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Elsewhere on the Enviro Front

*           Throughout the year, the Environment Ministry’s Environmental Tribunal won praise, and death threats, after new head judge José Lino Chaves began a series of surprise inspections of construction projects throughout the country, shutting down dozens of developments, many worth millions of dollars, for alleged environmental regulations.

*           The tribunal gave special attention to the Fila Costeña coastal mountain range on the  southern Pacific coast, where ongoing environmental degradation continues.

*           Environmentalists on the Caribbean coast cheered news that a marina offshore from Puerto Viejo would be scrapped, after they raised concerns it would damage the coral reefs and the community’s integrity.

*           A ruling by the Environment Ministry’s Technical Secretariat (SETENA) that approved hotly protested plans to grow thousands of tons of yellowfin tuna a year in giant cages near the mouth of the Golfo Dulce, was greeted with much less enthusiasm.

*           Concern over the country’s pineapple industry made headlines as a small Caribbean community battled a nearby pineapple producer they blamed for trace amounts of pesticides in their groundwater, and it was revealed that the industry was largely self-regulated when it came to environmental protections.

*           Another water contaminant – human waste – also made headlines when AyA released a study in September showing that two of the country’s most popular tourist beaches – Jacó and Playas del Coco – were among several others with dangerously high levels of fecal coliform bacteria in the ocean water. Like in the beach town of Tamarindo in 2007, the culprit was said to be untreated sewage coming from hotels, apartment and condo complexes and other beachfront businesses.

*           Far from the ocean’s shores, British scientists poking through the brush of the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve in September successfully captured samples of two of the rarest, and most endangered, species of tree frogs in the world. Just a month later, the IUCN announced that another Costa Rican amphibian, the Holdridge’s toad, had officially been added to the extinct list.



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