The Ocean Clean Up Next Phase

The next phase for Boyan Slat (CEO and Founder) and his team at The Ocean Cleanup is getting near.

On Thursday May 11th, The Ocean Cleanup will be sharing a very special announcement with the world. Discover what they’ve been working on for the past two years, and what will be happening next. The unveiling event will take place at the spectacular “Werkspoorkathedraal” in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and will be streamed LIVE on their webpage at 8.00pm CET / 2.00pm EST.

Check out source The Ocean Clean Up for more info and an unveiling teaser video of what’s to come!

Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE

 

The last time the ocean was as acidic as it is now was 50 million years ago and the change occurred over millennia, not over decades.  We now know that the oceans cannot take infinite abuse.

The Wendy Schmidt Ocean Health XPRIZE is a 2 year competition worth $2 million dollars for team to create radical breakthroughs in measurement technology, namely ocean acidification (pH levels). The point of the competition is to accurately measure acidification for the first time. This alerts people to the fact that we’ve got a problem that is so important that someone is willing to put up private resources as a reward. One of the goals of this prize is to bring more instruments to the problem. There has been an ongoing dearth of data on the state of the health of the oceans. This is an opportunity to start fresh with new tools to share with the public what is really going on.

Measuring the pH in the oceans efficiently and effectively is no easy task. It isn’t only a challenge of accurate measurement but also the depth with which the sensors are able to sink and still perform.

Check out the source link at xprize.org for a video and to find out which team won the prize!

The ocean is critical for the planet and all living species. If competitions like this bring passionate endeavoring people together to make leaps, then what an amazing thing it would be for more such innovation-driven events to emerge.

Plastic-eating Caterpillar

Yet again, we find ourselves turning back to “mother-nature” for answers with regards to environmental restoration.

Announced on BBC news only days ago, we’ve now discovered a caterpillar that munches on plastic bags could hold the key to tackling plastic pollution, scientists say.

Researchers at Cambridge University have discovered that the larvae of the moth, which eats wax in bee hives, can also degrade plastic.

Experiments show the insect can break down the chemical bonds of plastic in a similar way to digesting beeswax.

Each year, about 80 million tonnes of the plastic polyethylene are produced around the world.

The plastic is used to make shopping bags and food packaging, among other things, but it can take hundreds of years to decompose completely.

However, caterpillars of the moth (Galleria mellonella) can make holes in a plastic bag in under an hour.

Dr Paolo Bombelli is a biochemist at the University of Cambridge and one of the researchers on the study.

“The caterpillar will be the starting point,” he told BBC News.

“We need to understand the details under which this process operates.

“We hope to provide the technical solution for minimizing the problem of plastic waste.”

Visit the source link on BBC News for more information!

A Sponge for Oil Spills

A group of researchers at the Argonne National Laboratory have developed a sponge that will collect oil from bodies of water, which could improve how harbors and ports are cleaned, as well as how oil spills are managed.

“The Oleo Sponge offers a set of possibilities that, as far as we know, are unprecedented,” said co-inventor Seth Darling, a scientist with Argonne’s Center for Nanoscale Materials and a fellow of the University of Chicago’s Institute for Molecular Engineering.

At tests at a giant seawater tank in New Jersey called Ohmsett, the National Oil Spill Response Research & Renewable Energy Test Facility, the Oleo Sponge successfully collected diesel and crude oil from both below and on the water surface.

“The material is extremely sturdy. We’ve run dozens to hundreds of tests, wringing it out each time, and we have yet to see it break down at all,” according to Darling.

The team is actively looking to commercialize the material; those interested in licensing the technology or collaborating with the laboratory on further development may contact partners@anl.gov.

For more info and a video demonstration visit Argonne’s website here!

Reintroducing ByFusion

Consider the empowering solutions to pollution, waste management and local community development made possible by the ByFusion machine. Their goal is to put all plastic waste to work cost effectively, maximizing efforts of people cleaning by creating building blocks called RePlast. Here is an overview:

PLASTIC-AGNOSTIC: We do not discriminate against any type of plastic. We take it all.

