For Our Greener World

Save it before it's too late…….

What can We, You and I, do for Our Greener World? June 14, 2009

Filed under: Green Innovations — nataliez09 @ 12:51 am

There must be many solutions toward one of these serious social problems today – pollution. I believe that the problem can for sure be solved if we, you and I, could work on it and contribute something together. It is very important for each one of us to try our best to make our world greener, so that we have a safer place to live. Going through all my researches, I found many innovative solutions and technologies for pollution and environmental protection. However, my own solution to this social problem would be the “Simple Solution”. There are many simple things that we could do, such as increasing usage of reusable bags, walking and cycling instead of driving, garbage distribution and classification, to reduce pollution.

 

Reusable Bags vs. Plastic Bags

Preventing pollution is not a one-day business, and an easy job to accomplish. It requires us to do a little bit day by day. First of all, it is important to raise our awareness of reducing waste. One thing we could do is to increase our usage of reusable bags instead of plastic bags. I know that there are some supermarkets in US have already been encouraging people to use those reusable bags for shopping. We should pay more attention on recycling plastic and paper bags.

The great thing about this simple change in the way we consume our products and groceries, is that it is actually realistic and possible!  The practicality of reusable bags is great – as they are stronger and thus could carry more.  Making the switch from using platic bags to reusable bags is not a difficult one.  Think about it, by investing in a reusable bag (which usually costs you about a $1 CAN), you can reduce the amount of waste that gets piled up in landfills. 

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 Your Feet vs. The Wheels

Secondly, we should walk and cycle more often than drive. Because of the negative impact of vehicle emissions on our air and health, we should reduce the usage of cars, and drive less. Walking and cycling under good weather conditions might be one of the ways to avoid driving. Car pooling would be another way to decrease the population of cars on the road.

Unlike the simplicity of changing from using a plastic bag to a reusable bag, I understand that making the switch when it comes to commuting is more difficult.  It is undeniable that in the world that we live today, some people just cannot get by without a car to get to wherever they need to go. Whether it is work, picking the kids up, loading up cargo for a company, or traveling – driving is necessary at times. 

So what I am proposing is that people should reduce driving when they can, and cut the short drives by walking or cycling there instead. 

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Waste Awareness vs. Garbage Stupidity

Lastly, we should pay attention on garbage distribution and classification. Landfill is another social problem we face today. As garbage is the main source for landfill, we should consider where and how we should distribute our garbage. Also, instead of putting all kinds of wastes together, we should classify them, and separate litter from recyclable waste, for example.   

Everyone has responsibility to protect our world. To build a safer and greener place to live in, each one of us should contribute a little bit. There might not be anything that we could do to correct and change the environment, but I believe that we could definitely make our environment better, and establish a brighter future for our next generation.

In a Nutshell

Ultimately, what I am trying to really stress in this post, is that the simple changes and modifications that everybody is able to make, could really help improve the pollution crisis.  Afterall, it is the little things that accumulate to huge problems for the environment. And it is no surprise then, that the same goes for improving the problem:  the little things.

 

Innovation Solution to Counter Pollution June 13, 2009

Filed under: Air Pollution,Green Innovations — nataliez09 @ 10:56 pm

Valley Pollution One of the Worst in US

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TURLOCK, Calif., Jul. 16, 2007 (KGO) — A San Francisco-based environmental group received a $125,000 award from the Irvine Foundation, which honors innovative solutions to California challenges. This one has to do with solving a pollution problem in the last place you look.

Because most days, California’s Central Valley produces some of the worse air quality in the nation, this environmental group has came up with a solution to the air pollution in California.

“In fact, one of six children in Fresno has asthma because of the air pollution there,” according to Ashley Boren of San Francisco environmental group Sustainable Conservation.

The Sustainable Conservation has discovered that the pollutions are mainly caused by inversion layer, large number of cars, and the amount of agricultural dust floating from the fields. Ashley Boren has mentioned that what they really look for were the solutions where it makes economic sense for the farmer, and it’s good for the environment.

They found part of that solution on Michael Crowell’s dairy farm.

It’s a small operation by dairy standards, but five generations old. The family needed a way to cut costs. The environmental movement wanted to find a way to cut dust. Their answer was found in corn. The Crowells grow it themselves, but instead of plowing the field back to bare dirt at the end of a season, they leave the corn residue on the ground.

