IFCE Global Environmental Weekly Events [9/21 - 9/27/2018]

Release time:2018-10-02

1.Electricity can remove drug residues from wastewater: Study

London: Harmful organic substances, such as pharmaceutical residues, can be efficiently removed from wastewater using only electricity, say scientists who tested a process called pulsed corona discharge (PCD).

Pilot tests by researchers from Lappeenranta University of Technology (LUT) in Finland showed that pharmaceutical residues, their variants and other similar compounds degrade easily from wastewater because the process is non-selective.In this phenomenon, water molecules and oxygen in the atmosphere create strong oxidants which degrade organic compounds into water and carbon dioxide.

The study examined the formation of oxidants on the plasma-liquid-gas interface and their behaviour in the process.The study also revealed that the momentary reformation of pharmaceutical substances can be considered a normal part of the reaction chain in the purification process.

It nevertheless makes the comparison of different technologies more difficult and highlights the importance of a non-selective process.

The results gave important new information on energy efficient oxidation, which is significant also in terms of the further development of the technology.

The efficiency of the process depends on temperature, flow rates, delays, and the location of the process in the wastewater treatment chain

Source: Eco news

2.4 Surprising Household Items That Hurt The Environment

Unfortunately, your morning shave can contribute to the biggest source of waste in your bathroom.Razors are associated with high water usage and the carbon-intensive production of plastic and steel. To have a more sustainable shave, invest in an electric or straight razor.

While we’re talking about waste in the bathroom, we should mention the environmental evils of your toothbrush.

Measuring up pretty closely to the impact of disposable razors, an estimated 1 billion toothbrushes end up in a landfill each year in North America alone. And each one takes over 400 years to decompose!

Bamboo toothbrushes are 100% biodegradable. They are also antimicrobial, so your teeth will be protected from bacteria

An old mattress is bad for your health, your bedroom, and it could hurt the environment if improperly disposed of.

Over the years old mattresses collect dust mites, dead skin cells, and the average 26 gallons of sweat you perspire each year sleeping. Imagine the damage you’re doing to your indoor air quality with this bacteria beast.

When it’s time to look for a new mattress, shop the organic section. These are made of 100% natural materials and reduce chemical output.

The benefits of tea are unquestionable. A warm cup of tea at night can help you sleep, improve your weight loss, and even give you better dental health. Unfortunately, your tea bags are not composable and pose a threat to the earth. If you drink a cup of tea every day, you’re contributing to hundreds of tea bags sitting in a landfill each year.

The benefits of tea are unquestionable. A warm cup of tea at night can help you sleep, improve your weight loss, and even give you better dental health. Unfortunately, your tea bags are not composable and pose a threat to the earth. If you drink a cup of tea every day, you’re contributing to hundreds of tea bags sitting in a landfill each year.

Source:Blue& Green Tomorrow

3.UK's first air-filtering bus launches in Southampton

One of the UK’s largest bus and rail operators has launched the country’s first air filtering bus in an effort to tackle air pollution.


The Go-Ahead Group unveiled the Bluestar bus in Southamptonon Thursday claiming that the new filtration system attached to the top of the vehicle will clean the air as it moves around the city.


Go Ahead chief executive, David Brown said: “We are going a step further in the potential for our buses to actively clean the environment. It’s a huge development in our environmental leadership and we are also proud to be pioneering the prototype in the UK.”

The diesel bus is fitted with a specially designed filter that its inventors say will remove ultra-fine particles from the air and trap them as the bus moves through the streets. The filter then allows the bus to blow out more pure air so that the air behind it is cleaner than that in front of it.


Brown said Southampton had been chosen for the prototype as the World Health Organization revealed that the city is at its limit of unsafe air pollution. It is also one of five cities tasked with drawing up air pollution plans by the government. Brown said that if the trial is successful it could be rolled out to Go Ahead’s entire fleet of more than 5,000 buses.

Source:Thr Guardian


4.Singapore, Malaysia agencies talk environment and waste at annual meeting

PUTRAJAYA -  Singapore and Malaysia's government agencies engaged in discussions over emissions, water quality in the Johor Strait, emergency responses for chemical spills and environmental training programmes on Thursday (Sept 27), led by ministers from the two neighbouring countries.

Singapore Minister Masagos Zulkifli and Ms Yeo Bee Yin, Malaysia's Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Minister, said they did not discuss the Asean transboundary haze agreement, despite a regional meeting set for early October in Myanmar.

"We don't work bilaterally to address a multilateral issue," Mr Masagos said of the agreement which was a response to open burning in Indonesia's palm oil plantations which shrouded the region in thick smoke in recent years.

Both countries agreed to hold regular joint field exercises to test the effectiveness of their emergency response plan to deal with chemical spills at the Malaysia-Singapore second crossing and the Johor Strait. They also discussed land reclamation works at the Strait of Johor and their potential adverse impact on the environment.

The meetings also saw deep discussion in moving towards "zero-waste", with Malaysia studying whether it can apply some of Singapore's ideas.

Ms Yeo said the challenge was to implement a "circular economy" where products can be repeatedly reused so "the net production of waste that we eventually have can be reduced as we cope with an increasing population".

