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West facing windows can be a big source of heat, first measure which you...
Why all these are not applicable to Tuticorin port or the one planned in AP or WB ?
What an eye opener! As an environmental engineer,disposal of sanitary napkins has always been a concern during waste...
Jordan to go it alone
Jordan, in dire need of water and keen on rescuing the Dead Sea, has decided to start work on a 200km-long canal even before its environmental study is complete and without help from proposed partners, Israel and Palestine-ruled West Bank. Upset over years of inaction and delayed international aid, the project head of Jordan, Fayez Batayneh, said, “Jordan is thirsty and can’t wait longer.” The country faces an acute water crisis due to steady rise in residential, industrial and agricultural demands. The fast receding Dead Sea is also affecting the region’s tourism and chemical industries that thrive on the salt lake’s unique composition; scientists say the lake would go dry by 2050. The project, agreed in 2005, aims to pump seawater uphill from Red Sea’s Gulf of Aqaba, carry it across the valley and run it down into the Dead Sea. Some of the water will be desalinated en route and the rest will be used to produce electricity before filling the Dead Sea. The desalinated water and electri - city would be shared among the three countries. Green groups fear mixing the two types of water—Dead Sea water is 11 times saltier than seawater—may alter the lake’s composition triggering side effects. The project will also affect Gulf of Aqaba’s coral ecology.
Divided EU endangers tuna
EU failed to protect the bluefin tuna, after the bloc’s Mediterranean members refused to back even a temporary ban on catches of the critically endangered fish. The European Commission wanted a ban on commercial fishing until stocks recovered, but Greece, Cyprus, Malta, Spain, France and Italy—which have a strong fishing lobby—blocked the move. Green groups said the discord has pushed the tuna to a point of no return. EU was to present a united stand at the next meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna in Brazil in November for a global ban; that seems unlikely now.
Five quakes in a week
Five powerful earthquakes and a tsunami shook the Pacific Ocean in just a week. An undersea quake came first. Of 8.0-magnitude, it triggered a tsunami in Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga on September 29, killing at least 180 people. The region was struck again by a 6.3- quake on October 2. Two 7.6-quakes rattled the Indonesian island of Sumatra on September 30 and again on October 1. It left more than 1,800 people buried under the rubble. The same day, a 5.9-magnitude quake struck Peru. All these regions lie on the tectonically active Ring of Fire on the Pacific Ocean. Are the quakes connected? A University of California study found earthquake may affect faults at surprisingly great distances. So even if Samoa is roughly 6,400km from Indonesia, the quakes might have been linked. “But it’s too early to make a conclusion,” said Taka’aki Taira, lead researcher.
Birds owe feathers to dinosaur
Birds have probably descended from a small four-winged dinosaur that lived 160 million years ago, said scientists who recently found an “exceptionally well-preserved fossil” of a bird-like dinosaur, Anchiornis huxleyi, from northeastern China. Until now, A. huxleyi was thought to be the contemporary of a primitive bird Archaeopteryx that flew 150 million years ago. The opinions were, however, based on incomplete fossils. The complete fossil, discovered by Xing Xu from the Chinese Academy of Science in Beijing, suggests A. huxleyi lived 10 million years before Archaeopteryx and had both dinosaur and avian features. It had long feathers covering its arms, tail as well as feet. Though they are not sure if A. huxleyi could fly, evolutionary biologists have suggested a four-winged condition played a role in the origin of flight.
Thailand makes breakthrough
After two decades of research, scientists have developed a vaccine against HIV that is effective. Its clinical trial, deemed the world’s largest, was carried out on more than 16,000 volunteers in Thailand for six years. Announcing the result, the country’s health minister Withaya Kaewparadai said , “The vaccine has 31.2 per cent efficacy.” This does not qualify the vaccine for production as clinical trials should prove more than 50 per cent efficacy before it is accepted for general use. The vaccine, formulated to protect against the virus subtype dominant in Thailand, may not work in other countries where different subtypes drive the infection. The outcome is a breakthrough, said Kaewparadai, because for the first time it shows a vaccine for AIDS can work.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
US moves a small step forward
Unwilling to wait for Congress to act, the US President Barack Obama authorized the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to go ahead with new rules to regulate GHG emissions from power plants and large industries. The new rules, EPA administrator Lisa Jackson, said, would apply to only large-scale industries, including power plants and refineries, responsible for 70 per cent of the US emissions. About 400 power plants, both new and those under renovation, would implement the latest emission reduction technologies and 14,000 industrial facilities would require new construction and operation permits. The rules, which will take effect in 2011, would focus on six GHG gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.
Desperate, China shops for oil
In its drive to secure energy supplies for the country’s fast-growing economy, China’s state-owned oil major, CNOOC, is negotiating to buy up one-sixth of Nigeria’s oil reserves. Industry sources say it is ready to pay up to a whopping US $50 billion to seal the deal. CNOOC is vying to buy the licenses, long-owned by Western oil companies such as Chevron and Shell, which have either expired or due to expire over the next few years. The International Energy Agency forecasts China must import almost two-thirds of its oil needs by 2012.
23 million at risk in East Africa
A severe drought has parched much of East Africa this year. Aid agencies say it is possibly the worst since 1991. More than 23 million people across Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, Sudan, Djibouti and Tanzania are in need of emergency food aid and malnutrition is above the emergency level. The World Food Programme said it needs US $3 billion to plug a budget shortfall without which it will have to halve the number of people it supports in Africa.
9 rhinos to breed in secret
Conservationists airlifted nine black rhinos in mid-September from South Africa’s Ezemvelo KwaZulu-Natal national park to an unknown destination to ensure survival of the critically endangered animal. The park authorities refused to make the new destination public, at least for the time being, to keep poachers at bay. The project is to help the rhinos breed and revive their dwindling number in the country, they said. Black rhinos are poached for their horns; their population has dropped from 65,000 in 1973 to 3,600 now.
GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS
Luxurious Airbus318 slammed
Green lobbyists have accused UK’s flagship carrier British Airways of hypocrisy. The company added a luxurious airline between London and New York just days after its chief executive, Willie Walsh, said the aircraft industry is committed to cut emissions to 50 per cent below 2005 levels by 2050. The airline said Airbus318 generates onefourth the carbon emitted by Boeing 747. Green groups said the customized Airbus318 will carry 32 passengers, as against its typical 100-seat capacity; the per person emission will be three times that of a passenger on a regular flight.