‘Overtourism’: Surges in unsustainable tourism are destroying islands in the Pacific

May 8, 2019 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on ‘Overtourism’: Surges in unsustainable tourism are destroying islands in the Pacific

The tourism industry is booming throughout the world but nowhere more noticeably than on the small tropical islands of Southeast Asia. Millions of tourists flock to these remote islands every day to enjoy the beaches and snorkel among the coral reef, but the traffic and waste they produce has forced some ecosystems to reach their breaking point. “Overtourism” is the new term for the overpopulation of tourists who wreak havoc on fragile ecosystems. Many Asian governments have had to close entire islands in order to allow habitats and species (like sharks and sea turtles) to rehabilitate. The environmental impact of overtourism The primary reasons that mass tourism negatively impacts the environment include: Discharge of human waste directly into the ocean by boats, cruise ships and hotels A government survey in the Philippines revealed that 716 out of 834 businesses on the famous Boracay Island did not have wastewater permits and were indiscriminately dumping sewage and waste into the water. Cruise ships, private yachts and many hotels along the coasts also dump waste directly into the ocean . Toxic chemicals from sunscreens pollute young coral species Sunscreens that contain oxybenzone and octinoxate have been found to alter the DNA of young corals , prohibiting normal and healthy growth. Related: Hawaii bans reef-killing chemical sunscreens Massive amounts of garbage and plastic pollution According to the Ocean Conservancy, China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand are responsible for up to 60 percent of all plastic pollution in the ocean. Globally, eight million tons of plastic enter the ocean every year. Related: New study reveals microplastics are in the air Unsustainable development and the destruction of key habitats, like mangroves Almost 50 percent of all mangrove forests have been destroyed in countries including India, the Philippines and Vietnam. Mangroves are systematically cleared to make way for hotels, resorts and white sand beaches, but healthy mangroves are an essential part of healthy coastal ecosystems. Mangroves protect beaches from erosion and provide critical nursery and breeding grounds for young fish and other species. Why are there so many tourists? The rapid rise in tourism is mostly because of expanding middle classes in many countries. More people are able to afford vacations and travel, particularly in China. In 2018, Chinese citizens made a total of 150 million trips abroad, compared to just 10 million in 2000. Regardless of the origin of the tourists, Pacific islands’ infrastructure and ecosystems are unable to handle the surge and are in desperate need of regulation and management. “I would argue that tourism has not only been badly managed in general, it’s not been managed at all,” said Randy Durband, chief executive officer of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. Islands close their borders to tourists When tourism began to rise, most island residents were happy to have the jobs and foreign investment, and their governments did not take the time nor resources to develop a management strategy or implement limitations. Now, many governments are scrambling to preserve the very ecosystems that bring tourists to their shores before they are destroyed beyond repair. After calling the waters around Borocay Island a “cesspool,” Filipino President Rodrigo Duerte closed the entire island and launched a large clean-up effort. A new management plan will reduce the daily visitors from 20,000 to approximately 6,000, ban single-use plastics , impose littering fines and ban jet skis from driving within 100 meters of the shore. With these steps, an acceptable rehabilitation of the island is expected to take at least two years. In Thailand, the government closed the famous Maya Bay indefinitely after conservationists reported that over 50 percent of corals had been destroyed. In addition to sunscreen toxins, boat anchors and physical impact from tourists walking on coral and taking pieces as souvenirs cause major damage. Current coral restoration efforts are underway to replant native corals, and species like black tipped reef sharks have reportedly returned. SEE: Can the Cayman Islands save to Caribbean’s remaining coral reefs? Closing islands is an extreme solution, but it demonstrates that many governments are realizing the importance of ecosystems even at the expense of tourism revenue. Sustainable tourism expert Epler Wood said, “We don’t advocate a closing unless it’s an emergency. We recommend balanced management that looks at supply and demand and measured responses based on planning and science that involves regular benchmarking, like water testing .” Tips for sustainable tourism Tips for governments: The nation of Bali has imposed a $10 tax on international passengers that goes directly toward cultural and environmental preservation initiatives, such as waste management. Many tourism-dependent islands in the Pacific and Caribbean have imposed similar tourist fees. In Palau, visitors are required to sign an environmental pledge that is stamped right onto their passports, promising to act respectfully and without damaging ecosystems. Bans on straws and single-use plastics can also be particularly effective on small islands without proper waste management systems. Finally, governments can invest in marine spatial planning and zoning initiatives that identify key vulnerable areas. Such spatial data allows governments to declare zones and enforce allowable activities within the zones, such as protected conservation areas versus recreation areas. Tips for tourists: According to the South China Morning Post, here are five tips to be a more sustainable tourist : Book hotels that employ sustainable initiatives to reduce waste, energy and water consumption. Choose tour operators who give back to the community — and keep tourism benefits within the local economy — by employing locals, supporting local growers and other initiatives. Be a plastic-free traveler and dispose of your garbage correctly. Research sustainable tourism initiatives you might want to support ahead of your trip. Engage in community-based tourism. “The basic model is: educate yourself, do the right thing and try to be of positive benefit,” said Marta Mills, a sustainable tourism specialist. “Act like you are a guest in someone’s home, because you are.” Via Yale360 Images via Mohd Fazlin Mohd Effendy Ooi , Laznes Binch ,  Stefan Munder , Juanjook Torres González and Jose Nicdao

