Published: Tuesday 15 May 2007

>> After the Umm Nasser sewage flood, Gaza Strip now risks another such deluge (see 'Sewage flood', Down To Earth, April 30, 2007). The UN has warned that another cesspool near Beit Lahiya town in the northern Gaza is on the verge of collapse and residents of the al-Firdaus area are at high risk.

Responding to the UN's warning, the Palestinian Water Authority (PWA) said that its plan to pump out wastewater from the cesspool to nine new wastewater basins in east Gaza city is underway, but it might take two more months to begin. The effort is part of the North Gaza Waste Water Project, which has been delayed for over two years now. According to the deputy chairman of PWA, Redhy el-Sheikh, the project has been in limbo since the Israelis stopped delivering materials to the area, which is under the control of Palestinian authorities. As an interim arrangement, PWA plans to empty a portion of the cesspool to local wastewater basins.

>> Following Australia's announcement of the Global Forests Initiative on Forests and Climate, the US has agreed to join hands with Canberra to address climate change (see 'Oz initiative questioned', Down To Earth, April 30, 2007). "The two countries have agreed to work together... to identify and implement priority projects to reduce global deforestation and improve forest management," notes a joint statement released by the Australian and US governments. According to media reports, the Australian environment minister Malcolm Turnbull met World Bank officials during a visit to Washington to discuss the potential for collaboration on deforestation projects. From the US, Turnbull will travel to Jakarta for talks with the Indonesian government. In coming months he will meet the governments of the UK, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand and Japan to mobilise support for the initiative.

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