Mr Masagos said that Singapore has pursued a strategy of "co-creating solutions" with the public, such as using technology to make it simple for them to separate waste.

In an informal meeting with Malaysia’s Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar, Mr Masagos also discussed the joint hydrometric modelling study of Johor River, which was first announced by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and then Malaysian PM Najib Razak at the eighth Singapore-Malaysia Leaders’ Retreat in Singapore in January.

The study is intended to help increase the water yield and conserve supply at the Linggiu Reservoir, which discharges water into the Johor River. Singapore buys its water from Johor under a 1962 agreement.

Source: The Straits Times

5.European Environment Agency: mercury still a 'significant risk'

Mercury continues to present a significant risk to the environment and human health, the European Environment Agency said in a report published this month.

While the main source of new emissions is coal burning, about half of the mercury deposited in the environment comes from outside Europe.

The substance, the report says, poses the biggest risk in rivers, lakes and oceans where it takes a highly toxic form that is absorbed by animals, including fish.

Entitled Mercury in Europe’s environment – A priority for European and global action, the report is available for free via the EEA’s website.

The EEA is an agency of the European Union that gives "independent information on the environment for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public".

A new EU mercury Regulation came into force in July.

Source: Chemical Watch

6.National parks bear the brunt of climate change

A new UC Berkeley and University of Wisconsin-Madison study show that U.S. national parks become hotter and drier than the rest of the nation because of human-caused climate change.

This study states that many small mammals and plants are heading for extinction by the end of the century if human continually fails to limit the emissions of greenhouse gas. In the past century, the increased rate of average temperature of national parks is twice times than that of the rest of the nation. Meanwhile, the yearly rainfall in national parks decreased more than that in the rest area of the U.S.

John Williams, a professor of geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said: there will be a two-degree change in the temperature of national parks, although human efficiently limits the emissions of greenhouse gas. Glacier National park will ultimately disappear. I think the national parks services need to introduce the effect of climate change on national parks and educating the public to concern about the environmental issues.


7.Ready-To-Use Recipe for Turning Plant Waste Into Gasoline

Bioscience engineers at KU Leuven find a ready-to-use recipe for turning plant waste into gasoline. This skill can produce a kind of cellulose gasoline which is a second generation biofuel.

Bert Sels, Professor at KU Leuven, explained that they use a chemical technic to process plant waste, such as sawdust,produce a perfect duplicate of fossil gasoline. The carbon dating is the only technique that can detect the difference between the cellulose gasoline and fossil gasoline.

In their lab, researchers have built a chemical system for producing cellulose gasoline on a small scale. Aron Deneyer, a researcher at the lab, said: “Currently, the biggest challenge of the ready-to-use recipe for plant waste into gasoline is how to produce cellulose gasoline on a large scale.”

Source: Environmental News Network

8.Research forecasts US among top nations to suffer economic damage from climate change

Researchers find a new data set to measure the damage of carbon dioxide emissions for the globe's nearly 200 countries. Previous studies focused on how rich countries benefit from the fossil fuel economy, but the developing countries suffer from this model of the economy. The top three states, suffering from the adverse effect of the fossil fuel economy, are the United States, India, and Saudi Arabia. China China is the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, ranking in the top five countries with the highest costs.

The research shows, there is a paradox phenomenon in the climate change area. United States, India are the top two countries with the highest costs of the fossil fuel economy, which should play a significant role on global climate change area. However, the European Union(EU) takes a leading status in this area.

Deep understanding of the effect of climate change on economic that could promote the international cooperation in climate change issues. The author of this research summarized that many states do not realize the adverse effect of climate change on economic. Nevertheless, deep understanding of the climate change would encourage more countries to face the climate challenges together.


9.Everything you've been told about plastic is wrong – the answer isn't recycling

Everything you've been told about plastic is wrong. We have been brainwashed. All of us believe that there is someone can recycle the plastics without any costs if we separate our plastic garbages. However, our environment has not been improved, but air pollution is worse than before through recycling plastics.

In fact, recycling is not an efficient way to solve plastic pollution. Plastics, which are different from glass, can not be recycled infinitely. Meanwhile, plastics are made from crude oil. The process of producing plastics release a lot of carbon dioxide, destroying the environment and damaging for the public health.

Governments need to consider how to stop producing plastics if the public wants to decrease the negative impacts of plastic pollution. For example, governments could ban single-use plastics or increase the tax on plastics.

Source: Independent

10.Liquid metal discovery to make toxic water safe and drinkable

Recently, scientists utilize liquid metal to produce a new water purifier for making toxic water safe and drinkable within several minutes.

This research finds that adding aluminum into the core of liquid gallium at room temperature could produce a layer of aluminum oxide at the surface of the gallium. Furthermore, the aluminum oxide nano-sheets are highly porous with a strong ability to filter heavy metal and oil contamination. Thus, we can use aluminum oxide nano-sheets to create a new water purifier. Meanwhile, the cost of the new water purifier is low, leading people to easily use this water purifier to turn toxic water into safe water.

Kalantar-zadeh, the professor at UNSW's School of Chemical Engineering, said: "We publish this new idea in public. People are free to use this idea to increase their lives quality. "

Source: Science daily

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