segunda-feira, 5 de dezembro de 2011

Amazon honored in controversial contest

 Amazon honored in 
controversial contest
Deforestation, illegal logging, mining, oil drilling and drug-trafficking put region at risk
The Amazon rain forest and the Iguazu falls that straddle Argentina and Brazil were among the winners of the New 7 Wonders of Nature, but the contest sparked a controversy since it required a fee to enter.
Other winners announced on Nov. 11 included sites in the Philippines, South Africa, Vietnam Indonesia and South Korea.
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, or UNESCO, dismissed the contest in 2007 since it is for-profit, and does not include any conservation efforts or requirements for the winners.

The Amazon, with its 7 million square kilometers (2.7 million square miles), is one of the most biologically diverse regions on the planet, and is home to 54 percent of the Earth’s species. While the selection of the Amazon basin, which spans Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana and Venezuela, was cheered by some, others specialists thought the threats that the region is facing were not taken into account. Some 70 percent of the region is under oil and gas concessions. 
Jorge Agurto, of the Peruvian radio station La Voz de la Selva, or “The Voice of the Jungle,” said that there is a lot of ignorance about the Amazonian reality, since many people believe it is undiscovered, wild, free of people and even devoid of animals. 
This ignorance “explains the indiscriminate concession of hydrocarbon lots in protected areas and in indigenous territories, the lack of control and funding for environmental care, the rush to build large hydroelectric plants and the absence of the state to fight illegal logging, informal mining and drug-trafficking” that is leading to widespread deforestation and soil degradation.
Brazil is home to the largest portion of Amazon rainforests. These are under serious risk because of the growing agricultural and livestock farming belt as well as large-scale dams and infrastructure projects like the Belo Monte dam along the Xingu River, one of the Amazon River’s main tributaries. Environmentalists and scientists have warned that the plant would cause irreversible damage to the area’s fauna and flora as well as displacing thousands of indigenous people who live there.
On Nov. 9, a court in Brasilia rejected an injunction request to halt work on the project until indigenous residents are consulted. The US$11-billion project would generate 11,000 megawatts to supply Brazil’s growing population and industries. 

Fuente: Latinamerica Press

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