IFCE Global Environmental Weekly Events [10/20 - 10/26/2018]

Release time:2018-10-30

1.Delhi holds breath as burning farms herald pollution season

Every November, air pollution in northern India reaches the worst level, forcing local schools to close and increasing wheezing patients in local areas.

During winter, Farmers in northern India burns farms to clean the crop residues, which is the most convenient way to be prepare for next season's wheat crop. However, the slash-and-burn farming creates a lot of toxic pollutants leading local people to get sicks. A local farmer told to reporter: “We know the slash-and-burn farming is illegal but it is still the cheapest way to clean our land.”

The local government powerlessly limit the legal actions. According to the local environmental law, the fine for burning farm is only $200 for farmers, which has limited effect. Therefore, local government plan to provide some subsidies to farmers for encouraging them to use the machines to clean their lands. S. Narayanan, from Haryana's State Pollution Control Board, said: “We are not only plan to punish illegal actions, but also hope to encourage local farmers to protect environment.”


2.Meet The Mascot Of Our Broken World: The Plastic Pumpkin

Halloween is coming soon. There are a lot of  plastic pumpkins are sold in various stores. You only need to pay a cheap price, then you can bring a plastic pumpkin to your home. However, there is few people pay attention to the making materials of the plastic pumpkin which is a form of foamed polystyrene. The foamed polystyrene take up to a million years to decompose with a low recycle rate.

Michael O’Heaney, executive director of environmental campaign group The Story of Stuff, said:“ The plastic pumpkin would be thrown into a landfill, an incinerator or the ocean, like other plastic products. Throw plastic products in the ocean has a negative impact on marine organism.” He believes that plastic pollution become a tough environmental  issue because of big companies’ uncooperative attitudes. Thus, companies need to treat plastic pollution issues seriously.

Today, we are facing a lot of extreme phenomenon. For example, the world’s marine fish stocks are fully exploited. Also, forests have been destroyed and drinking water has been polluted. If we refuse to protect the environment, we will face more extreme phenomenon in the future.

Source: Huff post

3.China to ban polluting tourist vehicles near Mt Everest in Tibet

For reducing pollutions in Mt Everest in Tibet, local government plan to ban polluting tourist vehicles near this area. Electric golf-style buggie is the alternate for polluting tourist vehicles.

Wangqiong,deputy head of Tingri Tibetan county, said:“ The environment of Mt Everest in Tibet is sensitive and unstable, leading to it’s processing abilities of trash is limited. We need to handle trash issue very carefully.” Furthermore, the aims of this ban are not only to reduce pollutions but also to raise the income of local people. For example, local residents, whose level of income lower than poverty line, would be hired as guider and golf-style buggie’s drivers.

Zhang Shangzheng, dean of the tourism management department at Anhui University, suggested local government that they need to pay attention to charging piles issue n this area. Local government needs to carefully install charging piles without any environmental cost.

Source: India Times

4.How do we cope with demands for water as we enter an era of scarcity?

Richard Luthy, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford, warned that urban water supply network management systems in California are facing a serious scarcity problem. In California, groundwater are being depleted and river levels are falling. However, the demand of water is rapidly increased.

Professor Luthy, who is also the director of the National Science Foundation's ReNUWIt proposed a solution is that rebuilding and redesign the urban water supply network management systems, aiming at recycling wastewater, reusing rainwater, and desalting sea water. It is a efficient way to solve water scarcity problem. Recently. Stanford University research a energy-efficient ways to recycle water.

Professor Luthy said:“ We have to make investments in recycling water system, such as we made investments in dam building in a century ago. For this time, we need to make investments in urban areas where have a big demand of water for inventing some new energy-efficient ways to recycle water.”


5.Green spaces help combat loneliness – but they demand investment

Urban green spaces, including parks, woodlands, riverbanks, and gardens, which is a part of city networkings. They provide a space for human to build a strong tie with nature. The UK government's strategies emphasis the important role of  urban green spaces in strengthening social networking in our society. The research shows that green spaces could increase the public health, enrich people’s happiness, providing community space for people to reduce loneliness.

Local experts cooperates with local communities to promote five simple strategies to help residents to maximize their relations with natural. Three of five strategies are aim to reduce residents’ loneliness. Firstly, building coffee shops in park or woodlands. Secondly, hiring people to maintain the environment in park and create activities in the park. Thirdly, encouraging local communities to create more events for strengthening community networking.

