18 de abril de 2019
Hispanic World

Environmental officials wage war on plastic containers in Galapagos Islands

Quito, Feb 12 (EFE).- The Galapagos Islands, the living laboratory where English scientist Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection, is making progress in its relentless struggle against a threat from the outside: plastic containers.

Quito, Feb 12 (EFE).- The Galapagos Islands, the living laboratory where English scientist Charles Darwin developed his theory of evolution by natural selection, is making progress in its relentless struggle against a threat from the outside: plastic containers.

Ocean currents carry plastics onto the eastern coasts of these islands, which is a "worrisome" situation, according to Galapagos National Park superintendent Jorge Carrion.

According to the brand names on containers found during the cleaning of beaches in the archipelago, the trash arrives from Peru, Chile, Central America "and (there is) a significant amount of waste with Asian brand labels," Carrion told EFE.

Although authorities do not know exactly how many tons of plastic might currently have accumulated along the islands' shorelines, Carrion recalled that in 2018 they collected 22 tons, while another 4.5 tons were picked just last week.

"We are now classifying the garbage, which is very, very detailed work," he said referring to the recent collection effort.

The municipality of Santa Cruz Island coordinates the transfer of collected waste that is in good condition and can be recycled to the Ecuadorian mainland, while the waste that cannot be recycled due to its being degraded by sunlight and salinity gets delivered to the sanitary landfill there.

In the Galapagos archipelago, located about 1,000 kilometers (roughly 620 miles) off the coast of Ecuador, expanded polyethylene materials and certain plastic bags have been banned since 2015, a prohibition that was later broadened to include plastic straws.

The fight against plastics could be ratcheted up further in March with a total ban on the use of non-returnable plastic containers for beverages.

"The aim is to clean all the coasts of the Galapagos, and in doing that we've come quite a ways in the fight against plastics," said Carrion, insisting that the plastics found on the archipelago's coasts do not come from local production activities.

As president pro tempore of the Eastern Tropical Pacific Marine Corridor (CMAR), Ecuador works to further dialogue with representatives of other countries to broaden the fight against plastics and it tries to prevent waste of this kind from getting into the ocean.

In Ecuador, work is progressing on devising a general strategy for the fight against plastics in the archipelago, famous for its high biodiversity and for being home to a number of unique species. For this reason, any precautionary measures to preserve the site are important.

Along with the Charles Darwin research station, Ecuador is developing a monitoring program to assess the threat posed by plastic as a potential transporter of species that could endanger native species in the Galapagos, named a World Heritage Site in 1978.

In this way, the presence of non-native species, which can float on plastic waste to the island's shores, can be detected early and action can be taken to reduce the probability of a secondary dispersion.

Experts have identified potential invasive species from Costa Rica and Chile that could reach the Galapagos via the ocean currents.

Thus, a preventative plan has been developed in case invasive species are detected in the area, but authorities are also collecting waste that can reach the archipelago in ships.

The Environment Ministry, working through the National Park and the Galapagos Biosecurity Agency, maintains strict monitoring of cargo and tourism vessels because "we have the obligation to ask (ships) to withdraw from the reserve" if contamination from them is found, Carrion said.

As part of its fight against pollution, 35,000 used tires were moved from the Galapagos to mainland Ecuador in 2012, and that process will be repeated as soon as the resolution for the transport of waste from the archipelago can be updated.

Just as in the clean-up along the coasts, Galapagos authorities are also developing communication strategies.

"We need to create environmental awareness among those who reside in the Galapagos and thus, little by little, we're going to be expanding this environmental awareness to mainland Ecuador and the whole world," Carrion said.

The National Park superintendent also said that the Galapagos must be an example not only in conservation issues but as a "form of sustainable living," and the population has responded "well" to the efforts to avoid the use of plastics, an enemy that knows no borders.

