|WIT's World Ecology Report - Vol. 05, No. 2 - The Digest of Critical Environmental Information (WIT, 1993, 16 p.)|
· Renew America, a non-profit organization promoting environmental cooperation between the public and private sectors has identified ten U.S. states with the strongest environmental programs.
A partnership between the California Department of Health Services was signed by 60 CEOs of the greatest generators of waste in the State agreeing to reduce waste by 50 percent. This entitled them to receive technical assistance and priority status tor those permits needed for pollution prevention modifications. This resulted in a 50 percent average, reduction in toxic waste achieved two years ahead of schedule. The California Hazardous Waste Reduction Grant Program funded 110 projects totalling $6, 616, 493.
Called an "eco-topia", the State of Oregon's Commercial and Industrial Efficiency Incentives devised the Business Energy Tax Credit Program; a 35% income tax incentive credit to invest in conservation, recycling and renewable resource projects. Over 2, 800 projects, costing $226 million saved ten trillion BTUs. Looking for substance and change in corporate thinking, another Oregon program requires toxic-chemical users to develop a reduction plan and provide them with on-site technical assistance.
Spurred by the 1990 Toxic Pollution Prevention Act, Minnesota has helped many companies pi event pollution at the source through the Environmentally Acceptable-Packaging Ordinance. Under the Community Right-To-Know Act, each facility releasing toxic chemicals has to issue a report. Each is then required to develop a toxic pollution prevention plan estimating goals for the reduction and elimination of these releases. St. Paul bans non-recyclable packaging at the source affecting 8, 000 businesses in Minneapolis. Through the Minnesota Technical Assistance Program (MnTAP), companies can receive assistance to identify and implement pollution-prevention measures. MnTAP also provides student interns for free in-depth pollution-prevention projects. With the help of the Office of Waste Management, The Herald-Review of Grand Rapids, has been able to save $12, 514 in disposal fees by keeping 25, 150 pounds of waste out of their community each year.
The Massachusetts Blackstone Project has received awards from the Ford Foundation and from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. The distinguishing features of this project are that companies ' using heavy metals and hazardous materials along the Blackstone River, are inspected by specialists trained in all major types of pollution such as air, water and soil. The emphasis is on compliance and not punishment with the state providing technical assistance to help with pollution prevention and control.
This state bans fifteen items such as aluminum, glass, newspaper, lead-acid, batteries and major appliances from its landfills by 1995. Wisconsin gives out $6.25 million in business loans and recycling rebates to encourage these new markets. The cloth-diaper industry receives sales tax exemptions to encourage growth. To help reduce heavy metals and toxic materials in' groundwater in particular, the Milwaukee Toxic Minimization Task Force brings together business leaders environmentalists and the community. This alliance resulted in the Clean Sweep Program that collected old insecticides, leaded paint and other hazardous wastes for proper disposal.
Iowa's Groundwater Protection Act imposes licensing fees on the manufacture and distribution of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The money is used to fund agricultural research into alternative means of pest control. As a result, demonstration farms have shown net profits because money is not spent on expensive chemicals.
Since the New Jersey Pollution Prevention Act was enacted in 1991, the state has offered technical assistance to industries for the preparation of pollution-prevention plans. With a goal to reduce the use of hazardous substances by 50 percent, the Office of Pollution Prevention has allocated $2.5 million to the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and $500, 000 to the Pollution Prevention Technical Assistance Program. The first round requires industry to prepare a list of chemical use and plans to reduce generation and use of waste by July 1994.
The Florida Department of Environmental Regulation has so far assisted 120 businesses in preventing pollution at the source, such as finding alternative solvents used to clean metal parts. The State Training Action Plan recommends the Florida state colleges and universities to organize and thus provide solid and hazardous waste training and assistance programs in six regional centers for technical assistance.
The Governor's Commission on Growth in the Chesapeake Bay Region brings together business, Industry and the public to fight and preserve the bay which is plagued by water, land and air pollution. This effort involves several states and cooperation is key. In Maryland, some 10, 000 businesses pretreat the wastewater before releasing it to wastewater plants. Another 600 industries control the pollutants they discharge into the streams and rivers.
The auto emission standards have been tightened in Maryland as well.
