Microplastics have made their way into human poop

October 23, 2018 by  
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Each year, humans around the world produce about 882 billion pounds of plastic waste, and about 80 percent of it ends up in landfills or in the natural environment. Now, scientists are beginning to study the effects of microplastics on people, and it turns out that they are showing up in human poop after contaminating our food . Microplastics are the smallest particles of plastic waste — so small that most are invisible to the human eye. They are found in most bottled and tap water, soil and sea, rock and lake salts. Related: Study finds 90 percent of table salt contains microplastics A small pilot study being presented this week at the 26th annual United European Gastroenterology conference in Vienna, Austria looked at stool samples from eight people from eight different countries, and every sample tested positive for up to nine different types of plastic . Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna and the Environmental Agency Austria conducted the study and found an average of 20 particles of plastic per 10 grams of stool. “Personally, I did not expect that each sample would … [test] … positive,” said Dr. Philipp Schwabl of the Medical University of Vienna and lead researcher of the study. “Is it harmful to human health? That’s a very important question, and we are planning further investigations.” In this first-of-its-kind study, researchers found that all eight samples contained polypropylene and polyethylene-terephthalate particles, which both make up a majority of plastic bottles and plastic bottle caps. According to NPR , each person kept a regular diet and maintained a food diary during the week before the stool samples were collected. Everyone had been exposed to plastics via beverages in plastic bottles and foods wrapped in plastic. No participants were vegetarian , and six of the eight had consumed wild fish. Schwabl said the concern is whether or not microplastics are entering the bloodstream, the lymphatic system and possibly the liver. In studies of animals, microplastics have caused intestinal damage and liver stress. Now that this initial study has shown we are ingesting microplastics, two questions remain: what is staying in our bodies rather than leaving as waste, and what impact will the microplastics have on our health ? Schwabl said that he and his colleagues are applying for funding for a larger study, so they can attempt to replicate their findings. Via  NPR Image via Shutterstock

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Microplastics have made their way into human poop

Zambia plans to cull 2,000 hippos over the next 5 years

October 23, 2018 by  
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Two years ago, the Republic of Zambia in south-central Africa suspended its plans for the controlled slaughter of up to 2,000 hippos over five years following protests from animal rights activists . The country has recently revived those plans, claiming that the water levels in the Luangwa River — where most of the hippos are located — can’t support the current hippo population. According to Zambia’s tourism minister  Charles Banda, it would be too costly to move the hippos to another part of the country. Instead, the government has decided to proceed with its plans to cull the hippo population in eastern Zambia. “The South Luangwa National Park has a population of more than 13,000 hippos, but the area is only ideal for 5,000 hippos,” Banda said. Related: Hippos could be threatened with extinction due to demand for their teeth The Zambian government believes that overpopulation could threaten Zambia’s ecosystem , and Banda added that moving the hippos to other bodies of water would be “very expensive,” leaving culling as the only option. The government also insists that controlling the number of hippos in the area will stop the spread of anthrax — a bacterial disease commonly found in sub-Saharan Africa that kills animals — and the low rainfall in the region has just made the situation worse. As Reuters reports, during the summer of 2016, the British wildlife charity Born Free led a campaign against the culling of hippos and described it as trophy hunting . After the recent announcement to continue with the culling, Born Free said on its website that Zambia has not provided any solid, scientific evidence that there is actually a hippo overpopulation problem at the Luangwa River. Born Free also stated that scientific evidence suggests that culling hippos actually stimulates breeding, ultimately increasing the hippo population, which could potentially establish a “cycle of death and destruction.” Back in 2016, Born Free also questioned Zambia’s scientific rationale for killing 2,000 hippos when the population in southern Africa is around 80,000. Via Reuters and Born Free Image via Lars Plougmann and Sarah Depper

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Zambia plans to cull 2,000 hippos over the next 5 years

Turkey poop could offer a potent alternative to coal

November 24, 2017 by  
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Turkeys don’t just offer fuel on a Thanksgiving plate. Two Ben-Gurion University of the Negev researchers found turkey poop could act as a potent alternative energy source – and could actually replace around 10 percent of coal utilized for electricity generation. Turkey, chicken, and other poultry poop, when treated and converted to solid biomass fuel, could offer an alternative to coal. Biomass comprises 73 percent of renewable energy production around the world, according to a press release on the work, but instead of growing crops for biomass, utilizing turkey excrement could solve two problems. The researchers said in the statement, “Environmentally safe disposal of poultry excrement has become a significant problem. Converting poultry waste to solid fuel, a less resource-intensive, renewable energy source is an environmentally superior alternative that also reduces reliance on fossil fuels .” Related: 6 Ways to Convert Poo into Power They compared turkey poop as biochar and hydrochar; the first is “produced by slow heating of the biomass at a temperature of 450 degrees Celsius in an oxygen-free furnace” and the second by “heating wet biomass to a much lower temperature of up to 250 degrees Celsius under pressure” in a process known as hydrothermal carbonization (HTC). Turkey poop processed as hydrochar seemed like the better option, offering 24 percent higher net energy generation, according to the researchers, who said, “Poultry waste hydrochar generates heat at high temperatures and combusts in a similar manner to coal, an important factor in replacing it as renewable energy source.” The researchers discovered greater temperatures during the HTC process resulted in a reduction of methane and ammonia emissions , although there were increases in carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide . But researcher Amit Gross said, “Our findings could help significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity generation and agricultural waste.” The journal Applied Energy published the research online this month. Via American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev Images via Andrea Reiman on Unsplash and Pixabay

