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not a nice climate for pollution

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-09 17:15

It's topped 36 deg. C in Cape Town today, with nary a breath of air. Driving to work this morning, there was a nasty brown haze spoiling the view in pretty much every direction, but was most apparent coming around hospital bend and looking down from the M3 over the harbour. Yak! Just as well we have the Kaapse Dokter blowing that vuilte away most of the time.

The roads are full of bicycles, not cyclists mind you, but plenty of sporty frames stuck on the back of 4x4's, Volvo's and BM's. Maybe the annual influx of Argus cyclists descending on the City also contributed to the air quality this morning. The irony's not lost on me either ;-)

pollution stormpollution stormContinuing on the pollution theme, a Texas-based study says pollution in Asia is altering global weather patterns by creating larger clouds and more intense storms. The study shows a definitive link between human activities and shifts in storm patterns that influence weather worldwide. The storms affect global air and heat circulation and may be linked to warming in polar regions. [National Geographic]

The IPCC Climate Change report was watered down according to David Wasdell, an independent analyst of climate change. He says the preliminary version produced in April 2006 contained many references to the potential for faster climate change because of "positive feedbacks", but these references were absent from the final version. His analysis can be viewed here.

Spiegel Online also ran a good feature on the impacts of climate change being more extensive than reported by the UN's IPCC report.

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greening it up - fri 02 mar 07

Submitted by turbosprout on Fri, 2007-03-02 13:04

Anyone smell a plastic-gate scandal? We've been paying levies on plastic bags for close on four years during which the Department of Environment Affairs has been receiving R20 million a year to set up plastic buy-back centres across the country. According to Environmental Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, "the [not for profit] company has established over 10 buy-back centres nationally".

4 years. R80 mil. 10 buy-back centres (anybody seen them?). Does not compute. Cost to the environment? [IOL]

Woolworths have pulled some lines of pet food from their shelves after they were found to be contaminated. Their branded dry dog and cat food contained traces of ethylene-glycol, a type of coolant, apparently originating from a supplier in Europe. [IOL]

rietvlei eco-disaster cleanup

Submitted by turbosprout on Tue, 2007-01-02 16:59

pic: Rogan Ward, Cape Arguspic: Rogan Ward, Cape ArgusAn estimated 60 tons of fish have been removed from the Rietvlei Wetland Reserve near Milnerton / Table View, Cape Town since Christmas, after dying as a result of a lack of oxygen in the water.

Acting reserve manager, Dalton Gibbs, says the quality of the water will be tested tomorrow and on Thursday and the reserve may be open by this weekend.

Gibbs said the samples would determine if there were any specific pollutants in the water that has caused the massive die-off, which started early on Christmas Day.

However, Gibbs suspected that it was a case of the vlei having reached a point where it could absorb no more of the high load of organic pollutants that flowed in from the storm water drains.

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global electronics companies rated on their 'green' credentials

Submitted by turbosprout on Thu, 2006-09-14 15:37

Greenpeace recently ranked top electronics manufacturers on their use of toxic chemicals and their e-waste policies in their quarterly Green Electronics Guide.

The ranking criteria reflect the Toxic Tech campaign's two demands of electronics companies.

    clean up products by eliminating hazardous substances;
    takeback and recycle products responsibly once they become obsolete.

I was not too surprised that European company, Nokia was ranked at the top of the log. Albeit they still have some way to go in order to impress Greenpeace, clocking in at a rating of 7 on a nominal scale of 10.

Innovation and design leaders Apple failed to make the grade scoring a measely 2.7 and coming 11th out of 14 companies rated. So maybe owning an iPod is not so cool after all?

Admittedly the Guide does not take into account labour practices, energy use or other environmental issue

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