This method of farming offers distinct advantages. By leaving last year’s crop in the ground, they use less fuel; create less pollution, less dust, while leaving more nutrients. Meanwhile, Michael Crowell has saved more than fifty percent in terms of money. More significant, this success has triggered action by other California dairy farmers. 80,000 acres of land have been exposed to the technique so far.

As I have mentioned earlier, there are many different kinds of pollutions. One of the most serious types is air pollution, since it has direct impact on our health and everyday life. Again, I believe that solving this social problem requires each one of our contribution to the environment, and to do our utmost to make it a greener world.

This news has grabbed my attention because I liked the idea how the Sustainable Conservation group was cooperating with the local farm. The Sustainable Conservation group was using this solution to reduce air pollution, while providing the local farmer an opportunity to reduce their cost. Giving this opportunity could raise the farmer’s awareness of pollution, and motivate them to make some kind of contributions to environmental protection as well. This was also mentioned in the article, “Sustainability occurs in two tiers. One preserves the environment; the other maintains a family way of life.”

 

Mitsubishi’s Eco-friendly Innovation June 12, 2009

Filed under: Green Innovations — nataliez09 @ 11:36 pm
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Mitsubishi Motors is accelerating its drive toward greater environmental responsibility and reinforcing its Drive@Earth global sustainability initiative by announcing today its commitment to develop the pure electric, four-passenger Mitsubishi i MiEV for global markets.

Ending months of heightening speculation, Mitsubishi Motors North America President and CEO Shinichi Kurihara confirmed the i MiEV (Mitsubishi Innovative Electric Vehicle) is being developed for sale in world markets, including the United States.

“Electric vehicles are one branch of the automotive landscape and we are dedicated to providing these technology-sourced solutions as an important path for the world’s clean-air options,” explained Kurihara, who stood alongside a Left Hand Drive i MiEV during his address to journalists at the New York International Auto Show. “We believe the i MiEV delivers on the promise of sustainability, suitable range, performance, and innovative packaging and styling.”

The award-winning Mitsubishi i MiEV is expected to be the world’s first practical electric vehicle offered by a major automobile manufacturer when fleet sales begin this July in Japan.

 Source: Mitsubishi Motors Green Lights i MiEV Electric Car

 

Comments on the I-miEv

As mentioned in my previous entries, the impacts and damages of pollution are serious on a global scale.  Not only does it affect the environment and the public’s health – it also has the potential to change the world drastically.  Everybody has the responsibility to preserve the environment; it’s not just one person’s duty.  People can invest in smarter and ‘greener’ choices to better our environment.  So it is worthwhile to look at some innovations that help to reduce pollution and purify the air. 

One innovation that I like is the I-miev. When talking about pollution, one issue and probably the most common topic that arises are cars and the fuel emissions that they produce.  As we know air pollution has huge impacts not only on the world as a whole, but also on everyone’s health. Polluted air could firstly cause different disease to people, most importantly to affect new born babies’ lives. Finding solutions to reduce air pollution is critical now. Vehicle emission is one of the biggest factors that has direct impact on air, and also could cause many problems such as globalwarming. Inventing in hybrid cars can well reduce this problem.

Hybrid Cars 101

Hybrid cars blend the best of the conventional car with the best of electric cars for a winning combination. Uniting the cleaner energy of the electric motor with the long-range power of the gasoline engine yields a hybrid automobile with lower toxic emissions with better fuel economy-sometimes up to 30 miles a gallon or more than conventional cars. Another green innovation would be electric cars. Electric cars are 100% emission-free, having no polluting by-products; therefore they are cleaner than hybrid automobiles. They secure their power from batteries, the sun or hydrogen fuel cells. Battery-powered electric cars are cleaner, and are more fuel-efficient. Cars powered by hydrogen fuel cells are emission-free, lightweight, compact, and three times as efficient as gas engines, have excellent ranges, easy refuelling and are totally safe. They produce even lower emissions and higher efficiency than hybrid cars.

Mitsubishi has realized that pollution is a social problem, and that’s why they create smart cars like the I-miEv.  The I-miEv is smart, efficient, and stylish. 