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Turkey poop could offer a potent alternative to coal

Atlanta says all new construction must be "EV ready"

November 24, 2017 by  
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Several countries have already stated that within the next decade or so combustion vehicles will no longer be allowed, but here in the United States, the government hasn’t really made any significant mandates around EVs. Except for the city of Atlanta, which recently passed a new law that mandates all new residential homes and public parking facilities to accommodate electric vehicles . The new ordinance requires 20 percent of parking spaces in new commercial and multifamily parking structures to be EV ready, and new residential homes must also be equipped with the infrastructure needed to install EV charging stations. Related: California may ban gas and diesel-powered cars by 2030 “Today, the City of Atlanta has taken a historic step to increase our EV readiness and to ensure we remain a leading city in sustainability. I want to thank Councilmember Keisha Lance Bottoms for introducing this legislation and the Atlanta City Council for their work to pass this ordinance,” Mayor Kasim Reed said in a Tuesday statement . “I am proud of our City’s commitment to energy conservation, as well as our efforts to ensure that EVs and EV charging stations remain accessible to everyone.” The new “EV Ready” ordinance will go into effect immediately. This isn’t the first time that the Atlanta has made efforts to increase the number of electric vehicles on the road. The city already has a fleet of 60 electric vehicles and even its police department has a small fleet of electric vehicles. + City of Atlanta Via Treehugger Images via Honda, Chevy and Ford

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Atlanta says all new construction must be "EV ready"

You can make $13,000 a year by selling your poop

February 2, 2015 by  
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Need some cash? Just sell your poop. Yes, you read that right. A company called OpenBiome needs healthy stool samples that it uses to treat patients with a bacterial infection called C. difficile . Should you choose to sell it, your poop will be turned into a pill to treat those patients and you’ll bring home about $250 each week, or $13,000 a year. Read the rest of You can make $13,000 a year by selling your poop Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: c. difficile , c. difficile treatment , capsules of poop , fecal matter , healthy poop , mark smith , openbiome , poop , poop for treatment , stool samples

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You can make $13,000 a year by selling your poop

Nature Loo’s Composting Toilet Puts More Distance Between You and Your (Icky) Poo Box

October 30, 2013 by  
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Composting toilets present a very green way of disposing and reusing your poop as a natural fertilizer, but they haven’t been widely implemented. Most people don’t want to sit on top of a box of poop or even see it, and they certainly don’t want to touch it . To remedy this coprophobia , an Australian company named Nature Loo came up with a simple design that puts more distance between you and your waste receptacle. Instead of having a compost chamber just beneath your porcelain throne, Nature Loo’s system installs an additional space up to four feet below the bathroom floor. Read the rest of Nature Loo’s Composting Toilet Puts More Distance Between You and Your (Icky) Poo Box Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: box of poop , Compost your poop , composting , composting chamber , composting toilet , DIY , fertilizer , human waste fertilizer , long distance toilet , natural fertilizer , Nature Loo , reusing your poop        

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Nature Loo’s Composting Toilet Puts More Distance Between You and Your (Icky) Poo Box

Packaging the Future: Poop Paper is Some Useful Shit!

January 15, 2011 by  
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When I mention paper made from elephant poo (or dung, if you prefer), most people get a horrified look on their faces. (If you’ve already heard of the paper, what was YOUR first reaction?) Everything from business cards to Christmas greetings can be printed on the stuff, which is a bit linen-y, quite soft, and takes color brilliantly.

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Packaging the Future: Poop Paper is Some Useful Shit!

Panda Paper Set is Made From Poo!

October 20, 2010 by  
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Sending someone poo is typically not seen as a good thing, but here’s one exception. This lovely, earth-friendly paper set is perfect for letter writing despite being made from real excrement collected from Giant Pandas in China. Each paper or envelope is 100% recycled, odorless and provides you with a catchy punchline to start your letter.

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Panda Paper Set is Made From Poo!

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