Around the Region

Murder in Ecuador prompts call for halt to oil operation

A murder in the Ecuadorian Amazon, presumed to have been committed by members of an indigenous group living in voluntary isolation, has prompted calls for a halt to oil production near a prized national park. The killing occurred on Jan. 25, when a member of the Waorani indigenous group, Caiga Lincaye Baihua, and his wife Tweñeme were attacked with spears as they traveled by canoe along the Shiripuno River in Yasuní National Park. Baihua died and his wife was wounded in the attack, which occurred in a portion of the park subject to the most stringent environmental protections. The Alejandro Labaka Foundation, an Ecuadorian nonprofit, called on the national ministries of hydrocarbons, environment and justice to halt development of an oilfield near Yasuní called Campo...

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Mangrove destruction challenged in Mexico

A district court in Cancún has ordered Mexico’s national tourism board to halt the destruction of 145 acres (59 hectares) of mangroves, handing a victory—for the moment—to activists who have fought to save the wetland. The court’s injunction, published Feb. 3, came too late to prevent government excavators from cutting down red, white and button mangrove (rhizophora mangle, laguncularia racemosa and conocarpus erecta) in the Malecón Tajamar area of Cancún during the early hours of Jan. 16. However, it stops the tourism board, Fonatur, from further cutting and from filling in the wetland, which lies on the edge of Cancún city on the Nichuptée lagoon and lost an estimated 85% of its mangroves. A court must make a final decision about use of...

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New waste-reduction accord being implemented in Brazil

Brazilian businesses have launched an effort to recycle progressively more of the packaging used for their products, a move aimed at complying with a 2010 national law aimed at reducing the volume of trash being sent to the country’s landfills. Under an agreement signed with the Environment Ministry last November and being implemented now, 20 business associations have set a first-stage goal of reducing the flow of packaging to landfills by 22% in Brazil’s 12 largest cities by December 2017. The associations represent manufacturers, importers and retail distributors of goods ranging from beverages and vegetable oils to cosmetics and paint. Its members will facilitate the recycling of packaging made of metal, glass, plastic, cardboard and other materials by setting up collection and recycling centers...

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