Monthly Archives: October 2019

Solar powered “Interceptor” unvieled

The Dutch inventor of Ocean Cleanup is now looking to try to atop plastic pollution at the source. Boyan Slat the 25 yr old inventor, unveiled the”Interceptor”, a floating solar powered device designed to scoop out plastic from rivers. The idea is to prevent the plastic from getting into the ocean in the first place.

 

About 8 million metric tons of plastic enters the world’s oceans annually, where it threatens marine life. Ocean Cleanups original idea of scooping plastic out of the ocean was fine, but it was pointed out that marine life was put in peril by this technique. Work began on the idea of stopping the plastic in the rivers , at the source as it were.

1,000 rivers dump around 80% of the plastic into our oceans. Targeting these rivers with 1,000 Interceptors would go a long way to helping. So far rivers in Indonesia, Malaysia , and Vietnam have units working on them. A fourth in the Dominican Republic will soon be installed.

 

On average a unit can collect 50,000 kilos of plastic daily, or 20,000 tons a year. The Interceptor is intended to be mass produced and used in rivers around the world.

Lakes worldwide see more severe algae blooms.

The intensity of summer algae blooms has increased over the past 3 decades according to the first ever global survey of dozens of large fresh water lakes.

Reports of algae blooms are growing. They are harmful in their intensity of their growth, or because they include populations of toxin producing phytoplankton. Before this recent study it was unclear if things were getting worse, or the degree to which human activity- agriculture, urbanization, and climate change was contributing.

 

Toxic algae blooms affect drinking water, agriculture, fishing, recreation , and tourism. Studies indicate that blooms in the USA result in a loss of $4 billion.

The study concludes the algae blooms really are getting more wide spread and more intense. The reasons for this increase can vary from lake to lake. One clear finding was that among the lakes that improved at any point over the 30 yr span looked at were the ones that experienced the least warming. The suggestion being that climate warming is playing a role.

Quebec to review how it tests drinking water.

Quebec Premier Legault says the province is planning to change how it tests drinking water for lead. An investigative report published on Wednesday  revealed the sampling method presently used does not accurately measure the true levels of exposure.

The report based on sampling data released by municipalities through access 0f information legislation and independent lab tests revealed that the province is not collecting all of the samples recommended by Health Canada, and is instead using a testing method that was abandoned by U.S. cities 30 yrs ago.

 

The testing method requires flushing out taps for 5 minutes before taking a sample , which means it won’t accurately capture the lead that has collected overnight in pipes that could be consumed when the taps are turned on in the morning.

Premier Legault says there will be a review. Quebec has previously said it would be reviewing it’s regulations before March 2020, in response to new recommendations made earlier by Health Canada.

Some questions answered

How much of the Earth is water in 2019?

71%..with 96.5% being salt water.

How much water do we use everyday?

Estimates can vary, but each person uses about 80-100 gallons of water per day. The largest single use is to flush the toilet…after that showers and baths.

Can the Earth run out of water?

Water as a vapor in our atmosphere could potentially escape into space from Earth. As a whole we may never run out of water, but clean ,fresh water is not always available where and when we need it. 50% of the world’s fresh water can be found in only 6 countries.

We can not live without water…let us take care of it and ourselves.

The Damage from Hurricane Dorian in the Atlantic Provinces

Hurricane Dorian hit the Atlantic provinces on Sept.7, 2019, causing 105 million in insured damage. 70% of the damage was to personnel property, 25% to commercial property, and 5% to vehicles.

$22.5 million insured damage in New Brunswick.

$2.5 million in insured damage in Newfoundland and Labrador.

$62.2 million in insured damage in Nova Scotia.

$17.5 million in insured damage in PEI.

$300,000 in insured damage in Quebec

Geographically Halifax, Moncton, and much of PEI suffered a large portion of the damage..although reports of damage was wide spread.

 

When it hit on September 7 it was a post tropical storm but was still hurricane strength with sustained winds of 155mph. Due to rain saturated ground and trees being in full leaf many large trees were uprooted causing many power outages. The heavy rain also caused flooding of homes and businesses.

Hurricane Dorian shows again how devastating Mother Nature can be. Severe, unpredictable weather is becoming more frequent, resulting in higher costs to homeowners, insurers, and governments. Last year in Canada insured damage in Canada exceeded $2 billion.

…and it appears to be getting worse.

Ditch the delicate wash cycle to save our seas.

New research led by Newcastle University has shown it is the volume of water used during the wash cycle  rather than the spinning action which is the key in releasing plastic microfibres from clothes.

 

Millions of plastic fibres are shed every time we wash our clothes. These tiny fibres drain out of our washing machines and potentially out into the marine environment.

Once out in the oceans these micro fibers are injested by the fish, and it has been proven that they are now present in the deepest parts of our oceans.

The N.U. team measured the release of the plastic fibers from polyester clothing for a range of cycles and water volumes. Counting the fibres released , the team found the higher the volume of water the more microfibers released. 800,000 more fibers were released in a delicate wash than a standard cycle.

 

Ethiopia dam dispute

In East Africa water is precious with several countries depending on the Nile river.

Now a new dam in Ethiopia could threaten supply downstream.

Sudan, Ethiopia, and Egypt are holding an emergency meeting in Khartoum to discuss sharing the water.