 STREAMLINED PROCESSING: No sorting or pre-washing required. Just shovel in the plastic and the transformation process begins.

100% MODULAR: Self-contained and fully transportable. Runs on gas or electric to meet varying conditions.

ECO-FRIENDLY DESIGN: Nearly 100% carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process.

CUSTOMIZABLE BYPRODUCT: Able to control density and shape of the product, called RePlast. Currently configured to manufacture common cinder block sized material.

FIT FOR PURPOSE: RePlast was developed to be used in a wide variety of applications from walling to roadway barriers. In most cases, we are able to customize RePlast to meet the needs of the job.
Check out their website http://www.byfusion.com for more info!

Acceleration of Climate Change

Human activity is changing Earth’s climate 170 times faster than natural forces, according to scientists who claim they have devised an equation that shows people are behind global warming.

According to researchers, global temperatures decreased by 0.01C per century over the last 7,000 years—the “baseline” rate. But in the last 45 years it has increased by the equivalent of 1.7C per century, and the 12 warmest years on record have come since 1998, they said.

While “astronomical and geophysical” as well as biospheric forces have driven change in the “Earth system” over its four billion-year existence, human activity has “driven exceptionally rapid rates of change” that the authors of a new study have represented in an “Anthropocene equation”.

Anthropocene is the name given to a proposed new geological era in which the impact of human activity starts having a measurable impact on the environment.

Writing in New Scientist, the study’s co-author Owen Gaffney said: “The rate of carbon emissions to the atmosphere is arguably the highest in 66 million years, when the (non-avian) dinosaurs slipped off this mortal coil.

“The staggering loss of biodiversity in recent decades prompted researchers in 2015 to argue that the Anthropocene marks the third stage in the evolution of Earth’s biosphere, following on from the microbial stage 3.5 billion years ago and the Cambrian explosion 650 million years ago.

“In the equation, astronomical and geophysical forces tend to zero because of their slow nature or rarity, as do internal dynamics, for now. All these forces still exert pressure, but currently on orders of magnitude less than human impact.”

The risks of human impact on the biosphere includes polluted water and soils as well as a warmer climate, Mr Gaffney said.

He added: “While it would seem imprudent to ignore the huge body of evidence pointing to profound risks, it comes at a challenging time geopolitically, when both fact-based world views and even international cooperation are questioned. Nowhere has this been clearer than in the US in recent weeks.”

(Visit the source link from Independent here)

The Death Toll of Air Pollution

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)

Turning Coal Carbon Emissions to Baking Soda

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.

Visit source link here!

Taking Space

The HabitatMap & AirCasting Blog have come together for a space to collectively crowdsource live streaming air-quality data. Last November, New York city has even been leveraging AirBeam Data to Inform Policy Decisions!
New York City recently committed to implementing a “zoned” collection system for the commercial waste sector. By dividing the city into zones and having commercial carting companies bid to service each zone, the city’s study found that the number of miles traveled by private collection vehicles will be cut by an astounding 49 to 68 percent!  This is a win for both the private carting companies, which will be able to achieve dramatic efficiencies in operations, and everyday New Yorkers, who will have to contend with less noise and air pollution.
(Source: {Taking Space} )
If we are able to optimize the trash zoning over in more mega-cities, this could make a big impact on pollution  worldwide.

AirCasting

AirCasting is an open-source, end-to-end solution for collecting, displaying, and sharing health and environmental data using your smartphone. The platform consists of wearable sensors that detect changes in your environment and physiology, including a palm-sized air quality monitor called the AirBeam, the AirCasting Android app, the AirCasting website, and wearable LED accessories. By documenting and leveraging health and environmental data to inform personal decision-making and public policy, the AirCasting platform empowers citizen scientists and changemakers.

(Visit AirCasting for more info!)