Latin America Green News: Chile's first electric car, Costa Rica's corals, Mexico's corn and solar power for Peru's poorest
Posted July 19, 2013
Latin America Green News is a selection of weekly news highlights about environmental and energy issues in Latin America.
July 14-19, 2013
Chile’s first electric car, the Lufke car, will hit Chile’s city streets in October, giving consumers the option of driving a compact single-person car for US$ 8,946. One of the Lufke’s inventors, Daniel Pavez, points out that the innovation doesn’t generate noise or air pollution, and will lower fuel costs for owners. Interested buyers will be able to place orders for the car next month, with delivery in October, while the inventors look for seed funding for the second phase of production. (Santiago Times 7/17/2013)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration blocked the import of Chilean salmon from the major Chilean supplier Marine Harvest after detecting the presence of the chemical known as crystal violet. The Chilean organization Ecoceanos reported this development, as the chemical, which is used to remove fungal growth in the leather-tanning and salmon industries, is illegal in the U.S. for its carcinogenic effects. (La Nacion 7/17/2013)
Coral reefs in Costa Rica’s Papagayo Gulf are threatened by soil eroding from the construction site of the nearby Meliá Paradise Papagayo Bay Resort. The construction work was halted when it was found that the project had removed more soil than initially permitted by the local municipality and environmental agency. However, local residents and fishermen claim that great quantities of dirt that can impact the corals access to oxygen are eroding into the ocean due to a lack of preventive measures. (El Pais 7/15/2013
The levels of air pollution in Toluca Valley are registering similar levels to that of the Metropolitan zone and have exceeded 150 points 6 times in the first quarter of this year. The state’s Secretary of Environment, Cruz Juvenal Roa, stated that in November the Mario Molina Center will release a study assessing the reasons for this bad air quality. The results of the study will determine whether or not the “Hoy no Circula” program will be adopted in Toluca Valley. Juvenal Roa also confirmed the creation of a new Metropolitan Environmental commission, including states such as Hidalgo, Guerrero, Tlaxcala and Morelos, whose purpose would be to introduce new measures to protect the environment. (Yucatan.com 7/16/2013)
The largest glass and crystal producer in Mexico, Vitro Glass and Crystal, has been recognized by the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources for reducing its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Mexico has implemented the Mexican GHG Program which encourages companies, both private and public, to account for and report their greenhouse gas emissions, and create projects to help reduce them. Vitro reduced its greenhouse gas emissions by 6,051 tons in 2011 by using recycled glass during the glass melting process. The company received its award at the 2013 “Recognition of Mitigation Actions” event held in Mexico City on July 16, 2013. (El Semanario 7/18/2013)
Greenpeace and other local organizations are leading a “GMO-free corn” campaign with the goal of preventing companies like Monsanto, from planting genetically enhanced corn. The objective is to get 120,000 physical signatures and distribute a kit that will help anyone become an environmental activist. Since the Bio-Safety Law was passed, there have been 257 permits given to companies to cultivate this type of crop. Marco Antonio Ortiz Sala, of the Democratic Urban and Rural Coalition, hopes that this campaign will appeal to congress members, and they will take on this initiative against genetically enhanced crops. (El Siglo de Torreón, 7/17/2013).
Peru will rely on solar power to bring electricity to 2 million of its poorest citizens. Currently only 66% of Peruvians have access to electricity and the rest must burn oil lamps that negatively impact their health. The newly launched program to install approximately 12,500 solar systems will mean 95% the population will have access to a clean, modern energy source by 2016. (Planet Save 7/15/2013)