Two thirds of world’s rivers are contaminated with drugs

May 30, 2019 by  
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A large study of the world’s rivers found that out of 711 sites tested, the majority are dangerously contaminated with antibiotics. The study , conducted by the University of York, is the largest of its kind and involved a team of international scientists testing for water pollution. Last month, British Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sally Davies argued that the rising prevalence of antibiotic resistant bacteria is just as much an existential crisis as climate change and called on widespread awareness, protest and action. According to the United Nations , antibiotic resistant bacteria could be responsible for 10 million deaths by 2050. This most recent study confirms that environmental bacteria are a major pathway to resistance among bacteria, with over 65 percent of all sites recorded with dangerous levels of antibiotics. The prevalence of bacteria in rivers and ecosystems allows bacteria to develop immunity to the drugs over time, rendering them useless for human saving purposes. Related: Supreme Court will make historic Clean Water Act ruling “It’s quite scary and depressing. We could have large parts of the environment that have got antibiotics at levels high enough to affect resistance,” said Alistair Boxall, who co-led the study. Drugs enter waterways primarily through human and animal waste that contain the antibiotics and cause water pollution. In addition to health care, antibiotic use is alarmingly high in the farming industry. Waste can enter directly into waterways in low-income countries, or through leaks in wastewater facilities. In some cases, drug manufacturing sites might also leak or illegally dump waste into watersheds. According to the study, the Danube river in Austria contained clarithromycin at four times the level considered safe, while the Thames river contained ciprofloacin at three times the safe level. In Bangladesh a river was reported to be the most severe site, with metronidazole at 300 times the safe level. The researchers plan to follow their study with further research on how the antibiotic prevalence is further contaminating waters and affecting fish and wildlife . Via The Guardian Image via pxhere

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Two thirds of world’s rivers are contaminated with drugs

The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

March 25, 2019 by  
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The fashion industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few decades. Having greater access to the latest trends in fashion is great, but the industry as a whole could do a lot better lessening its environmental impact on the world. Some of the biggest issues with the fashion industry are microplastics used in production, child labor violations and new disposable fashion trends— which put more waste into landfills around the world. If you are curious about how the fashion industry is affecting the environment, here’s an inside look at the industry’s biggest hidden secrets. Related: The sustainable wardrobe: it’s more accessible than you think Fashion’s Environmental Impact Mass-producing clothing items for the fashion industry has massive implications on the environment. The industry as a whole contributes greatly to water waste and has a large carbon footprint – and that is only considering production. Discarded items of clothing end up in landfills around the world, further polluting waterways and oceans. When it comes to clothing production, it takes thousands of liters of water to produce a single cotton shirt. Farms that grow cotton also use a quarter of the world’s insecticides. Around a trillion gallons of water are used to die fabrics, which further contributes to water waste . Child Labor Laws Aside from environmental concerns, the fashion industry also violates child labor laws in certain locations around the world. Areas most impacted by child labor violations include Bangladesh, Argentina, China, India, Brazil, Turkey, Philippines, Vietnam and Indonesia. In Bangladesh, for example, child workers – most of whom are women – only take home around $96 every month. The country’s government, however, says that its citizens need at least $336 a month to meet basic living requirements. Given how the country has little regulations on labor and environmental practices, the situation is unlikely to change in the near future. Related: Faux fur or real fur, which one is better for the planet? Plastic Microfibers One of the biggest issues with the fashion industry is the use of plastics in garments. Synthetic materials such as nylon, polyester and acrylic are used in over 60 percent of clothing. Plastics are used in fashion because they are long-lasting, budget-friendly, pliable and light. The problem with incorporating synthetics in the production of clothing is that they leach plastic microfibers into the environment. These microfibers eventually make their way to the ocean, where marine organisms ingest them. Once eaten, the plastics can lead to digestive blockages, growth issues, problems in the endocrine system and even starvation. “One of the problems is plastic ingestion at all levels of the food chain, which may pass plastic to larger animals and humans. The question is ‘is it acceptable to us to end up eating plastic?’” Heidi Savelli, an expert with the UN Environment, explained. Discarded Clothing Fashion sales have skyrocketed over the past few decades. The industry has seen a growth of around 60 percent since 2000, which is partly because clothing does not last as long as it used to. On average, people retain a piece of clothing for about half the amount of time as they did in the late ‘90s. This trend of discarding and buying clothes has been profitable for the fashion industry, but it has led to disastrous effects on the environment. With production steadily increasing, more and more water is being used in cotton farming while excess materials are overcrowding landfills . Industry Solutions With the fashion industry causing a major concern for the environment , there are a few things it can do to become more eco-friendly. For starters, companies can make changes to the manufacturing process, which will reduce the amount of plastic that ends of polluting the environment. The primary issues in clothing are the density of the material and the length of fibers. If these two problems are addressed, then there will be a lesser chance of plastic microfibers shedding in the wash. Companies can also incorporate better finishing techniques when making clothing, which can also reduce microfiber issues. There also needs to be an improvement in the way microfibers are captured, both in efficiency and scale. There are capturing devices on the market, but they are not geared towards large-scale operations. What Can You Do? There are a number of different things you can do to lessen the fashion industry’s impact on the environment. For starters, you can repair clothing items instead of replacing them whenever possible. When it comes to laundry, washing less is the best way to reduce microfibre shedding. You should also look into investing in a front load machine, as they are better at handling plastic microfibres. If you want to go the extra mile, there are special bags that catch plastic debris in the wash and reduce these particles by over 80 percent. At the end of the day, doing your part to help curb disposable fashion will only go so far, and unless the industry makes some major changes, these environmental concerns will continue to grow. Via UN Environment , The Progressive Images via Shutterstock

