard, Brazil's President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva aims to turn his country into an energy superpower -- in contrast to the 1970s when the Brazilian economy was thrashed by its dependence on oil imports and its dramatic price hikes.  But environmentalists warn that although biofuels reduce emissions of greenhouse gases (which lead to global climate change), they could also trigger a massive expansion of the biofuel crops, pushing the agricultural frontier deeper into the forests, destroying habitat and biodiversity.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0916/iacentos.shtml

 

Argentina to Add Reactors in Energy-Supply Push

SEPT. 2006 - Argentina’s oil and natural gas supplies are not keeping pace with the country’s 8% annual growth, leading some experts here to predict a national energy crisis next year or the following.  Worried about the prospect, the government has launched a series of initiatives aimed at increasing power generation—in the process creating a welter of environmental tradeoffs.  The most controversial such step was President Nestor Kirchner’s announcement in August of a US$3.5 billion, eight-year investment to boost Argentina’s nuclear-power capacity.  Kirchner says the funds would be used to complete construction of the country’s long-delayed third atomic power station, begin feasibility studies on a fourth nuclear plant and resume enriched-uranium production, which was suspended two decades ago.  The two atomic power stations in operation—Atucha I and Embalse—have an installed capacity of 1,000 megawatts (MW).  The third plant, Atucha II, would bring the total nuclear-power capacity to 1,745 MW, the government says.  Many environmentalists oppose an expanded nuclear sector, but their warnings have been all but drowned out amid widespread concern about power shortages.  [Meanwhile] some who might be assumed to oppose nuclear power support Kirchner’s plan.

 Source – EcoAmericas (for complete article please contact Larissa Stoner)

General

Brazil Greens See Tensions If President Lula Wins Second Term 

SEPT. 29, 2006 - With his leftist credentials and background as a factory worker in polluted Sao Paulo, environmentalists had high hopes of Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva when he took office in 2003.  But the results are mixed.  Plans for controversial hydroelectric damns in the Amazon to feed power-hungry cities and continued deforestation contrast with the creation of state-protected reserves now covering 10 percent of the rainforest.  A World Wildlife Fund study found Brazil could meet its electricity needs through 2020 with renewable resources and conservation -- and save 33 billion reais ($15 billion). "Brazil needs to stop looking at the environment as a problem and start seeing it as a solution," said Denise Hamu, secretary general of the World Wildlife Fund in Brazil.  "I have some good things to say, but it's mixed with frustration. There's a lot of work to be done," said Ana Cristina Barros, who heads the Nature Conservancy in Brazil. 

Source – Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com

 

Peru: Fossils Reveal Ancient Biodiversity 

SEPT. 23, 2006 - The discovery of an amber deposit formed in the Peruvian Amazon during the Miocene era proves that the region's rich biological diversity dates back some 16 million years.  The insects found fossilized in the amber -- wasps, weevils, flies, tiny mites and even a spider caught in its own web -- belong to 13 different families, compelling evidence of the region's rich biodiversity during the middle Miocene.  In contrast, today's average garden hosts insects from a mere three families.  This discovery disproves the theory that the Amazon's biodiversity developed only after the Miocene period, following the last ice age (approximately 10 million years ago).  The discovery also suggests that biological evolution in what is now modern-day South America occurred separately from similar processes in North America, given that during the middle Miocene the current subcontinent was an isolated land mass.  The Central American isthmus has bridged the two hemispheres only for the last three million years.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iarticulo.shtml


Canada Faces Pressure to Promote Sustainable Mining in Latin America

SEPT. 23, 2006 - Civil society activists want the Canadian government to impose mandatory human rights and environmental standards on Canadian mining and oil companies operating in Latin America and other developing regions.  In the past decade Canada has been the world's biggest investor in the hunt for valuable metals and minerals in Latin America, Jamie Kneen of Mining Watch told Tierramerica.  Canadian miners are responsible for environmental contamination and human rights violations all over Latin America, he says.   Canada has nearly 60 percent of the mining and exploration companies in the world; they generate more than 40 billion dollars annually, representing about four percent of Canada's GDP.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0923/iacentos2.shtml


Crude-oil Spill in Ecuador’s Amazon Termed Intentional

SEPT. 2006 - A 500-barrel oil spill last month in the Cuyabeno Wildlife Reserve, located in the Ecuadorian Amazon, is being described by authorities as the result of a deliberate attack on a well operated by Petroecuador, the state oil company.  The Aug. 18 spill occurred following the rupture of a secondary pipeline that routes crude from the Petroecuador well, called Cuyabeno 8, to a production station.  Officials say the break was not an accident, and they are conducting an investigation to determine who is responsible for it.  Under Ecuador law, government-sanctioned mining and oil-development activity can be conducted in protected areas.  The Cuyabeno reserve, created in 1979, covers more than 1.5 million acres (600,000 has) in the provinces of Sucumbios and Orellana.  One of 27 protected areas in Ecuador, it is home to 493 bird species, 165 mammalian species, 91 varieties of reptile, 96 amphibian species and 475 types of fish.  Human inhabitants include members of the Siona, Secoya, Cofan, Quichua, Shuar and Achuar indigenous groups.  Late last month, Environment Ministry personnel inspected five of the reserve’s interconnected lakes and confirmed that the spilled oil had reached all of them after entering the Cuyabeno Chico River 

Source – EcoAmericas (please contact Larissa Stoner for complete article)


Colombia: Dredging to Prevent Floods

AUG. 26, 2006 - Authorities from the town of Monteria, in the northern Colombian department of Cordoba, will begin dredging and rehabilitation work in September on La Caimanera channel.  The initiative is part of a 4.2 million-dollar project to mitigate the effects of flooding from the Sinu River, which in 2005 left more than 3,000 families homeless.  The secretary of municipal infrastructure, Juan Carlos Mendez, told Tierramerica that the last legal steps are being carried out to begin work, which includes reforestation of both banks of the channel.  According to Carlos Martinez, of the Farmers' Association of Cordoba, the efforts begun in 2005 have produced immediate results.

Source – Tierramerica http://tierramerica.net/english/2006/0826/iecobreves.shtml

 

 

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