Thursday, December 10, 2015

MAP News Issue 379 - Dec. 12, 2015

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PREVIEW VERSION
The MAP News
379th Edition                                Dec 12, 2015

FEATURE STORY

Mining dam burst in Brazil causing catastrophic consequences to environment and people
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BRAZIL - Already classified as the worst environmental disaster in Brazil, a mining dam of iron ore rejects burst on November 5th, 2015 at Mariana, Minas Gerais state. The responsible for the mining activities is Samarco, a joint venture of Vale from Brazil and Anglo-Australian company BHP Billiton. People lost their homes, their family, their life and we lost biodiversity. 30 days later, nothing much was done by Samarco to remediate the tragedy. The village called Bento Rodrigues with 600 people was dragged and covered by the mud "tsunami" of 55 millions of cubic meters of rejects (55 billions of liters or 14.5 billions of gallons) released after the iron ore mine dam collapse. Most of the buildings are lost, more than 500 people lost their homes, several lives were taken. 13 people died, including two kids, and 8 are still missing. A painful tragedy that no words can describe. READ MORE

AFRICA

MAP visits Africa to participate in conservation and restoration
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SENEGAL - Last September, Ibrahima THIAM, Regional Director the International Union for Conservation of Nature invited Mangrove Action Project (MAP) executive director Alfredo Quarto to attend a special workshop in Dakar, Senegal organized by Wetlands International in partnership with (IUCN) from 05-06 October 2015. The workshop involved the Regional Mangrove Program under the aegis of the Marine Conservation in Western Africa whose purpose was to contribute to the conservation of mangrove ecosystems through the development of a vast and ambitious program involving international practitioners and decision makers with expertise in mangrove conservation and restoration. Alfredo was invited to present on MAP’s projects and efforts, where he emphasized two important tools that MAP hoped to share with others at the workshop, namely MAP’s Marvelous Mangrove Curriculum and our Community-Base Ecological Mangrove Restoration workshops.  We were in dialogie with Mr. Thiam about the potential use of these two programs in W. Africa, beginning with a possible joint program in Guinea Bissau, where abandoned rice field that had originally been established in mangrove areas might be restored back to mangroves. Since WI, Africa is involved in something called "green schools", where teachers introduce school kids to ecology issues, MAP hopes that our Curriculum could be a great boost for their efforts. READ MORE

Volunteers needed in Gambia
GAMBIA – The GEPADG is a non-profit NGO based in Gunjur in Gambia who have many years of experience in working with international volunteers. They work to achieve long-term, sustainable solutions to poverty in The Gambia through reversing the current destruction of forests, mangroves and coastal ecosystems. They are always working on different projects and volunteers can choose which areas they are most interested in. Areas include: turtle monitoring; tree planting exercises; mangrove regeneration; environmental health and sanitation; village  general cleansing; beach sweeping; workshops/conferences; Beekeeping; Women vegetable gardening; community forestry scheme; bird watching and bush walk/patrolling, Sales and marketing, Office and Computer work and community health. Volunteers also work at the local clinics and pharmacies, Biodiversity Conservation, Eco-tourism activities and tourist guided tours within the nature reserve. This normally happens between October and November each year and tree planting exercises and Mangrove regeneration projects occur between June and August. Turtle monitoring is between June and November each year. The rest of the activities are ongoing. READ MORE
 
ASIA

Coal plant threatens world's largest mangrove forest - and Bangladesh's future
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BANGLADESH - As COP21 reaches its endgame, there are plans to build 2,440 coal-fired power plants around the world, write Mowdud Rahman & Greig Aitken. Their completion would send global temperatures, and sea levels, soaring. Yet Bangladesh, the world's most 'climate vulnerable' large country, has plans for a 1.3GW coal power plant on the fringes of its World Heritage coastal wetlands. If operations should ever start at Rampal, it's estimated that it will be burning 4.72 million tons of coal per year - that's not only bad news for the climate but will also require a major spike in cargo shipping right through very vulnerable ecosytems. The most stark warning has come from Climate Action Tracker which, in The Coal Gap briefing paper, identifies a staggering 2,440 coal-fired power plants planned globally, both in emerging economies as a suggested means of meeting rapidly increasing electricity demand and also in many states across the EU to replace existing capacity. READ MORE

MAP-Asia hosted partners from Asia at the final project seminar
THAILAND – Between 2-6 November 2015, was a great opportunity for the Mangrove Action Project (MAP)-Asia to organize the final partners’ meeting and host twelve international participants who were involved in the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) funded project in Trang and Krabi provinces, southern Thailand.    There were representatives from EMACE Foundation and Nagenahiru Foundation from Sri Lanka, The Center for Research on New Economic Order (CReNIEO) from India, The Fisheries Action Coalition Team (FACT) from Cambodia and the project holder Global Nature Fund (GNF) from Germany.  MAP has been a part of the four year project “Mangrove restoration in Asia – local action and cross-border knowledge transfer for climate, forest and biodiversity conservation” which was coordinated by the Global Nature Fund.  Under this project MAP focused on mangrove restoration utilizing the Community-based Ecological Mangrove Restoration (CBEMR) method. The mangrove restoration was implemented in five communities in Trang, Krabi and Phang Nga provinces. READ MORE