Read the original post: 
‘Overtourism’: Surges in unsustainable tourism are destroying islands in the Pacific

Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem?

March 20, 2019 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem?

Have you ever heard of bioenergy? Or, have you ever wondered where your garbage goes once you throw it out? For many people — especially Americans — once their trash leaves the house, there is no more thought about where it goes or what happens to it. As soon as a sanitation worker picks up your garbage , there is no reason to think about the serious problems that massive amounts of waste can cause. Every year, Americans discard about 250 million tons of resources, making them the largest generator of waste on Earth. Approximately 136 million tons are buried, 89 million tons are composted or recycled  and 33 million tons are burned. Yet, have you ever thought about how those methods of trash disposal impact communities and the environment ? In an effort to dispose of trash in a more eco-friendly way, many countries have started increasing the disposal method of waste-to-energy, or bioenergy , because when the garbage is burned, it generates energy. Some countries have even switched to bioenergy completely, like Sweden, who has actually run out of its own trash and imports 700,000 tons annually to meet the capacity of their waste-to-energy plants. In Norway, they are experimenting with fueling their public transportation system with biogas. According to Energy Central, one kilogram of food waste produces a half liter of fuel . The city of Oslo powers 135 buses with their organic waste. It may seem like a good idea to turn trash into energy, but is the process really as environmentally-friendly as it sounds? Related: Scientists invent a solar panel that produces hydrogen The Controversy When waste is burned to produce energy and heat, the process produces an enormous amount of smoke. Nearly all of that smoke is carbon dioxide, a major greenhouse gas, and there is nothing clean about that. Could this really be better than recycling or even burying trash in a landfill ? Waste-to-energy is not a “renewable” process because unlike solar or wind, once the waste is burned, that’s it. There is no more energy production from that specific resource. Gayle Sloan, chief executive of the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia, says that the goal is to create energy from burning materials that recycling programs leave behind. This means the waste hierarchy is prevention and recycling before bioenergy and landfills. But, according to Jane Bremmer, coordinator of the campaign group Zero Waste Oz, waste-to-energy incinerators are actually a threat to recycling. “We appear to have this system where waste-to-energy incinerations are being allowed to remove material recovery facilities (recycling centers) from their planned projects,” says Bremmer. “They are doing that because it assures their waste stream.” Not only is waste-to-energy emitting greenhouse gasses and threatening recycling, but it can also be polluting the air. Wheelabrator, an incinerator located in Peekskill, New York, burns 2,250 tons of waste every day and provides “clean, renewable electricity.” But, is that an honest claim? The plant emits toxins into the air that can be deadly — 577 million pounds of carbon dioxide and 131,000 pounds of carbon monoxide every year, according to the Emissions Containment Totals Report . Then there is the sulfur dioxide and nitrogen, which means the citizens around that plant are breathing in a plethora of dirty pollutants . Related: Verizon pledges $1 billion for programs that help the environment In Australia, there is also a problem when it comes to funding. Not only are their waste-to-energy plants polluting the air and damaging their recycling programs, but they are also gobbling up cash from government grant and loan programs. “It’s consuming, in a large degree, a petroleum product into an energy stream which produces CO2 equivalent,” says Robin Chapple, Greens Western Australian MP. “We managed to control the emissions, like dioxins, but we are still turning the plastics into a greenhouse gas . If you have a good recycling program which deals well with waste, the feedstock for incineration disappears.” Smart Solutions Inventors from the Center for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) program at the University of New South Wales are attempting to take recycling to the next level . Instead of burning materials to create energy, they have developed a microfactory that can be placed at waste sites that can turn discarded items into molecules which can then be transformed into something new. “If you are using something and then, after a single life, saying, ‘I’m done with it, and I’m going to burn away the fundamental molecules and elements and everything else to release a bit of energy’, then that’s not good,” says UNSW engineering professor Veena Sahajwalla, the head of the SMaRT project. She says that if we simply burn our waste, then we aren’t trying hard enough to find ways to repurpose materials and resources. For Sahajwalla, bioenergy is not the solution to our environmental problems. Via The Guardian Images via Shutterstock

Originally posted here: 
Are bioenergy facilities the solution to the growing garbage problem?

Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

February 12, 2018 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Comments Off on Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

The Vietnamese government has given the green light to Mui Dinh Ecopark, a massive eco-resort expected to become one of Asia’s largest hospitality and leisure developments. Designed by architecture firm Chapman Taylor’s Bangkok studio, the mega-project will span 1,800 acres and comprise seven hotels for a total of 7,000 rooms in addition to a theme park, 500 villas, casino, beach club, and mountain clubhouse. The project is envisioned as a “sustainable destination.” Set on southern Vietnam’s beautiful white sandy shores in Mui Dinh, the enormous eco-resort will take inspiration from the local area’s rich history while paying careful attention to the environment. Little has been revealed on how the massive development plans to reduce its environmental footprint, but the renderings provide some clues: the buildings appear to take cues from the local vernacular with thatched roofs and natural materials rather that concrete construction. The visuals also show an idyllic verdant setting thick with trees while the larger buildings take the form of rounded mountains. Related: Outstanding eco-friendly resort in China is made with recycled and locally-sourced materials “Set on a beautiful site on the east coast of Vietnam, Mui Dinh Ecopark is designed to reflect the key elements of the surrounding environment – sand, sea, salt and sun,” wrote the architects. “Intended as an unrivalled hospitality-led mixed-use development in Asia , the development is inspired by the rich local history of Mui Dinh, particularly that of the Cham tribal culture and architecture as well as the lost world of the last dynasty.” + Chapman Taylor Via ArchDaily Images via Chapman Taylor

See the original post:
Massive eco-resort with a theme park to rise on Vietnams beaches

Delhi residents struggle to breathe as doctors declare air pollution health emergency

November 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Delhi residents struggle to breathe as doctors declare air pollution health emergency

Doctors in Delhi, India’s capital region, have declared a public health emergency over the densely populated, metropolitan area’s extremely high level of air pollution , the breathing of which has been described as the equivalent of smoking 50 cigarettes in a day. The Indian Medical Association has called for the capital city’s upcoming half-marathon to be cancelled to avoid “disastrous health consequences” and urges residents to remain inside to protect themselves from the pollution. Arvind Kejriwal, chief minister of Delhi, described the city as “a gas chamber,” according to the Guardian , while he and other officials work to determine an effective response to the crisis. As the region struggles to breath, state and federal government have been urged to take action to protect its citizens. In response to the public health emergency, schools have been closed while transportation routes have suffered delays under the decreased visibility. While the smog contains a number of noxious chemicals, the most destructive are concentrations of fine pollutants smaller than 2.5 micro-meters, which are so tiny that they are able to slip through natural filters in the human body. These fine pollutants, which include lead, arsenic, cadmium and mercury, have reached concentrations in the air eleven times the level defined as safe by the World Health Organization. “It has terrible effects on every part of your body,” said Dr. Arvind Kumar, chest surgery chairman at Sir Ganga Ram hospital in Delhi, according to the Guardian . “It can precipitate an acute asthma attack and in the long run it will increase their risk of lung cancer .” Related: India to only sell electric cars by 2030 Delhi’s air is polluted for much of the year due to open burning of trash, road dust, exhaust from vehicles, and byproducts of industrial activity. However, it becomes even more unbearable in winter when seasonal changes trap the pollution closer to the ground. Attempts to improve Delhi’s air quality have included traffic rationing, shuttering of local coal power plants , and even banning fireworks during Diwali. Unfortunately, to truly tackle this urgent problem, local, state, and federal governments will need to examine the complex systems that result in an outpouring of pollution and craft comprehensive policies to discourage unhealthy practices and encourage healthy ones. Via The Guardian Images via Depositphotos (1)

Go here to see the original:
Delhi residents struggle to breathe as doctors declare air pollution health emergency

Scientists warn new "super malaria" in SE Asia poses alarming global threat

September 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Scientists warn new "super malaria" in SE Asia poses alarming global threat