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The environmental secrets the fashion industry does not want you to know

Architects recycle shipping containers into a breezy Dhaka home

October 30, 2018 by  
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In Dhaka, Bangladesh , local architecture firm River & Rain transformed four shipping containers into a light-filled, three-story house spanning 134 square meters. Completed in 2017, the cargotecture dwelling doesn’t hide its shipping container roots yet manages to exude a welcoming and livable atmosphere through strategically cut openings, terraces that emphasize indoor-outdoor living and greenery that grows up, around and through the building. Recycled materials were also used throughout the home, which is named Escape Den after its tranquil setting on the outskirts of the city. Spread out across three floors, the Escape Den organizes the kitchen and dining spaces on an elevated ground floor and places the living room and bedroom areas on the upper levels. Accessed via a side gate off of a dirt road, the property features an entry sequence that begins with a short flight of stairs from the parking pad to a sheltered deck. The deck consists of the dining area and other seating options oriented to face views of the lawn, which takes up approximately two-thirds of the site. The covered deck also connects to a shipping container converted to house a small media room, kitchen and bathroom. The caretaker’s room is located in the back. A flight of stairs traverses the central atrium space — anchored by an almond tree and a veil of green vines that hang from the ceiling — and connects to a glass-enclosed living room. Another flight of stairs leads up to the third floor, where a third shipping container, housing the two bedrooms, is set perpendicular to the bulk of the building in a dramatic cantilever and is topped with a green roof . One of the bedrooms also connects to an outdoor terrace . The green-roofed shipping container can be reached via a spiral staircase. Related: German company converts old shipping containers into gorgeous living spaces “The hefty look of those containers has become dramatically airier with some skillful ensemble of architectural details,” the architects explained. “The floated platforms of the house, intertwining stairs and diverse direction of container placement have made the project more visually eye-catching.” + River & Rain Photography by Maruf Raihan , Hasan Saifuddin Chandan  and Snahasis Saha via River & Rain

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Architects recycle shipping containers into a breezy Dhaka home

Category 5 Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever

September 5, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Irma has been upgraded to a Category 5 storm , and could be one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is warning that Irma could potentially be catastrophic, with winds whirling at 180 miles per hour – so strong that they are showing up on earthquake monitoring equipment. Even worse, the NHC said there’s an increasing chance the storm will slam into  Florida . With sustained winds of 180mph, #Irma is now stronger than Katrina was at its peak. A monstrous, horrific storm. pic.twitter.com/jCwe4XTPxS — Eric Holthaus (@EricHolthaus) September 5, 2017 With the United States still reeling after Tropical Storm Harvey , communities are bracing for another catastrophe as Irma is looking like it will impact Florida later this week or during the weekend. But there are also many other islands it could hit on its way to the United States. Irma could affect the Leeward Islands as an “extremely dangerous Category 5 hurricane” soon, according to NHC . It could also impact the US and British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Turks and Caicos, the Bahamas, and Cuba. Related: 1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh NHC said it’s too early to determine Irma’s direct impacts on the continental United States, other than an increasing chance it could affect the Florida Peninsula and the Florida Keys. Florida governor Rick Scott doesn’t seem to be taking any chances. He declared a state of emergency in Florida after a Monday advisory update. He’s activated 100 National Guard members and 6,000 stand ready. He’s spoken with President Donald Trump , and the Orlando Sentinel said Trump activated pre-landfall emergency declaration so federal funds and resources will be available. Scott said, “Hurricane Irma is a major and life-threatening storm and Florida must be prepared…while the exact path of Irma is not absolutely known at this time, we cannot afford to not be prepared.” According to the Orlando Sentinel, most forecast models indicate the whole state of Florida could feel the hurricane’s impact. NHC urged everyone in hurricane-prone areas to “ensure that they have their hurricane plan in place.” Via the Orlando Sentinel and the National Hurricane Center Images via Wikimedia Commons and the National Hurricane Center