What this means for the car industry

I strongly believe that the car companies should think globally and environmentally to design more environmental friendly cars in order to help making our world greener. As the population of car driving is keep increasing nowadays, car companies should work on how to reduce vehicle emission and other pollutants that are caused by cars. Not only Mitsubishi is doing a great job considering the environment with its hybrid cars, Audi is also planning to promote its environmental protection electric cars, E1 to E5.  Audi already passed obviously has promoted a series of environmental protection electric car the plan, in which including a section small metropolis automobile, section miniature MPV as well as two section race cars.

There are many other companies in the industry that have started to address the issue of pollution.  For example Honda, Toyota…  Here are the top 30 environmental-friendly cars.

So smart cars are the solutions to pollution?

I think when it comes to transportation and its role in the environment – it will never be perfect.  The fact is, the commute that we use to get from point A to B will harm the environment in one form or another, no matter what.  Driving, unfortunately is not something that we could just take away from the world.  Once an innovation or technology like driving is introduced into the system, things change, and we become dependent with the convenience and luxury of driving. 

This Mitsubishi car is not actually “good” for the environment. I mean, how is introducing yet another car on the road going to make the air we breathe any better?  The I-miEV and other ‘smart’ cars require lot of the same methods as the traditional car, to produce it. 

With that said, I however believe that there will always be better choices in the way we commute and travel.  We cannot make the air any better, but what we can do, is improve the situation of pollution – before it gets even more problematic.  These cars also represent the awareness of car industries to be more responsible in developing new vehicles – and that is a critical step.

 

Aware…. May 31, 2009

Filed under: pollution in developing country — nataliez09 @ 7:13 am

By Ric. Spam?

As millions of us sit down to a nice dinner every night, enjoying luxuries like watching movies on our big screens and deciding what to wear in the mornings, do we ever take time to think about how are actions affect the world? “Outta sight, outta mind right?” Do we ever take a conscious moment to feel truly grateful for this blessed life we live? In true American spirit, most of us are always striving for more, which is a good thing, since this ambitious nature has lead to much progress. But in this ever-ending ‘quest for more’, most of us chase blindly. We have a million clothes in the closet, but somehow we don’t have anything to wear. Do we ever take a moment to think, that we are blessed to even have the option to change clothes. A lot of people in the world don’t have this luxury, they wear the same thing everyday and wash the clothes off their back, naked, in a river. Many people don’t even own a pair of shoes. 

Everyday, you see people driving down the street, eating their fast food, throwing their trash out the window. Everyday, you see those same people lighting up a smoke and flicking the butt out the window. The other day, I was stopped at an off-ramp, waiting for the light and their must’ve been a few thousand cigarette butts to my left. It was a disgusting sight. It made me sad, a little angry and I thought, “Why don’t people care? Don’t they see what they’re doing?” The answer is, No. They think, “Oh, it’s just one cigarette.” But it’s not, when a hundred thousand people a day are thinking the same thing. Don’t be lazy and think your actions don’t affect the world. They do. Most of us have empty water bottles in our car, just put the butts out in there and throw it in the trash at the end of day, not in the street. 

It’s time we start consuming less and caring more. With the current state of the economy, we’re almost forced to. I’m not saying go out  and crusade to end pollution and combat poverty. Just do your part, a little everyday. Stop tossing your gum wrappers out the window, throw your Del Taco wrappers in the trash, the little things sometimes mean the most. Be conscious and feel compassion.

I hope these pictures strike a chord within…

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An Indian boy searches for coins in the polluted waters of the Yamuna River in New Delhi.The national capital is a major culprit in the pollution of the Yamuna, accounting for about 79 per cent of the total waste water that is poured into the river by the major towns along its banks. Despite the Indian government spending millions on trying to clean up the river, most of it going to waste-treatment stations, pollution levels continue to rise. AFP PHOTO/ Manan VATSYAYANA

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Picture Source: 

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China’s Olympic Pollution Efforts Paid Off May 29, 2009

Filed under: Air Pollution — nataliez09 @ 7:25 am
Tags: , ,
Rick Lovett
for National Geographic News
August 15, 2008

China_Olympic_stadiumBeijing’s air for the opening track-and-field events at the 2008 Summer Olympic Games is “better than expected,” said U.S. Olympic distance runner Amy Yoder Begley.

“When I came to China to race in 2002,” Yoder Begly said in an e-mail earlier this week, “the air caused my lungs and nasal passages to burn.” She also described the sensation as “swallowing glass.”

Although air pollution in China’s capital city (see a related story) is almost always worse than anywhere in the United States, Chinese efforts to clean up the air before the Games have paid off. The country shut down all nearby factories and ordered half the cars off the road, creating tangible improvements, scientists say.