If you’re planning a trip to South East Asia , take note. An evolved form of malaria which is resistant to anti-malaria medication is spreading at an “alarming global rate,” according to scientists. The parasite was first documented in Cambodia but quickly migrated to other regions. Researchers predict mass casualties should the “super malaria” spread to Africa , where over 90 percent of cases occur. This “super malaria” is more dangerous than the original malaria parasite , as it cannot be killed with the main anti-malaria drugs. According to the BBC , it was first reported in Cambodia, but quickly spread throughout parts of Thailand , Laos and later, Vietnam. The team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there is a real concern the new malaria may be “untreatable.” Professor Arjen Dondorp, who heads the unit, said, “We think it is a serious threat. It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further [and eventually] jump to Africa .” Related: FDA approves genetically modified mosquitos to fight Zika Each year, approximately 212 million people are affected with the parasite that is spread via blood-sucking mosquitos . Malaria is a major killer of children, especially in poverty-stricken locations. When one begins to notice symptoms of the sickness, the first line of treatment is artemisinin in combination with piperaquine. However, artemisinin is becoming less and less effective, as a letter, published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases , points out. The “super malaria” is now resistant to piperaquine, as well. The letter notes an “alarming rate of failure” with both treatments. Dondorp said about one-third of the time, the treatment failed in Vietnam . In some areas of Cambodia, the failure rate was closer to 60 percent. In Africa, where 92 percent of malaria cases occur, the “super malaria” is expected to be disastrous. It’s now a race against the clock to prevent the blood-transmitted bug from reaching Africa. Said Dondorp, “We have to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths. If I’m honest, I’m quite worried.” “The spread of this malaria ‘superbug’ strain, resistant to the most effective drug we have, is alarming and has major implications for public health globally,” said Michel Chew, from the Welcome Trust medical research charity. “Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria. If nothing is done, this could increase to millions of people every year by 2050.” Via BBC Images via Pixabay

See the original post: 
Scientists warn new "super malaria" in SE Asia poses alarming global threat

Crowdfunded Company Launches Site to Help Eco Nonprofits

May 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco

Comments Off on Crowdfunded Company Launches Site to Help Eco Nonprofits

In 2010, Peter Dering found himself doing what many young 20-somethings do, taking a four-month-long backpacking trip around Asia. He practiced his love of photography by capturing the exotic sights he encountered in each country, but he found his…

The rest is here:
Crowdfunded Company Launches Site to Help Eco Nonprofits

Taiwan is first Asian country to ban eating cats and dogs

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Taiwan is first Asian country to ban eating cats and dogs

Even abject carnivores in the West balk at the idea of raising dogs and cats for their meat, but East and Southeast Asian countries, particularly those mired in poverty, do not share those qualms. As incomes, not to mention concerns over animal welfare, continue to grow in those regions, however, the practice is slowly but steadily on the decline . Taiwan is willing to take the next leap: outlawing it altogether. Legislature passed recently will make the island nation the first in Asia to ban dog and cat consumption, according to Newsweek . After Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen signs the amendments, anyone caught eating dog or cat meat will be fined $8,000. Those involved in slaughtering the animals could face two years in jail and a $60,000 fine. Related: Killing dogs and cats for meat is still legal in 44 U.S. states The move dovetails with an earlier law, passed in 2001, that made illegal the sale of meat and fur of pets for so-called “economic purposes.” Tsai herself is a known animal lover. Last year, she adopted three retired guide dogs, who now cohabit a home with Tsai’s two cats, Think Think and A-Tsai. Via Newsweek Photos by Unsplash

See original here: 
Taiwan is first Asian country to ban eating cats and dogs

Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

November 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Business, Eco, Green

