|WIT's World Ecology Report - Vol. 06, No. 2 - Critical Issues in Health and the Environment (WIT, 1994, 16 pages)|
· The U.N. General Assembly decided that 1996 be observed as the INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY. The resolution calls for activities for the observance of the Year at the local, national and international levels. It aims at creating awareness among States, policy makers and the public that the "eradication of poverty is fundamental to reinforcing peace and achieving sustainable development." "The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty" is observed on the 17th of October.
SOURCE: UN-DPI Update, May,
· Biotechnologists studying earth worms have evolved a process to convert organic waste water-like sewage, food processing and paper and pulp industry waste water into reusable water while using the earth worm's excreta as biofertilizer. The process, developed by the Bhawalker Earthworm Research Institute in Maharashtra State, India, involves filtering waste water through a vermifilter formed by enclosing earth worms and worm-casts in a specially developed medium. The earthworms convert the water impurities into worm-casts (earth worm excreta) and after repeated filtering, clear water is obtained.
SOURCE: Science for Villages, #176/179,
· For the first time in United States history trade sanctions are being used as a weapon for protecting endangered species of the environment. President Clinton has ordered sanctions against Taiwan for the trafficking in endangered tiger and rhinoceros parts, which are highly valued and sold primarily as ingredients for traditional medicines in Asia. All wildlife imports from Taiwan are to be barred, covering approximately $22 million annually worth of snakeskin shoes, tropical fish, coral and mussel-shell jewelry, and other wildlife products which are imported. This step will affect less than 0.1 percent of Taiwan's $25 billion worth of exports to the United States. Although China has been credited with using posters and other media to discourage similar trade, with increasing enforcement and with destroying some stockpiles of rhinoceros horns and tiger bones, sanction decisions against that country took into account other sensitive issues. The US government is currently pressing China to improve its human rights policies in return for renewing its low-tariff trade status. Beijing's influence is also being enlisted with North Korea to address that nation's nuclear program.
SOURCE: The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 12,
· With the lightning speed of development in the computer industry, obsolete models are quickly being replaced by faster more efficient models. By the year 2005 more personal computers are projected to be in landfills than in homes and offices. The PC's would fill a hole an acre wide and 3.5 miles deep. One German Company, Siemens Nixdorf's, began their remarketing and recycling program in Paderborn in 1992, in an attempt to reduce Germany's annual production of nearly 120,000 metric tons of electrical and electronic scrap. In 1993 the company took back 3,000 metric tons of computer machinery and, although their efforts are not yet cost effective, the center breaks even by charging customers to bring back their machines: $86 for a PC and $2,300 for a mainframe. They are able to refurbish and resell almost one in five machines; they try to recycle the rest. This year Germany is expected to require manufacturers to take back their durable and sophisticated consumer goods, another point which gives them the lead in recyclable computers. This process addresses an important byproduct of the recycling, the expected transformation in the way new computers are built. If companies knew that every unit they made would return to them, they would change their designs.
SOURCE: WIT Chapter,
U.N., Russia Join Corporate Ozone Protection Group
The International Cooperative for Ozone Layer Protection has added two important new members to its voluntary campaign to replace ozone-depleting substances.
The Washington, D.C. based organization, founded in 1989 by several Fortune 100 manufacturers, recently signed affiliation agreements with the industry division of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and Russia's Ministry of Environmental Protection. The agreements are said to signal the growing clout of an industry group leading the charge against ozone-damaging chemicals.
ICOLP's strong track record in ozone protection projects in developing countries makes it an excellent partner for the UNEP program, said its director, Jacqueline Aloisi de Larderel. The Industry and Environment Programme Center is based in Paris.
Both UNEP and the Russian Ministry will work with ICOLP headquarters to promote solvent substitutions and other activities to preserve the ozone layer. As the U.S. manufacturers prepare for an approaching phaseout of CFC's and other ozone depleters under the Montreal Protocol, ICOLP has turned its attention to manufacturers in countries not party to the agreement in search of similar commitments.
· The "Right to Know" campaign on behalf of the environment is going global. Around the world, people want to know a great deal more about the environmental performance of the corporations, companies and firms that they work for, live next to, invest in, and buy from. The pioneers in this field emphasize that it is no longer sufficient to devote a paragraph or two to the environment in an annual report. The leading organizations of environmental benchmarking are CERES, the Council on Economic Priorities (CEP) and the Investor Responsibility Research Center (IRRC).
SOURCE: Environment Today, Volume 5, #2,
· Purdue University's College of Agriculture researched a promising solution to the problem of lake, stream and ground water pollution caused by farm runoff by planting common roadside cattails, reed canary grass and false buckwheat into the trenches. The tough plants and the microbes associated with them thrive, digesting the polluting nutrients (nitrates, phosphates) dissolved in the runoff water and purifying it before it seeps back into the earth or into a nearby pond or stream. Simultaneously, the water in the trenches and the weedy plants it supports provide food and shelter for wetlands species ranging from frogs and turtles to raccoons and ducks.
SOURCE: Purdue University College of
· Microwaves arc being used to clean up hazardous wastes. As a new technology, microwaving toxic substances offers certain advantages: less human contact with hazardous material; decreased release of airborne pollutants; savings of time, energy and capital, compared to standard methods. Microwave techniques in Japan arc used to remove solvents needed in reprocessing nuclear fuel. In France, microwaves clean up incinerator waste. In the USA microwaves are used to clean up the hazardous waste from discarded electronic circuits. In Russia, liquids from radioactive waste are evaporated with microwaves then the remains are melted into special glass containers for storage or burial.
SOURCE: Science News, Vol. 145, #16, April
· A new public relations campaign for "Buying Recycled" has been launched as a consorted effort between three influential agencies: the Ad Council, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Environmental Defense Fund. In an attempt to call attention to the need for use of products utilizing recycled goods, the group has published a free brochure. For your copy write Buy Recycled, Environmental Defense Fund, 257 Park Avenue South, New York, NY 10010, or call 1-800-CALL-EDF.
SOURCE: Environmental Defense
"As though to prove nature's incredible versatility, almost every island has developed species that are endemic - that is, they are peculiar to it alone and are duplicated nowhere else on earth."
President's Council to Demonstrate 'Sustainability' in Several Projects
A US presidential commission charting a national roadmap toward environmentally sustainable development is launching a series of demonstration projects it says will serve as way stations toward that goal.
The President's Council on Sustainable Development, a 25-member panel that includes five Cabinet members, industry leaders and citizen activists, says it is putting ideas developed during its first year into action as model sustainability projects. Funded by a mix of federal, corporate and foundation contributions, they include:
·A chemical demonstration project to develop "bold new standards for a cleaner, cheaper approach to chemical manufacturing" according to a council release;
The three projects, and a fourth initiative to improve pollution prevention practices among the Great Lakes region printing industry, are the first specific measures generated by the Council, created last June with the broad assignment of fostering sustainable development.
In many cases, the demonstration projects link with existing efforts initiated by environmental organizations or other groups. For example, the chemical project will tie together a pollution prevention effort under way with DOW Chemical and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a chemical plant design project at S.C. Johnson Wax and a refiner design effort involving Amoco, Chevron and the Environment Defense Fund.