“I’m measuring about a 20 to 40 percent reduction in particulate matter compared to a year ago,” said Staci Simonich, an environmental chemist from Oregon State University whose lab group has made three trips to Beijing to study the city’s air.

  Ups and Downs

Day-to-day pollution levels have tended to fluctuate. When it rains, pollution drops, then builds back up—unless there’s a strong north wind to blow it away, Simonich said.beijing air pollution

“We’ve seen some real ups and downs,” Simonich said from her temporary lab at Peking University in Beijing.

On a good day, the air quality is still below levels American athletes are accustomed to. U.S. runner Yoder Begley’s 10,000-meter teammate Kara Goucher grew up in the clean air of northern Minnesota, and had never been to Beijing before this summer.

“he pollution and smog in Beijing is much, much worse than I imagined,” she wrote earlier in the week—before the latest rain—on a blog for the Duluth News Tribune.

“Its a bit eerie how the sun never comes out all day. If you are walking around the village and you look ahead, you can’t see all of the buildings. The pollution creates a fog that clouds over everything. It is unimaginable. I am shocked by how bad it is.”

On average, she said, she’s been measuring particulate levels about six times higher than those seen in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. A good day in Beijing, she said, is roughly comparable to America’s most polluted cities. The Chinese were hoping for more than the improvements seen in Simonich’s tests, but their efforts have been undercut by the smog-trapping climate.

“I think they’ve done as much as they can,” Simonich said. “But … the role that meteorology plays is so important.”

Extreme Heat

olympics-air_bigThe same weather that traps smog can make Beijing extremely hot and humid. Goucher and Yoder Begley prepared for their competitions by training for a week in Houston, along with fellow distance runner Galen Rupp.

“The workouts went great,” the group’s coach, Alberto Salazar, told the Portland Oregonian newspaper. “We ran in hotter conditions than we expect to see in Beijing.”

But that doesn’t mean the heat won’t be a major factor for less-prepared competitors.

“The air is so thick,” Yoder Begley wrote on her blog. “You sweat through your clothes in minutes and stay wet all day.”

The weather took a toll last weekend in the men’s bicycling road race, a hilly 152-mile (245-kilometer) event in which 53 of 143 competitors dropped out.

“I worked hard, but the heat and humidity were too much for me,” Dutch cyclist Karsten Kroon told the Salt Lake Tribune. “You feel your head explode.”

Mari Holden, a 2000 silver-medalist-turned-coach, sympathized.

“I always had a hard time with heat and humidity,” she told National Geographic News. “I’ve had instances where I ended up in the hospital.”

Whatever the conditions, however, athletes say they are still driven to do their best. As distance runner Shalane Flanagan told the Associated Press: “Unless I can’t walk and my lungs are falling out, or I’m coughing up a lung, I’ll be running.”

Source:  logo_ng_176x34

 

Sources of Pollution May 28, 2009

Filed under: General — nataliez09 @ 12:29 am

Domestic Sewage

Industrial Discharges

Atmospheric Fallout

Domestic Run-Off

Accidents And Spills At Sea

Operational Discharges From Oil Rigs

Mining Discharges And

Agricultural Run-Off.

 

Types of Pollution

Filed under: General — nataliez09 @ 12:25 am

Air Pollution

air-pollutionOne of the formal definitions of air pollution is as follows – ‘The presence in the atmosphere of one or more contaminants in such quality and for such duration as is injurious, or tends to be injurious, to human health or welfare, animal or plant life.’ It is the contamination of air by the discharge of harmful substances. Air pollution can cause health problems and it can also damage the environment and property. It has caused thinning of the protective ozone layer of the atmosphere, which is leading to climate change.

Modernisation and progress have led to air getting more and more polluted over the years. Industries, vehicles, increase in the population, and urbanization are some of the major factors responsible for air pollution. The following industries are among those that emit a great deal of pollutants into the air: thermal power plants, cement, steel, refineries, petro chemicals, and mines.

Air pollution results from a variety of causes, not all of which are within human control. Dust storms in desert areas and smoke from forest fires and grass fires contribute to chemical and particulate pollution of the air. The source of pollution may be in one country but the impact of pollution may be felt elsewhere. The discovery of pesticides in Antarctica, where they have never been used, suggests the extent to which aerial transport can carry pollutants from one place to another.

