Hundreds of flamingos died in a dried-up lake
Hundreds of flamingos died in a dried-up lake

Hundreds of flamingos were found dead last week in a dried-up area of ​​Lake Tuz (Salt Lake) in the central Turkish province of Konya.

The lake – the second largest in Turkey and one of the largest hypersaline lakes in the world – is one of the favorite habitats of migratory animals and has long been a place for hatching flamingos. Although it is shallow and has little rainfall throughout the year, its salty nature favors the nesting of migratory birds. However, the drought caused by climate change has reduced the lake’s waters, making food a challenge for flamingos.

Hundreds of birds have now been scattered among the lake in the Konya district of Jihanbeyli. The birds had arrived at the lake in March for their incubation season. Mehmet Emin Öztürk, a nature photographer who is a frequent visitor to the area in the summer, says Lake Tuz was “a paradise for flamingos, but has now become a nightmare”.

“It was a wetland where you could see hundreds of flamingos last year. This time there is no water or live birds. The water receded in a section of about 10 km, “he told the Ihlas Haber news agency.

Bird watchers say 5,000 to 10,000 flamingos are born each year during Lake Ace’s hatching season. So far, only 5,000 have hatched. Fahri Tunch, another photographer, says most birds have died from drought. Tunc told the Demiroren news agency that the excessive use of water from the lake for irrigation was also to blame for the reduction in water levels.

Efforts are being made to promote new irrigation techniques that save water in the region.

The Konya district administration said a commission of experts was investigating “the causes of the flamingos’ deaths and potential measures to prevent the problem.”

However, the situation is not limited to Lake Tuz. Drought, along with pollution, has also been cited as a major cause of recent mass seagull deaths in lakes near Istanbul and the eastern province of Van.

Temperatures in the country are constantly rising due to climate change, which leads to a significant reduction in water resources. Experts warn that a water crisis is expected in Turkey over the next decade.

Professor Doanai Tolunai of Istanbul University warns that the dry season continues in the inner Anatolian region, where Konya is located, as well as in eastern Anatolia from 2020. Tolunai said the two regions received very low rainfall last year – around 350 mlm., and the situation is particularly difficult for agriculture.

Professor Murat Turkes of the Center for Climate Change and Policy Research at Boazici University said that

“In fact, climate modeling shows that 60% of the land, with the exception of the Black Sea region and parts of southern Turkey, has an annual water shortage. “Obviously, we will have a serious water crisis in the next ten years,” he said.

What to do when meeting a bear face to face?
What to do when meeting a bear face to face?

One very important thing is that, in fact, people who visit the mountains need to be literate about where they are going, which has been a big problem in recent years. Everyone thinks that the mountain is something wonderful and wonderful, with flowers and herbs, where he can do whatever he wants. In fact, this is not the case. This mountain has its own life and rules that we must follow. One thing is clear – that nature is exploited, in the case of mushrooms, herbs, etc., regardless of the fact that in it find peace various protected species. We have to be very careful and cautious when we go to the mountains. Therefore, we can consult with representatives of the nearby hunting or forestry. People will kindly explain to us where we can and where we cannot go, where it is not allowed or not recommended, where we run the risk of encountering this type of conflict. Keep in mind that the bear is one of the most non-confrontational animals in the mountains. She can feel and smell you for miles and run away. Another issue is that the bear in this case was placed in an ambush situation – there were groups on both sides to pick mushrooms. And she, of course, began to do the most normal thing – to exercise her instincts for self-preservation. So my opinion as a person who has been in the mountains for many years, has met all kinds of wild animals, including bears, is to be careful where we go. In this case, too, the bear should not be punished, as it acted at the first sign to save its life and defend itself.

 What should be our reactions when meeting a bear?

The main thing we have to observe in an area with bears is to talk out loud, to make noise. It would be good to buy a simple whistle, to talk, and not be quiet. The bear will sense us and retreat. She is a non-aggressive creature. When searching for food, sometimes he may not hear us, we may meet and be surprised. If this happens, there are a few rules. First, let’s not look the bears in the eye. We should slowly leave the backpack on the ground, facing it, but lower our heads. Then we have to slowly move away. The bear will growl, turn, maybe see what’s in the backpack. The idea is to leave her something to distract her from us. In the more unacceptable version, it is possible for the bear to chase us. If it’s flat or uphill, we have absolutely no chance. But due to the anatomical specifics of her front paws, which are a little shorter, we have a chance to save ourselves if we start running from a high slope down.

Are teddy bears the most dangerous?

The bears are very curious and agile. If we see a little bear, it should be a clear sign that mom is around and that we need to get away as quickly as possible.

Smokers pollute the environment the most
Smokers pollute the environment the most

Smokers, who number about 1.3 billion people worldwide, improperly emit about 4.5 trillion cigarette butts a year, and they are the most polluting things on the planet. The data are from STOP – an organization against smoking.

