As cars honked and trucks rumbled down the road that borders the Antigua Aduana gallery and museum in the San José neighborhood of La California, environmental leaders and advocates agreed that vehicle traffic was the greatest source of air pollution in Costa Rica’s capital.On Monday morning, Environment Minister René Castro, Riteve SyC Environmental Consultant Rosario Alfaro and Riteve General Manager Fernando Mayorga presented the results from an “Urban Lung” installation, a giant wireframe sculpture designed to raise awareness about air pollution in San José. Installed on June 5, the concave, white-fabric sculpture collected particulate matter from car exhaust and other sources of air pollution for two months. Scientists from the National University’s Quality Analysis Laboratory examined the cloth — turned black from exposure to the city’s air — and discovered levels of sulfur, chlorine and manganese that exceeded safe limits determined by the World Health Organization.Alfaro told the crowd that the levels of manganese, a neurotoxin in high doses that is sometimes added to gasoline, were especially troubling.The general manager of Riteve – the Spanish-Costa Rican company in charge of mandatory technical vehicle inspections – also highlighted the organization’s progress in reducing air pollution, but noted that the emissions agency’s gains have stalled.Government environmental agencies blamed inefficient, older vehicles for the city’s air pollution. According to Alfaro, 70 percent of the city’s air pollution is created by 50 percent of vehicles, which are over 15 years old.In response to the environmental effects of the aging fleet, Castro announced that operating permits for taxis and buses over 10 years old will not be renewed. Public transportation vehicles exceeding 10 years will need to convert to cleaner fuel sources, like natural gas, or transition to hybrid or electric models under the new guidelines. Banco Costa Rica and Banco Nacional will offer bus and taxi drivers credit at under 5 percent to finance the upgrade thanks to a $200 million donation from China, Japan and South Korea, according to a press released from MINAE. In July, the Finance, Public Works and Transport and Environment ministries signed an agreement dropping the sales tax on hybrid vehicles to 10 percent from 30 percent. Besides incentivizing sales, the decree orders government ministries to modernize their fleets by purchasing vehicles that use hybrid technology or alternative fuels like natural gas or electric models.Some doubted the government’s commitment to reducing pollution from older vehicles, as the news came on the heels of the Finance Ministry’s decision to reduce taxes on used imported cars.“Sustainability means balancing the social with the economy and the environment,” Castro said.Costa Rican sculptor Francesco Bracci told The Tico Times that the piece was motivated, in part, by the white face masks that have become recognizable symbols of urban air pollution in many developing countries.Latin America registers the highest rates of urbanization in the world, according to the World Bank, heightening the need to address urban air pollution.“The rest of Central America needs to catch up,” Castro said, referring to the isthmus’ otherwise lax air pollution laws. “It’s obvious that improving health coincides with these changes.” Update Tuesday, 12:35 p.m.: This post was updated to include more information on the efforts to finance the upgrade to the public transportation fleet. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Share on LinkedIn Share via Email This article is more than 10 years old Share on Facebook news Share on Twitter Share on Twitter Share on Messenger First published on Thu 18 Dec 2008 19.01 EST Thu 18 Dec 2008 19.01 EST The former West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson is suing the club’s owner, Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson, over the terms of his exit from Upton Park last year.According to legal documents filed yesterday at the Reykjavik Municipal Court, Magnusson is demanding 200m krona (£1.1 million) from Gudmundsson, who is trying to sell the club after falling victim to the Icelandic economic crisis.Magnusson became chairman of West Ham in November 2006, when he bought the club with Gudmundsson through WH Holding Ltd, but was relieved of his duties a year later and Gudmundsson added his 5% stake to his controlling interest.In the legal papers, Magnusson said he was guaranteed three months’ pay following the termination of his contract and was to receive €1m and £200,000. Magnusson claims he has been paid only £100,000.Meanwhile Joe Kinnear believes there is a “60-40” chance of Michael Owen accepting a new three-year contract at Newcastle United and indicated yesterday that it could even be signed before Tottenham Hotspur visit St James’ Park on Sunday.Just last week a much more pessimistic Kinnear claimed that he thought the odds of the England striker remaining on Tyneside were around “30-70″ but Newcastle’s manager now feels that Owen is being strongly tempted by the security of the long-term deal on offer.”It was my idea to offer Michael three years, which will take him up until he’s 32,” said Kinnear, who added that the prospective agreement may potentially be extended into a fourth year, although this would necessitate Owen playing in more than 50% of Newcastle’s games during his third season.”Michael told me that when Kevin [Keegan] was here he had previously been offered only 12 months and I did not really see any value in that,” explained Kinnear. “So I just said, ‘What if we can tie you up for the rest of your career, more or less, would you be happy with that?’ and Michael said, ‘Yes, I would be delighted’.”So I spoke to Mike [Ashley, the Newcastle owner] and said could we give Michael three years plus the possible option of another one and Mike said, ‘OK, do it’.”I am not going to say Michael will definitely sign but I think he will. We haven’t exactly agreed a deadline but two days ago I did ask Michael ‘When are you going to make a decision?’ and he said ‘In the next couple of days’. Share on Pinterest This article is more than 10 years old Topics Louise Taylor Premier League Share via Email West Ham United Share on Facebook Newcastle United Shares00 In a litigious mood – Eggert Magnusson. Photograph: Mike Egerton/Empics Magnusson issues Hammers writ Share on WhatsApp West Ham United Reuse this content