MEXICO CITY, Feb 8 (Tierramérica).- Fans of cycling are applauding the launch on Feb. 15 of a program to promote bicycle use in one area of the Mexican capital, but they are asking the city government for more support for this transportation alternative.
"It's a step in the right direction, but there should be an integrated strategy so that there is an institutionalized program," Areli Carreón told Tierramérica. She is president of the board of the non-governmental organization Bicitekas, dedicated to promoting cycling.
The left-leaning Mexico City government will launch the EcoBici program, with its 84 bike stations and 1,114 bicycles, through which people can rent them for a half-hour, any day of the year, for 23 dollars annually.
In the metropolitan area, home to 20 million people, 22 million commutes occur each day, of which just one percent are on bicycle.
Buenos Aires 'Lung' Threatened
BUENOS AIRES, Feb 8 (Tierramérica).- Without management or a budget, the most important public park in the Argentine capital is falling apart, due to the increase in its commercial use.
The February Third Park, popularly known as "forests of Palermo," has shrunk from 700 hectares in 1920 to 200 hectares today, of which just 130 are freely accessible. The rest is occupied by businesses, not all of which are legal, says a neighborhood group.
"It is a jewel of a landscape that is increasingly degraded. There is no budget and there is no one managing it. There is just a company that cuts the grass and collects the trash," Osvaldo Guerrica, president of the Friends of the Palermo Lake Association, told Tierramérica.
The group has reported mistakes in signage, illegal advertising and indiscriminate planting, and said that the only resolutions that are kept are those that allow the commercial use of the park.
Naturally Protected Foods
RIO DE JANEIRO, Feb 8 (Tierramérica).- A natural film has many advantages over plastic sheets that it can replace in protecting food, especially fruit. The film is made of edible material, from proteins extracted from maize, wheat and other plants.
The coating slows the loss of moisture and oxidation, lengthening the foods' shelf life.
For fruits shipped over long distances, "the reduction of losses compensates any costs" of the product, Rubens Bernardes Filho, of the Brazilian agricultural research agency Embrapa, told Tierramérica.
Research continues, because each food requires a different coating to maintain its properties over time. Protecting fruits from the Amazon is one goal.
The aim is also to make use of agroindustrial residues, like sorghum, to bring down the cost of raw materials, said Bernardes, one of the researchers at the Embrapa unit where the product was developed.
Organics at a Global Fair
TEGUCIGALPA, Feb 8 (Tierramérica).- Seven companies, most of them consisting of peasant and indigenous farmers, will represent Honduras at BioFach 2010, an international fair of organic products taking place Feb. 17-20 in Nuremberg, Germany.
The initiative, promoted by the Foundation for Export Investment and Development, is part of a regional drive to open Europe's doors to small and medium enterprise in Latin America, explained director Velma Sierra.
Also part of the effort are Swiss international cooperation and the A1 Invest IV Program, promoted by the European Union, as well as financial backing from Ecomercados, which supports similar projects in other Latin American projects, Sierra said.
Representing Honduras will be cooperatives of Lenca Indians, organic farmers, and groups dedicated to producing shrimp and organic coffee, among other products. *Source: Inter Press Service.
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