This staggering number is only part of the global damage inflicted by the tobacco industry. Tobacco is not only grown on deforested lands, but also “degrades soil quality and pollutes the air, land and water.”

Every year, billions of trees are cut down for cigarette production – 5 percent of the world’s deforestation. According to the STOP organization, cigarette butts account for about 20 percent of the waste collected by cleaning the oceans. The chemicals released from the butts are toxic enough to kill 50 percent of the freshwater and saltwater fish exposed to them for 96 hours, according to experiments cited by the organization.

The damage will increase with e-cigarettes. Their waste products could become an “even greater threat to the environment” than cigarettes, the organization warned, because they contain metal, electronics, disposable plastic fillers, batteries and toxic chemicals in the liquid. In addition to polluting the environment, smoking kills 8 million people a year worldwide and causes significant health care costs.

New idea to combat climate change: Planting trees across Europe will increase rainfall
New idea to combat climate change: Planting trees across Europe will increase rainfall

Planting additional trees to combat climate change across Europe could also increase rainfall, research shows. A new study has found that converting agricultural land into forest will increase average summer rains by 7.6%.

The authors believe that additional rain may partially offset the increase in dry conditions expected with climate change. The findings for increasing precipitation are based in part on observations of existing models.

But the main reasons are less clear – they are probably related to the way forests interact with cloudy air.

Tree planting has become a major part of many countries’ efforts to tackle climate change around the world. A number of studies have looked at the range of impacts, both positive and negative, that the planting boom is likely to bring. This new document examines the impact of the conversion of agricultural land across Europe into sustainable forests.

The authors use a statistical model based on observation to assess how changes in forest cover would affect rainfall across the continent. Researchers have found that if there is a 20% increase in forests, evenly across Europe, it will increase local rainfall, especially in winter and with a greater impact in coastal regions.

But like local rains, planting new forests also affects the wind. Scientists have found that rainfall in these places has increased, especially during the summer months. Taking the two impacts together, in what the team describes as a realistic reforestation scenario, they found that overall rainfall increased by 7.6% over the summer.

This is a very important finding, according to lead author Ronnie Meyer of ETH Zurich. This also has implications for climate change.

“Probably the most threatening signal of climate change that we expect in terms of rainfall is the reduction in summer rainfall that is expected in the southern parts of Europe, such as the Mediterranean. According to our study, afforestation is likely to be very useful in terms of adapting to the adverse effects of climate change, “he told BBC News.

But the authors also point out that increased rainfall could have a potential negative impact, especially in the Atlantic region. The authors say the reasons for these local and remote effects on rainfall are uncertain and point out that rain-producing clouds tend to linger longer over forested areas.

“Planting trees is certainly not a quick fix for climate change. The addition of new trees or the restoration of lost forests can never compensate for greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. First of all, we need to stop generating these emissions, “said Professor Wim Thierry of the Free University of Brussels, Belgium, who was not involved in the new study.

“But reducing our emissions will not be enough: we will also have to actively remove carbon from the atmosphere if we want to stay below 1.5 ° C for warming. “From this point of view, planting trees is emerging as a potential candidate for generating these negative emissions, but planting trees should never be an excuse not to take any action to reduce our carbon emissions,” he concluded.

The Environmental Toll of Disposable Masks – And How To Reduce It
The Environmental Toll of Disposable Masks – And How To Reduce It

Discarded Mask

A new study calculates the waste generated by N95 usage and suggests possible ways to reduce it.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began last year, face masks and other personal protective equipment have become essential for health care workers. Disposable N95 masks have been in especially high demand to help prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19.

All of those masks carry both financial and environmental costs. The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to generate up to 7,200 tons of medical waste every day, much of which is disposable masks. And even as the pandemic slows down in some parts of the world, health care workers are expected to continue wearing masks most of the time.

That toll could be dramatically cut by adopting reusable masks, according to a new study from MIT that has calculated the financial and environmental cost of several different mask usage scenarios. Decontaminating regular N95 masks so that health care workers can wear them for more than one day drops costs and environmental waste by at least 75 percent, compared to using a new mask for every encounter with a patient.

Mask Waste

The Covid-19 pandemic is estimated to generate up to 7,200 tons of medical waste every day, much of which is disposable masks. Credit: Stock photo

“Perhaps unsurprisingly, the approaches that incorporate reusable aspects stand to have not only the greatest cost savings, but also significant reduction in waste,” says Giovanni Traverso, an MIT assistant professor of mechanical engineering, a gastroenterologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the senior author of the study.

The study also found that fully reusable silicone N95 masks could offer an even greater reduction in waste. Traverso and his colleagues are now working on developing such masks, which are not yet commercially available.