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Category 5 Hurricane Irma is one of the most powerful Atlantic hurricanes ever

Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

August 30, 2017 by  
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Hurricane Harvey didn’t just devastate homes and businesses – it may also have totaled up to half a million cars. An estimated 500,000 Texan vehicles will likely be scrapped, leading to a massive sales wave of new and used cars in the near future. Compared to the fallout of other major storms, such as Hurricane Sandy , the density of totaled vehicles in Houston is staggering. Cox Automotive — the company behind Kelly Blue Book and Autotrader — told CNBC that nearly 500,000 vehicles are likely to be totaled. Reportedly, “scores” of trucks and cars had water up to their windows and, in some cases, over the hood and roof. Said Jonathon Smoke, chief economist for Cox Automotive, “This is worse than Hurricane Sandy . Sandy was bad, but the flooding with Hurricane Harvey could impact far more vehicles.” 250,000 vehicles were scrapped in 2012 when Hurricane Sandy battered New York and New Jersey. Related: 1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh Whenever a hurricane hits, it leaves a legacy of damaged property, industrial waste, raw sewage, and oil spills – and the repercussions of Hurricane Harvey will be felt for many months. According to Ryan Maue with Weatherbell, 11 trillion gallons of rain dumped on the state during the actual storm ; by the time the weather dissipates completely, that number is expected to increase to 25 trillion gallons of rain. In total, 30,000 people sought temporary shelter and 450,000 are expected to seek assistance from FEMA . Via Jalopnik , CNN , CNBC Images via Defense.gov

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Hurricane Harvey may have totaled up to 500,000 cars

1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

August 30, 2017 by  
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Monsoon rains have drenched India , Bangladesh , and Nepal in what some people are saying is the worst flooding disaster to hit the area in years. South Asia often battles flooding during monsoon season, which runs from around June to September, but authorities say the disaster has been worse this year. At least 1,200 people have died, and millions of people have been left homeless after the deluge. Floods have washed away tens of thousands of houses and led to landslides in Nepal, Bangladesh, and India. Electric towers and roads have been damaged, while farmland has filled with water. The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) said floods have impacted over 7.4 million people in Bangladesh, where over 697,000 homes have been demolished. Related: World is failing to prepare for increasing natural disasters, UN expert says In the state of Bihar in India, 17.1 million people have been impacted, with 514 killed. Disaster management official Anirudh Kumar of Patna, Bihar’s capital, said 2017’s farming has collapsed due to the waters, which will cause more unemployment in the area. In Uttar Pradesh, 2.5 million have been affected and 109 have died. Thousands of people in the country have sought shelter in relief camps. And landslides in Nepal have killed over 100 people, according to IFRC. According to international aid agencies, flooding has cut off thousands of villages, where people are suffering without clean water or food for days. In Mumbai , India, public transportation was halted and people were left stranded because of the floods. In some places, people waded through water up to their waists. Rescue missions were thwarted because of the rains; Mumbai joint police commissioner Amitesh Kumar said, “Even we are stranded.” The city is vulnerable to storms since buildings have been constructed on coastal areas and flood plains, and waterways and storm drains are often blocked by plastic garbage . Via The Independent and The Guardian Images via screenshot and screenshot

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1,200 dead, millions homeless due to flooding in India, Nepal, and Bangladesh

The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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Has there ever been a year in our lifetime that so many of us have been so eager to kiss good-bye? It seems like there wasn’t a single thing not touched by tragedy: music, art, fashion , (ahem) politics . Check out our roundup of the top 7 WTF moments of 2016 and tell us which was the worst of the worst.

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The top 7 WTF moments in fashion this year

Dozens of violations found at the factory that makes Trump shirts in Bangladesh

November 5, 2016 by  
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The sweatshop that produces Donald Trump -branded clothing has been cited for a “yuge” list of safety violations. The factory is an unsafe work environment for workers at the Elite Garment Industries factory in Bangladesh. Violations ranging from insufficient fire alarm systems, faulty wiring, lack of fire escapes and “highly stressed” support columns in the building’s infrastructure threaten the lives of employees every day. READ MORE > 

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Dozens of violations found at the factory that makes Trump shirts in Bangladesh

Thinking outside the ‘western box’ for employee engagement

October 6, 2016 by  
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A case study of garment factories in Bangladesh on how to improve worker health, happiness and productivity.

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Thinking outside the ‘western box’ for employee engagement

Business action on the SDGs: Insights from GSK

October 6, 2016 by  
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The British pharmaceutical giant opens up about its sustainability agenda.

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Business action on the SDGs: Insights from GSK

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