MEXICO CITY, (Tierramérica).- Some 600 girls and boys from 100 countries will take part in an international environmental conference in July in the United States, where they will discuss global problems, present proposals and demand answers from the adult world.
"It will be the largest meeting of its kind ever," says Catalina Saravia, spokeswoman for the non-governmental Organization for Education and Environmental Protection of Colombia, which alongside the Mexico-based regional office of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), is promoting Latin American participation in the event.
The kids will have five days, Jul. 19-23, in the northeastern city of New London, to debate issues related to oceans, rivers and wetlands, endangered flora and fauna, indigenous communities, environmental practices and energy policy.
No Sign of Environmental Report
BUENOS AIRES, (Tierramérica).- The Argentine Environment and Natural Resources Foundation asked the government for the official environmental report for 2003, which should have been published in November but has yet to appear.
A source from the foundation told Tierramérica that it is not charging that the report was never written, but an explanation for the failure to publish it is needed.
The foundation admits it made the request to "put to the test" the new law on public access to environmental information. Although the details of the legislation have not been laid out, the law is in force and recognizes anyone's right to request and receive information from the state and even from private companies that provide public services.
The responses must be made free of charge and within 30 days of the request, or refused, but with a well-founded explanation.
Proposals for Garbage Crisis
BARANQUILLA, Colombia, (Tierramérica).- The Regional Autonomous Corporation, regional environmental authority for the Colombian department Atlántico, proposed construction of three landfills to remedy the crisis arising from poor management of solid waste.
Thonny Palencia, director of the corporation, told Tierramérica on May 17 that an adequate waste management policy requires landfills to handle the garbage from the north of the department, another for the central area, and a third for the south.
The agency reports that daily solid waste output in the department reaches 2,200 tons, and 39 percent of it is not handled properly. Nationwide, Colombia produces 26,000 tons of garbage a day.
Military Guards Nature Park
GUATEMALA CITY, (Tierramérica).- Sixty soldiers from the Guatemalan army will back 50 agents of the National Civil Police (PNC) in fighting vandals and drug traffickers who threaten the Laguna del Tigre National Park, located in the northern department of El Petén.
The military will provide support for the PNC, who belong to the Nature Protection Service and are specialized in environmental protection, police spokesman Faustino Sánchez told Tierramérica.
The contingent was dispatched on May 13, the day Congress approved 625,000 dollars this year and 375,000 for the next to protect the national park's resources, lawmaker Alfredo Cojtí told Tierramérica.
Approval of the funds was decided after receiving numerous reports that lumber and drug traffickers were destroying the park, which covers 290,000 hectares and holds many endemic species, and has been a protected area since 1990.
A Call to Ban Asbestos Use
LIMA, (Tierramérica).- Three civil society groups asked the Peruvian Congress on May 17 to ban the use of asbestos in industrial processes after a press conference in which they presented four former employees of an auto parts factory who suffer asbestosis.
In the manufacture and use of asbestos -- a non-combustible mineral fiber -- a dust can be produced that is carcinogenic and cause of other diseases. The World Health Organization recommends against the use of asbestos.
The Peruvian Ministry of Health bans asbestos use in tanks or filters, but the fiber is a component of many other products.
The Association Against Asbestos, the Peruvian Consumers and Users Association and the Citizens Forum for Life reported 91 recorded cases of people affected by asbestosis and 34 lung cancer cases among workers who handled asbestos. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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