Jacqueline Chu, a physician at Massachusetts General Hospital, is the lead author of the study, which appears in the British Medical Journal Open.

Reduce and reuse

In the early stages of the Covid-19 pandemic, N95 masks were in short supply. At many hospitals, health care workers were forced to wear one mask for a full day, instead of switching to a new one for each patient they saw. Later on, some hospitals, including MGH and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, began using decontamination systems that use hydrogen peroxide vapor to sterilize masks. This allows one mask to be worn for a few days.

Last year, Traverso and his colleagues began developing a reusable N95 mask that is made of silicone rubber and contains an N95 filter that can be either discarded or sterilized after use. The masks are designed so they can be sterilized with heat or bleach and reused many times.

“Our vision was that if we had a reusable system, we could reduce the cost,” Traverso says. “The majority of disposable masks also have a significant environmental impact, and they take a very long time to degrade. During a pandemic, there’s a priority to protect people from the virus, and certainly that remains a priority, but for the longer term, we have to catch up and do the right thing, and strongly consider and minimize the potential negative impact on the environment.”

Throughout the pandemic, hospitals in the United States have been using different mask strategies, based on availability of N95 masks and access to decontamination systems. The MIT team decided to model the impacts of several different scenarios, which encompassed usage patterns before and during the pandemic, including: one N95 mask per patient encounter; one N95 mask per day; reuse of N95 masks using ultraviolet decontamination; reuse of N95 masks using hydrogen peroxide sterilization; and one surgical mask per day.

They also modeled the potential cost and waste generated by the reusable silicone mask that they are now developing, which could be used with either disposable or reusable N95 filters.

According to their analysis, if every health care worker in the United States used a new N95 mask for each patient they encountered during the first six months of the pandemic, the total number of masks required would be about 7.4 billion, at a cost of $6.4 billion. This would lead to 84 million kilograms of waste (the equivalent of 252 Boeing 747 airplanes).

They also found that any of the reusable mask strategies would lead to a significant reduction in cost and in waste generated. If each health care worker were able to reuse N95 masks that were decontaminated with hydrogen peroxide or ultraviolet light, costs would drop to $1.4 billion to $1.7 billion over six months, and 13 million to 18 million kilograms of waste would result (the equivalent of 39 to 56 747s).

Those numbers could potentially be reduced even further with a reusable, silicone N95 mask, especially if the filters were also reusable. The researchers estimated that over six months, this type of mask could reduce costs to $831 million and waste to 1.6 million kilograms (about five 747s).

“Masks are here to stay for the foreseeable future, so it’s critical that we incorporate sustainability into their use, as well as the use of other disposable personal protective equipment that contribute to medical waste,” Chu says.

Environmental burden

The data the researchers used for this study were gathered during the first six months of the pandemic in the United States (late March 2020 to late September 2020). Their calculations are based on the total number of health care workers in the United States, the number of Covid-19 patients at the time, and the length of hospital stay per patient, among other factors. Their calculations do not include any data on mask usage by the general public.

“Our focus here was on health care workers, so it’s likely an underrepresentation of the total cost and environmental burden,” Traverso notes.

While vaccination has helped to reduce the spread of Covid-19, Traverso believes health care workers will likely continue to wear masks for the foreseeable future, to protect against not only Covid-19 but also other respiratory diseases such as influenza.

He and others have started a company called Teal Bio that is now working on further refining and testing their reusable silicone mask and developing methods for mass manufacturing it. They plan to seek regulatory approval for the mask later this year. While cost and environmental impact are important factors to consider, the effectiveness of the masks also needs to be a priority, Traverso says.

“Ultimately, we want the systems to protect us, so it’s important to appreciate whether the decontamination system is compromising the filtering capacity or not,” he says. “Whatever you’re using, you want to make sure you’re using something that’s going to protect you and others.”

Reference: “Thinking green: modelling respirator reuse strategies to reduce cost and waste” by Jacqueline Chu, Omkar Ghenand, Joy Collins, James Byrne, Adam Wentworth, Peter R. Chai, Farah Dadabhoy, Chin Hur and Giovanni Traverso, 18 July 2021, BMJ Open.
DOI:

The research was funded by the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the National Institutes of Health, and MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering. Other authors of the paper include Omkar Ghenand, an MIT undergraduate; Joy Collins, a senior clinical research coordinator at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a former MIT technical associate; James Byrne, a radiation oncologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and research affiliate at MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Adam Wentworth, a research engineer at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a research affiliate at the Koch Institute; Peter Chai, an emergency medicine physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital; Farah Dadabhoy, an MIT research affiliate; and Chin Hur, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Columbia University.