AMERICAS

Climate Change and Insufficient Solutions
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HONDURAS - The World Climate Change Convention's main objective is to reduce emissions of "greenhouse gases" (GHGs) to mitigate the effects of climate change (CC). In Bonn, Germany, (Oct.19 to 23, 2015) the technical committee of the 193 member states of the United Nations met to agree on mitigation of CC and produce a document riddled with disagreements, which are the basis of discussion for COP 21, taking place in Paris. Heads of state must make commitments to reduce greenhouse gases and therefore the temperature of the Earth in 20 C, by 2030. Large corporations impose their interests to governments and their authority to these peoples: "Any agreement GHG reduction should be voluntary"; while asking developing countries that agreements are binding, and address the problem of reducing GHG "fair but differentiated" way, the biggest polluter should pay more and should apply a mechanism for loss and damage ". In summary, the former do not want to leave their system of making money (mining, petroleum, transportation, construction, monocultures, agrochemicals ...) and instead proposed "market" nature, while the latter shows interest in obtaining financing for "conservation". Here, the environment is a commodity and not a common heritage of humanity. LEA MAS EN ESPANOL

Government Implements Ban On Offshore Drilling
BELIZE - 5 years, that's how long the conservationists have been pressing the Barrow Government to institute a permanent Ban on Offshore Oil Drilling. But, it was not so simple because oil exploration contracts were already signed with different private companies, and so if the Government simply instituted a moratorium, they would be effectively be terminating these contracts - and thereby opening up the country to lawsuits for breech of contract. So, late this year when all the oil exploration contracts expired, the Government chose not to renew any of them, especially in the environmentally sensitive areas, such as the marine reserves. Since then, the Oceana Belize and other conservationists have been lobbying in the halls of power for the Barrow Government to issue a permanent ban. And that's the news tonight. This effectively results in a total of 448 square miles being banned. In addition, Cabinet agreed to a ban offshore exploration within one kilometer on either side of the Belizean Barrier Reef System, resulting in an additional 868 square miles falling under the offshore exploration ban. The total area covered by the ban is 842,714 acres or 1,316 square miles. READ MORE

Brazil's slow-motion environmental catastrophe unfolds
BRAZIL – Unaccounted for as a slow-motion environmental catastrophe continues to unfold following the collapse of two mining dams in Brazil’s mineral-rich state of Minas Gerais. Eight days after the town of Bento Rodrigues was swept away by 50m cubic metres of toxic mud, a slow-moving tide of toxic iron-ore residue is oozing downriver, polluting the water supply of hundreds of thousands of residents as it makes its way to the ocean. Brazil’s national water agency, ANA, has warned that the presence of arsenic, zinc, copper and mercury now present in the Rio Doce make the water untreatable for human consumption. Already the lack of oxygen and high temperatures caused by the pollutants has killed off much of the aquatic life along a 500km stretch of the river. “It is a tragedy of enormous proportions,” Marilene Ramos, president of Ibama, the federal environmental agency, said. “We have thousands of hectares of protected areas destroyed and the total extinction of all the biodiversity along this stretch of the river.” READ MORE

FDA rejects record number of shrimp products due to antibiotics
USA – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has rejected a further 129 seafood entry lines during the month of November, adding to its record level of shrimp refusals to come out of 2015 so far. According to the Southern Shrimp Alliance, the FDA has turned down a total of 386 entry lines for shrimp so far this year mostly due to antibiotic concerns, a record for the agency. Vietnamese shrimp products account for 38 of the 386 shrimp lines refused. Of the 129 seafood refusals delivered by the FDA in November, 7 percent were shrimp products with antibiotic association. Most of these latest refusals involved shrimp manufactured from Bac Lieu Fisheries, based in Vietnam. VIEW SOURCE

EUROPE

Looking for mangroves resilience and sustainability
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FRANCE - EcoSummit 2016 29 Aug.-1 Sept. in France with a session on "Looking for mangroves resilience and sustainability" may be of interest to our readers. Submission deadline is Jan 29, 2016.  Every mangrove region has a unique history, ecosystem and human culture. Some mangrove areas have been totally lost or severely degraded, while others remain relatively pristine, free from human over exploitation. Each situation needs to be properly apprehended to question mangrove resilience and address local management and conservation needs. This requires interdisciplinary gap-bridging studies involving many disciplines and issues, such as ecology, eco-engineering, ecosystem services, climate change, disaster risk reduction, restoration, integrated coastal zone management and at different spatial and temporal scales of analysis. This session welcomes contributions on the understanding of ecosystem resilience for ensuring mangrove sustainability. READ MORE

LAST WORD(S)
Just to let you know my article on mangroves and their importance to climate change will be posted on the BluePlanet blog. You can preview it here on our blog.
Mangroves, An Invaluable Ally Against Climate Change
USA - Mangroves are the rainforests by the sea, found at the boundary where land meets ocean. They serve a wide range of ecological functions, providing economically valuable products and services. Mangroves, once estimated to cover an area of over 36 million hectares, dominated large stretches of tropical coastline. However, due to ongoing development pressures, mangroves are degraded and their area substantially diminished relative to their historic range., less than 15 million ha remain. Mangrove forests are vital for healthy coastal ecosystems. The shallow inter-tidal reaches that characterize mangrove wetlands offer refuge and nursery grounds for juvenile fish, crabs, shrimps, and mollusks, and are prime nesting and migratory sites for hundreds of bird species. Additionally, manatees, crab-eating monkeys, monitor lizards, Bengal tigers, sea turtles, and mudskipper fish utilize the mangrove wetlands. READ MORE
by Alfredo Quarto
Executive Director
Mangrove Action project.

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