Histórico de noticias
Mexican gov't foils attempt by Cuban migrants to get to capital

Mexico City, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government on Thursday foiled an attempt by 300 Cuban migrants to reach this capital while keeping thousands of...

Special counsel finds that Trump tried to control investigation

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- President Donald Trump tried to influence Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the...

AG Barr says Trump did not commit obstruction of justice

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- Attorney General William Barr said Thursday ahead of the release of the special counsel's report on Russian interference in...

Brazilian inmates' creations to hit runway at Sao Paulo Fashion Week

Sao Paulo, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- A score of male inmates at one of Brazil's maximum-security prisons have been hard at work for months on creations set to...

Congress calls Mueller to testify on May 23

Washington, Apr 18 (efe-epa).- The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Jerrold Nadler, on Thursday called Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who had...

US government strengthens sanctions on Cuba

By Ivonne Malaver.

US Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke of Texas campaigns in Alexandria, Virginia, USA

Alexandria, USA, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke on Wednesday condemned racism in the highest positions of power in the...

Peru in shock over suicide of ex-President Alan Garcia

Lima, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The death Wednesday of former President Alan Garcia after he shot himself in the head as police arrived at his home to arrest him...

Firefighters battle wildfires in 18 Mexican states

Mexico City, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Ninety-five wildfires of different sizes are burning in 18 Mexican states and the authorities are attempting to control them...

US announces new sanctions on Venezuelan Central Bank

Miami, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The United States government will impose new sanctions on the Venezuelan Central Bank, which is the institution that is "keeping...

Peasants in Mexico seek alternatives to growing opium poppies

Chilpancingo, Mexico, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Peasants in the southern Mexican state of Guerrero who have long subsisted by growing opium poppies want to get out...

Uruguay theater bus presents comic reenactment of Paysandu history

By Raul Martinez

Guaido's envoy occupies Venezuela's OAS seat for first time

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Gustavo Tarre, the envoy appointed by opposition leader Juan Guaido, on Wednesday for the first time occupied Venezuela's...

Mexican gov't has cut p.r. spending by 50 pct., president says

Mexico City, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- The Mexican government published new guidelines for communications on Wednesday, with public advertising spending being cut...

Migration north of broad-winged hawks makes stopover in Colombia

By Claudia Polanco Yermanos

US to allow lawsuits against foreign companies operating in Cuba

Washington, Apr 17 (efe-epa).- Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the US government would invoke a measure for the first time that allows...

Former Peruvian President Garcia dies from self-inflicted gunshot

Lima, Apr 17 (epa-efe).- Former President Alan Garcia died Wednesday at a Lima hospital while undergoing surgery after shooting himself as Peruvian police...

Trump vetoes congressional resolution to end US involvement in Yemen war

Washington DC, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The president of the United States vetoed a resolution Tuesday passed by Congress calling on the US to withdraw military...

EU urges companies to counterattack US lawsuits on Cuba

Havana, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- European Union authorities on Tuesday committed themselves to protecting the interests of businessmen from the bloc in Cuba and...

Migrants crossing southern US border, turning selves in to authorities

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Central American migrant families are saying they made the decision to illegally cross the border into the United...

Deaths in Brazil building disaster reach 15

Sao Paulo, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The number of people confirmed dead after the collapse of a pair of four-story residential buildings in a militia-controlled...

Mexican singer Chavela Vargas honored on 100th anniversary of her birth

Mexico City, Apr 16 (EFE).- Mexican singer Chavela Vargas will be commemorated on the 100th anniversary of her birth as a woman who lived in a rebellious...

Red Cross: Electric generators in first humanitarian aid for Venezuela

Caracas, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The Venezuelan Red Cross on Tuesday announced the entry into the country of the first shipment of humanitarian aid, including...

Penitents in Atlixco, Mexico, prepare for painful Way of the Cross

Atlixco, Mexico, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- The penitents of this town in central Mexico are preparing for one of the country's most representative Stations of the...