Scaling-up off-grid solar across Africa
Scaling-up off-grid solar across Africa

EIB and International Solar Alliance study identifies solutions to unlock energy access for 120 million households

New analysis identifies challenges and solutions to transform clean energy; In-depth research in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda provides framework for continent; Study provides specific policy guidance for African countries based on barriers; EIB (www.EIB.org) confirms financial and technical support for off-grid to transforming energy access for 120 million African households lacking electricity.

The European Investment Bank and the International Solar Alliance today published a new study outlining solutions to overcome key affordability and investment challenges holding back off-grid solar investment across Africa.

“Increased use of off-grid solar technology across Africa is essential to harness clean and affordable energy and transform the lives of millions of people. The new European Investment Bank and International Solar Alliance study published today combines experience and expertise from successful off-grid deployment to outline how investment can be unlocked to increase access to solar power. The ground-breaking analysis demonstrates how closer cooperation between African, European and global partners can unlock investment and technical barriers that hold back sustainable development and the green transition.” said Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President.

“The joint International Solar Alliance – European Investment Bank study outlines a pathway to unlock access to off-grid solar in Africa. This builds on proven success, expert insight and commercial experience to identify and overcome investment gaps and financial barriers holding back off-grid solar. The study details what can be done to increase access to clean energy to off-grid rural areas including refugee camps, urban areas and remote villages across Africa.”  said Dr Ajay Mathur, Director General of the International Solar Alliance.

Unblocking off-grid energy investment to enable a better future for millions

At present more than 120 million households across Africa lack access to reliable and affordable energy, with 60 million households expected to remain without electricity by 2030 unless urgent action is taken.

The new in-depth overview of recent private sector led deployment of small-scale solar energy systems across sub-Saharan Africa identifies five key challenges that can be addressed to unlock high-impact local energy investment essential for sustainable development and economic growth on the continent.

The study, based on detailed consultations in Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria and analysis of off-grid markets across the region, provides recommendations for effective intervention to scale up off-grid solar deployment depending on specific local issues.

Sharing best-practice that allows investment and technical barriers holding back off-grid solar is key crucial to scale up off-grid solar, allow vulnerable and remote communities to access clean energy and deliver the sustainable development goal of universal access to reliable and affordable energy.

New study provide technical and business solutions to scale up off-grid solar across Africa

Commissioned by the European Investment Bank, in partnership with the International Solar Alliance, and compiled by development advisors Dalberg, the new study gathers local technical and financial experience and insight from successful deployment of off-grid solar investment in Africa.

This includes examining how off-grid solar investment has benefits refugee communities in Uganda and enabled cost-effective energy access in Nigerian cities.

Sharing best-practice with development finance partners

Investment challenges including affordability, working capital and exchange rate risks and political and economic stability holding back private sector investment in off-grid solar can be reduced through combining commercial financing and support form development finance partners.

The key recommendations of the study outline different models of intervention to overcome financing, technical and customer challenges to scale up off-grid solar deployment were highlighted ahead of final publication in specialist workshops attended by representatives of AfD, KfW, FMO and the European Commission.

Breaking down barriers to scaling up off-grid solar

The report published today examines off-grid solar investment across Africa and assesses how investment barriers including affordability, equipment supply, access to working capital, regulatory challenges, insurance and technical expertise influence and hinder deployment.

The analysis uses solutions developed in local case studies to suggest how examples such as aggregated purchase of solar home systems can reduce costs and rapidly enable low-income, urban and rural communities and refugees to access reliable energy through sustainable private sector led off-grid solar projects.

The study, based on the analysis by specialised development consulting firm Dalberg, was compiled following in-depth research on government policy, on discussions with energy, business and development finance stakeholders across Africa and stakeholder workshops in Nigeria, Uganda and Rwanda.

The European Investment Bank is supporting 8 off-grid solar projects across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Last year the EIB provided EUR 5 million for private and public investment across Africa and is supporting off-grid solar across Africa including projects in, Chad, Comores, Gambia, Kenya, Mozambique and Uganda.

Link to Commercial and Economic Feasibility Study for Enhancing Off-Grid Solar Inclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa report: https://bit.ly/2Ut7bag
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European Investment Bank (EIB).
Background information: The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.

The International Solar Alliance is undertaking joint efforts to reduce financing costs and the cost of solar technology applications and services. The ISA seeks to help countries mobilize $1 trillion of investment for a massive deployment of solar energy technologies and expand solar markets. This would help achieve three different but interlinked objectives: promoting a clean energy transition, enabling energy access and energy security, and delivering a new economic driver for all countries. 

Press contacts: EIB: Richard Willis r.willis@eib.org Tel.: +352 43 79 82155 Mobile:  +352 621 55 57 58 Website: www.EIB.org/press

Press Office: +352 4379 21000 press@eib.org

ISA: Cécile Martin-Phipps cecile.martinphipps@isolaralliance.org Mobile:  +33 6 32 95 41 53 Website: https://ISolarAlliance.org

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