"Effective population policies can only be implemented if individuals, particularly women, have the ability to make informed choices about family size and resource utilization."
Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director
The Connecticut Technical Assistance Program (ConnTAP), established in 1988, publishes a quarterly newsletter, provides workshops on technology transfer and waste minimization through a resource center containing 700 documents on pollution prevention. ConnTAP offers several grants to provide incentives for companies to conduct research which can be shared with others. ConnTAP also offers free, non-regulatory technical and financial assistance for waste minimization and pollution prevention. In 1989, Action Circuits of Danbury, CT, produced 18, 000 gallons of sludge, 385 gallons of ferric chloride etchant and 275 gallons of solvent cleaners that were all sent to a hazardous waste disposal center. Today they have reduced hazardous waste by 10, 000 gallons annually. This was accomplished with the help of ConnTAP who provided, as a start, a grant of $5, 000 to study the manufacturing process. Through careful study, Action Circuits determined that they could reduce waste by 90 percent. ConnTAP then awarded them $50, 000 for a pilot demonstration. The company was able to reduce its use of water by 300 gallons a day and to remove copper from the rinse water through a trap. These scraps were then sold on the metals market. With a capital investment of $100, 000, the company has saved $ 5 6, 000 the first year with a payback of less than two years.
For more information about these regions, contact Renew America, 1001 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 719, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 466-6880.
· Sewage sludge, dumped for years off New Jersey, has found its way into tiny animals on the ocean floor, according to a group of scientists who studied one such site.
While the possibility of the pollutants making their way into the human food chain is remote, the researchers said the discovery disproves a long-held belief that sewage dumped far out into ocean is diluted and dispersed widely and thus harmless to animal or plant life.
In a study published in the latest issue of the journal Nature, the researchers said they found in worms, tiny crustaceans and especially in urchins and sea cucumbers, traces of the type of organic carbon, sulfur and nitrogen that are typically present in sewage sludge.
SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal, November
SOURCE: Crosscurrents, November 3,
· Scientists are turning from the land to the sea to discover new sources of drugs to fight cancer, AIDS and other diseases. As tuberculosis staphylococcus bacteria and other infections are becoming resistant to existing antibiotics, there is an urgent need for new pharmaceuticals. Microorganisms in the marine environment are a new source for anti-infectious and anti-cancer drugs. Promising drugs for cancer, arthritis and inflammation have already been found using sponges, corals, and sea squirts.
SOURCE: New York Times,
November 10, 1992.
· Women and young children are exposed to 8 to 25 percent of their time to high levels of indoor air pollution from preparing meals with biomass cooking fuels. Studies of youngsters have shown a relationship between high levels of air pollution and increased acute respiratory infections, one of the two principal causes of illness and death among the world's young children. Other possible effects include chronic lung diseases, low birthweights, cancer, eye problems, and fires and burns. Indoor air pollution concentrations from use of biomass fuels can increase concentrations of total suspended particles, benzo[a]pyrene and carbon monoxide levels.
SOURCE: K.R. Smith, A.L. Aggarwal and
R.M. Dave, "Air Pollution and Rural Biomass Fuels in Developing Countries: A
Pilot Village Study in India and Implications for Research and Policy,"
Atmospheric Environment 17: 2343-2362, 1983.
· High fertility rates give rise to the developing world's rapid population growth. Women worldwide bear an average of 3.2 children. In East and West Africa, however, women have six children as compared to 1.5 to 2.5 in more developed countries. Italian women have the lowest fertility rate of 1.32 children, while women in Rwanda have the highest of 8.3 children, followed by Yemen with 7.7, Malawi with 7.6 and Ethiopia with 7.5 children.
SOURCE: World Bank News, Volume XII, Number
5, February, 1993.
· The World Investment Report summarizes the investment activities of transnational corporations in developing countries, stating that most foreign investment flows among developed nations formed by the European Community, North America and Japan. That although the amount has increased, the total share of direct foreign investments has continued to decline. That, from the environmental perspective, transnational corporations are the primary producers and intermediate consumers of chlorofluorocarbons, which arc the principal cause of ozone depletion, and they have extensive involvements in most pollution and hazard-intensive industries.
SOURCE: United Nations Dept. of Economic and
Social Development, Division of Transnational Corporations and Management,