Pollution levels in Bolivia plummet on nationwide car-free day

A deserted street in Bolivia. Photograph: Linda Farthing

Country wants to reclaim physical activity in age when young people are focused on computers, says government spokeswoman

Air pollution levels have plunged in cities across Bolivia as the country marked a nationwide car-free day in which all non-emergency vehicles were banned from city streets.

As Bolivia’s middle-class population has increased over the past 10 years so has the number of cars clogging city streets. The car-free event started 18 years ago in Cochabamba, one of Latin America’s five most polluted cities, and has gradually taken root across the country. By 2011, it had become so popular that Bolivia’s legislature declared a yearly “Day of the Pedestrian and Cyclist in Defence of Mother Earth”.

“Air pollution drops by 60-70% because 70% of our air contaminants come from vehicles,” said Soledad Delgadillo of Cochabamba’s municipal government. “The difference in air quality is noticeable. It [pollution] drops to almost zero when normally it can rise as high as 100 parts per cubic metre,” said Jorge Martin Villarroel, director of the environmental charity PAAC.

Cochabamba now has three pedestrian days a year, including the national day, while Bolivia’s highland city of Potosí recently set up four.

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Scientists rescue samples of melting Bolivian glacier for posterity

Illimani

ILLIMANI MOUNTAIN, Bolivia (Reuters) - A team of international scientists are transporting samples of ice from a melting glacier in Bolivia to Antarctica, for study and preservation before the glacier disappears.

The international "Ice Memory" expedition of 15 scientists took samples from the glacier on Illimani Mountain in the Andes and will store them in Antarctica at the French-Italian base of Concordia.

The scientists were helped by local guides and porters, who live near the base of Illimani. Clearly visible from Bolivia's capital La Paz, Illimani's "eternal snows" are frequently referenced in the music, mythology and literature of the Aymara people.

But scientists say global warming is rapidly melting the glaciers of the Andes, removing an important source of fresh water for many communities and threatening others with deadly avalanches. Illimani itself has warmed by 0.7 degree Centigrade in the last 18 years, said Ice Memory glaciologist Patrick Ginot.

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Bolivia Hosted the World People’s Conference: “For a World Without Borders towards Universal Citizenship”

Aymara witch doctors attend a ritual during the inauguration of World People’s Conference in Tiquipaya, Cochabamba, Bolivia June 20, 2017

Leaders from four continents met to discuss the humanitarian crisis of refugees and the possibility of a world without borders.

Source: Resumen Latinoamericano / The Dawn News / June 22, 2017

The World People’s Conference “For a World without Borders Towards Universal Citizenship”, which is held in Tiquipaya, center Bolivia, began on Tuesday with a respectful minute of silence for the refugees of the world. Above all, for those who lost their lives fleeing from war, hunger or natural disasters.

In his inaugural speech, Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced—without giving names—that the same agents that cause war and cause displacements and migrations are those who close the doors of their countries and build walls to prevent people from saving their lives.

The Bolivian head of State proposed to the forum, which included the former presidents of Colombia (Ernesto Samper), Ecuador (Rafael Correa) and Spain (José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero), a “joint debate to seek solutions or strategies to oppose to these walls”. Evo Morales has been for a long time a defender of a “Universal, Plurinational Citizenship” that liberates people from the constraints of political borders.

“Walls between peoples are an attack against humanity—they don’t protect, they create conflict (…). They go against the history of humanity, they mutilate science and knowledge, they spark hatred towards what’s different, they drown freedom”, Morales said.

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Youth Ambassador Creates 'Moore Kids Outdoors' Program

moore kids outdoors

Partners of the Americas Youth Ambassador Riley Meese has created a fantastic program for getting young people into the outdoors. Learn more at https://www.facebook.com/moorekidsoutdoors/

She is also raising funds for her project at https://www.gofundme.com/moore-kids-outdoors

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