Comments Off on Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

Solar-generating roadways could soon be a reality on roads everywhere, thanks to new technology from Europe. According to Bloomberg , Colas SA, a subsidiary of France’s Bouygues Group has been working on solar panels that are tough enough to handle the load of an 18-wheeler truck – and are currently building them into some French road surfaces, with plans to test the technology across four continents in 2017. These panels have already undergone five years of research and laboratory tests, but before they hit the roads in a major way, the company plans to test them further by building 100 outdoor test sites over the next year. “We wanted to find a second life for a road,” Colas SA’s Wattaway Unit chief technology officer told Bloomberg. “Solar farms use land that could otherwise be for agriculture, while the roads are free.” How does a road made of solar panels withstand the weight of a massive semi truck, you might ask? According to Bloomberg , while the panels are made with ordinary solar cells such as those that might be on your roof, they are layered with several types of plastic on top to create a sturdy casing that can withstand abuse. It has electrical wiring embedded, and is coated with a layer of crushed glass to create an anti-slip surface. Related: Solar Roadways unveils super strong solar panels for roads in a prototypical parking lot Wattaway began testing the new product last month on a kilometer-long site in the French town of Tourouvre. At 2,800 square meters in area, the embedded solar panel array is expected to generate about 280 kilowatts of energy at peak capacity. The company says that’s enough power to light up a town of 5,000 people for a whole year. They also told Bloomberg they intend to test the technology in Calgary, Canada, Georgia, USA, throughout the European Union, Africa and Asia, with plans to commercialize in 2018. Add this innovation to Tesla’s solar roof and what Solar Roadways is doing in the U.S., and it’s been a good year for unconventional applications of solar power. Via Bloomberg Images via Wattaway

Read the rest here:
Rugged solar roads to hit four continents in 2017

Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

October 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Comments Off on Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

Severe flooding caused a wave of destruction and death in Vietnam . At least 21 people have perished in the country, and thousands of homes are completely underwater. Even as the country struggles to recover, Typhoon Sarika threatens even more devastation. Heavy rains caused the flooding, but according to local media, water rushing out from hydropower reserves made the flooding worse. One provincial official told local news organization VnExpress “dam operators should have informed locals properly in advance” and that water levels rose quickly after water flowed out from hydropower plants. Related: 21 rare one-horned Indian rhinos drown in monsoon flooding The Quang Binh province has been hit the hardest; there, around 11 people perished. Crops were damaged and floods carried away livestock. Over 70,000 homes were damaged by the flood in the stricken province, and in the nearby province of Ha Tinh, floods damaged nearly 25,000 homes. Some locals were trapped, and the government commanded military and police to rescue citizens. A major north-south rail transport was also affected by the floods. Conditions could worsen if Typhoon Sarika strikes the country. Vietnam’s weather bureau is predicting the typhoon will hit the northern part of the country possibly on Wednesday , and could lead to landslides and more flooding. Tran Le Dang Hung, a disaster official, told the AP, “We are worried. We have instructed district governments to outlet plans for evacuating people.” Typhoon Sarika caused at least two deaths in the Philippines over the weekend, and displaced over 150,000 people. According to meteorologists , the 2016 monsoon season in Asia has been one of the most extreme seasons in years. El Niño only worsened the weather. Hundreds of people have died in India, Nepal, China, and Pakistan. Millions have had to leave their homes. Via the BBC and The Guardian Images via S B on Flickr and screenshot

Original post: 
Severe flooding in Vietnam wreaks havoc as Typhoon Sarika threatens further destruction

Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

July 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

Predicting the date and time of an earthquake is impossible, but seismologists can use trends in tectonic activity to suggest where a big tremor might occur. A recent study revealed a massive, hidden fault line running under miles of river sediment . Scientists suggest the fault, which runs beneath Bangladesh, parts of east India and Myanmar, could cause a magnitude 8.2 to 9.0 earthquake. A quake of that strength would be devastating in such a densely populated region. http://vimeo.com/26131107 The recently discovered fault has created a lot of work for researchers, who are eager to learn more about it. However, since the fault has been hidden for so long, seismologists aren’t able to say as much about it as other faults around the world that have been under close watch for decades. Without knowledge of the fault’s trends over time, little can be done to protect the very people who might suffer if a major earthquake occurs along the fault line. Related: NASA says ionized air molecules may help predict earthquakes “We don’t know if it’s tomorrow or if it’s not going to be for another 500 years,” said study co-author Michael Steckler, a geophysicist at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory (LDEO) at Columbia University in New York City. Steckler and his colleagues discovered the fault while working to map plate-motion data throughout Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. The team, working with researchers at Bangladesh’s Dhaka University , used ultrasensitive GPS devices throughout Bangladesh between 2003 and 2014 to collect the data, which revealed the existence of this previously unknown fault. Researchers estimate that some 140 million people live within a 60-mile radius of the fault and, because of unsustainable building practices (like pumping sand out of the ground to build up areas for skyscrapers ), a major earthquake in the region would leave countless casualties and massive infrastructure damage. The results of the study were published this week in the journal Nature Geoscience . Via CBS Images via Wikipedia and  LDEO

Here is the original post:
Massive hidden fault could cause a cataclysmic earthquake, scientists warn

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1345 access attempts in the last 7 days.