These simple strategies are not expensive but they will add government's budget. If the government cannot fully use urban green spaces, people with low income would not support such green space plans.

6.‘So much water.’ Trump moves to slash environmental rules on Delta, putting farms before fish

The Trump administration Friday pledged to slash the thicket of federal environmental regulations that govern the Delta and much of California’s water supply, aiming to increase water deliveries to his political allies in the San Joaquin Valley.

President Donald Trump signed a memorandum directing his underlings to review a broad swath of water regulations and “eliminate all unnecessary burdens,” the president said during an appearance in Arizona.

Trump’s memo drew quick reaction from California officials, who have fought the Trump administration on multiple fronts and said water supply can co-exist with environmental goals. “We can and must do both, without sacrificing one for the other,” said spokeswoman Lisa Lien-Mager of the Natural Resources Agency. “We hope we can continue working with the federal government to achieve these shared goals.”Source: The Sacramento Bee

7. 'Flexitarian' diets key to feeding people in a warming world

If the world wants to limit climate change, water scarcity and pollution, then we all need to embrace "flexitarian" diets, say scientists. This means eating mainly plant-based foods, and is one of three key steps towards a sustainable future for all in 2050, they say. Food waste will need to be halved and farming practices will also have to improve, according to the study.

Without action, the impacts of the food system could increase by up to 90%. Fast on the heels of the landmark report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) comes this new study on how food production and consumption impact major threats to the planet.

The authors say that the food system has a number of significant environmental impacts including being a major driver of climate change, depleting freshwater and pollution through excessive use of nitrogen and phosphorous


8.  Australia backs project to store renewable energy as hydrogen

Australia’ s conservative Liberal-National government is to provide half the funding for the country’s biggest trial to produce hydrogen using solar and wind energy, which could then be used as a back-up for gas supplies.

The $15 million project is being run by gas pipeline company Jemena, which plans to build a 500 kilowatt (kW) electrolyser in the west of the New South Wales state capital, Sydney, that will use solar and wind power to split water into hydrogen and oxygen.

Reuters newsagency reports according to the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) most of the hydrogen will then be injected into the local gas network, aiming to show that renewable hydrogen could be used for energy storage in Australia’s gas networks.

“As Australia transitions to renewable energy, hydrogen could play an important role as energy storage and also has the effect of decarbonising the gas network with ‘green’ gas,” ARENA’s chief executive, Darren Miller, said in a statement.

Source:Eco news

9.Senior government adviser says coal’s days are numbered

The senior energy adviser to Australia’s conservative Liberal-National government, Dr Kerry Schott, has said the plunging cost of renewable energy will force Australia’s remaining coal plants to close even earlier than planned.

Her assessment of the future of coal-fired power, something that she is at odds with the Liberal-National government about, came as mining giant BHP renewed calls for a price on carbon to urgently slash national emissions.

Fairfax Media reports the failure of the government of the recently installed Prime Minister Scott Morrison to produce an emissions reduction plan for the electricity sector and general inaction on climate change have been credited with helping to drive a massive negative swing in last Saturday’s Wentworth by-election, which is expected to cost the Liberal Party the seat and force it into minority government.

The nation’s energy ministers are due to meet in Sydney on Friday to discuss the government’s bid to lower prices and improve reliability.

Efforts to cut greenhouse gas emitted by electricity generators are not on the agenda.

Souce: eco news

10.Environmental Regulation Has Helped Cut Deaths From Air Pollution in Half, Study Finds

There are plenty of reasons to be worried about air quality these days, from the Environmental Protection Agency killing an expert panel on dangerous particulate matter to the Trump administration’s plan to scrap mercury regulations. But today, we got some good news to remind everyone about the value of environmental regulations that keep pollution in check.

Air pollution is killing fewer people than it used to, according to a study published in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics Journal Friday. Deaths related particulate matter (nasty stuff that gets lodged in the lungs and can reach the heart) dropped more than 50 percent nationwide between 1990 and 2010—largey thanks to regulations like the Clean Air Act and federal and state rules on vehicle emissions, according to the report’s authors, who include researchers from the EPA and Department of Energy.

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