Pollution is no joke and the whole world involved is listening.
Pollution and environmental risks are responsible for 1.7 million deaths of children below the age of five, according to two World Health Organization (WHO) reports released Monday.
The reports reveal that 570,000 of children’s deaths each year are attributed to respiratory infections, like pneumonia, caused by both indoor and outdoor air pollution, as well as second-hand smoke. Additionally, 270,000 children a year die in their first month from conditions due to air pollution and lack of sanitation, according to the WHO.
“A polluted environment is a deadly one — particularly for young children,” Dr. Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said in a press release. “Their developing organs and immune systems, and smaller bodies and airways, make them especially vulnerable to dirty air and water.”
Chan has previously called pollution “one of the most pernicious threats” to health around the world — far greater than the threat of HIV/AIDS or Ebola, BBC reports.
In addition to the deaths, the WHO found that 11–14% of younger children worldwide report asthma symptoms and nearly half (an estimated 44%) of those cases result from the environmental factors.
(Visit the source article on Fortune for more information!)
(Photo credit: Witch Kiki)
A coal-powered plant in Tuticorin, India has found an innovative way to capture carbon emissions — by recycling them into soda ash, an ingredient in common household products like bleach, sweeteners, and even your toothpaste.
The typical carbon capturing method filters out the carbon before it is released into the atmosphere and stores it in a separate containment. But Tuticorin is changing it up by crystallizing the coal and turning it into soda ash — otherwise known as baking soda.
That baking soda byproduct means Tuticorin has made carbon capture profitable: Not only is it environmentally wise, but dirty waste is being re-imagined to sell plastic, rubber, or glass manufacturing.
With solar, wind, and hydropower resources becoming more accessible to the masses, the demand for natural gas is expected to be on the decline, making this carbon capture method attractive to businesses and consumers alike. According to the Ren21 Global Status Report for 2015, the world invested twice as much in clean energy as they did in the oil and gas industry. Previous roadblocks have stopped the U.S. from investing in carbon capture in the past. But this new mechanism can be outfitted to any plant — no matter how old — and is much more affordable.
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In a small northern town in France a road has opened which is paved with solar cells. The goal is to see if the highway can power the town, which has 3,400 residents. On the other hand, it still wasn’t cheap for them to build it. In order to fashion a single 1 kilometer lane it cost around 5 million euro. It is also not the most energy efficient way to harness solar energy because the panels are flat on the ground and not optimally oriented towards the sun throughout the day. Nevertheless, it is a way to generate clean energy from existing infrastructure. Its been said that the government hopes to expand the project to other roadways as well.
With advent of more effective solar cells we may see the price drop per kilometer of pavement bit by bit!
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A team of students and faculty from the University of Virginia School of Engineering created a prototype design of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels inspired by the idea from a man with cerebral palsy from Turkey. Their goal was to create a prototype of a solar powered wheelchair with retractable panels for individuals with lower extremity or mobility disabilities, spinal cord injury, or cerebral palsy. The Solar Powered Team (SPT) created the prototype using a Shoprider 6Runner wheelchair. They built a structured frame around the base of the wheelchair to hold the solar panels. Three solar panels were attached to a convertible-like structure which rotates back behind the wheelchair.
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Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed solar cells that are lighter than ever before, modeled after “kirigami,” the ancient Japanese art of paper cutting.
A team of engineers and an artist developed an array of small solar cells that can tilt within a larger panel, keeping their surfaces more perpendicular to the sun’s rays.
“The beauty of our design is, from the standpoint of the person who’s putting this panel up, nothing would really change,” said Max Shtein, associate professor of materials science and engineering. “But inside, it would be doing something remarkable on a tiny scale: the solar cell would split into tiny segments that would follow the position of the sun in unison.”
(Source link: University of Michigan)
A French company called New Wind is installing tree-shaped wind turbines at the Place de la Concorde in Paris, France. The company’s founder, Jérôme Michaud-Larivière came up with the idea while in a Paris square, when he “saw the leaves tremble when there was not a breath of air.” He hopes the trees can be used to exploit small air currents flowing along buildings and streets, and could eventually be installed in people’s yards and urban centres.
He is the first to admit the efficiency of the trees is low compared to more consistent currents higher up, but believes the £23,500 trees are more viable and less intrusive than ‘monstrous’ conventional wind turbines. The 26 foot high trees, which use tiny blades inside the ‘leaves’, could potentially be profitable after a year of wind speeds averaging 7.8 mph. They can generate electricity in wind speeds as low as 4.5 mph. Visit the link below for more photos and a video.
(Source: alternative-energy-news.info )
HabitatMap is a non-profit environmental health justice organization whose goal is to raise awareness about the impact the environment has on human health. Their online mapping and social networking platform is designed to maximize the impact of community voices on city planning and strengthen ties between organizations and activists working to build greener, greater cities. Participants are encouraged to utilizing their shared advocacy platform to:
- Alert the public to environmental health hazards
- Hold polluters accountable for their environmental impacts
- Highlight urban infrastructures that promote healthy living
- Identify future opportunities for sustainable urban development
- Promote policies that enhance equitable access to urban resources
By polluting the environment we end up polluting ourselves in turn. Now, we can measure it and have the ability to share the information globally.
(Above) A look at the PurpleAir Map broadcast of air quality in different city regions of the US.
According to their website, PurpleAir states that they are creating “an air quality monitoring network built on a new generation of Laser particle counters. PurpleAir Sensors use WiFi to report local air quality in real time to the PurpleAir Map.”
As you can see above, the readings range from green (good) to a deep purple (hazardous). Keep in mind that these readings of the AQI (Air Quality Index) are real-time and often can vary between Good and Moderate or Warning and Unhealthy for example. They also provide charts to show the change over hours and days among other information you can check out on their website.
PurpleAir has available to purchase and register your own PA-II Dual Laser Air Quality Sensor to contribute to the data that is being reported real-time through a network of sensors.
Japan’s newest power source is giant floating solar power stations!
A single one of these floating solar systems, manufactured by Kyocera, is able to generate around 1650 megawatt hours annually. Two of them would provide enough electricity for around 920 households. The next solar farm planned to be just east of Tokyo set to go live next March would be able to power 5,000 households.
These new floating solar “mega-plants” generate power more efficiently due to the cooling effect of the oceanic water underneath the station. The shade that is created from the stations is said to also reduced water from evaporating as quickly as well as the growth of algae.
Could you imagine if they make islands like this around major cities? For the hot summers in Japan it would be nice to know that your AC works. Oh, and that you are using a sustainable energy source, that too!
“The lack of green areas is an overwhelming problem that must be solved, especially in large cities, where there is also an infinite amount of windowless façades. These “non-places” are like a catalyst for great urban problems and exist in the cities’ landscapes as proof of the negative consequences of a city that grows without consciousness.” – from m.90 Manifesto
m.90 is a landscape studio in Brazil driven by a social and environmental impact business model. They aim at increasing green areas in large cities through the installation of vertical gardens, which consequently impact the urban landscape and natural quality of life. On top of installing vertical parks, m.90 also works on vertical gardens in residential and commercial spaces. They are a big proponent of sharing the “why” behind what they do through courses, workshops and lectures. Can you imagine a future where we had vertical farms scaling vast portions of tall buildings in major cities?
Check out their website to read their whole manifesto and keep up on what Guil Blanche (head of m.90) and his team are up to!