Sound Pollution

noise pollutionNoise, by definition, is unwanted sound. What is pleasant to some ears may be extremely unpleasant to others, depending on a number of factors. The natural environment contains many sources of noise – wind, volcanoes, oceans, and animal sounds are all familiar intrusions accepted at various levels. Man-made noises – from machines, automobiles, trains, planes, explosives and firecrackers, etc. – are more contentious. Both kinds of noise affect sleep, hearing, communication, as well as mental and physical health.

Pollution is a noun derived from the verb pollute, meaning: to foul. It is now increasingly understood that pollution from noise is an important component of air pollution, which was previously understood as being limited to material pollution. Noise is an inescapable by-product of the industrial environment, which is increasing with advances in industrialization and urbanization. Even in non-industrial areas, noise from such activities as printing, auto-repair, grinding, affects those living in the immediate surroundings. Noise not only causes irritation or annoyance but also constricts the arteries, and increases the flow of adrenaline and forces the heart to work faster. Continuous noise causes an increase in the cholesterol level resulting in permanent constriction of blood vessels, making one prone to heart attacks and strokes. Health experts are of the opinion that excessive noise can also lead to neurosis and nervous breakdown.

Noise travels through air and hence it is measured in ambient air quality level. Noise is measured in decibels. Experts believe that continuous noise levels in excess of 90 decibels can cause loss of hearing and irreversible changes in nervous systems. The World Health Organization [WHO] has fixed 45 decibels as the safe noise level for a city. Metropolitan areas in India usually register an average more than 90 decibels; Mumbai is rated the third noisiest city in the world, with New Delhi following closely.

Waste and Water Pollution

wasteWhen toxic substances enter lakes, streams, rivers, oceans, and other water bodies, they get dissolved or lie suspended in water or get deposited on the bed. This results in the pollution of water whereby the quality of the water deteriorates, affecting aquatic ecosystems. Pollutants can also seep down and affect the groundwater deposits.

Today, many people dump their garbage into streams, lakes, rivers, and seas, thus making water bodies the final resting place of cans, bottles, plastics, and other household products. The various substances that we use for keeping our houses clean add to water pollution as they contain harmful chemicals. In the past, people mostly used soaps made from animal and vegetable fat for all types of washing. But most of today’s cleaning products are synthetic detergents and come from the petrochemical industry. Most detergents and washing powders contain phosphates, which are used to soften the water among other things. These and other chemicals contained in washing powders affect the health of all forms of life in the water.

The effects of water pollution are not only devastating to people but also to animals, fish, and birds. Polluted water is unsuitable for drinking, recreation, agriculture, and industry. It diminishes the aesthetic quality of lakes and rivers. More seriously, contaminated water destroys aquatic life and reduces its reproductive ability. Eventually, it is a hazard to human health. Nobody can escape the effects of water pollution

 

Pollution Darkens China’s Skies May 27, 2009

Filed under: Air Pollution — nataliez09 @ 2:46 am
Tags:

pollution in china

China’s skies have darkened over the past 50 years, possibly due to haze resulting from a nine-fold increase in fossil fuel emissions, according to researchers from the U.S. Department of Energy.

The researchers, writing in this month’s edition of Geophysical Research Letters, found that the amount of solar radiation measured at more than 500 stations in China fell from 1954 to 2001 despite a decrease in cloud cover.

“Normally, more frequent cloud-free days should be sunnier and brighter but this doesn’t happen in our study,” said Yun Qian of the energy department’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Washington state.

“The pollution (that) resulted from human activity may have created a haze which absorbs and deflects the sun’s rays,” Qian, the study’s lead author, said in an e-mail interview Friday.

Air pollution is widespread in China. Antiquated factories billow smoke, many residents still use coal to heat their centuries-old houses, and a sharp increase in car ownership has bathed the motorways in exhaust fumes.

 

Using data from more than 500 weather stations in China, researchers found the amount of sunlight hitting the ground has fallen by 3.7 watts per square yard in each of the last five decades amid a nine-fold increase in fossil fuel emissions, the study said.

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The cloud cover data used in this study was obtained from the China Meteorological Administration through a bilateral agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy on global and regional climate change, the researchers said.

Herbert G. Fabian, who studies urban pollution and transportation issues for the Asian Development Bank, said the study’s conclusion “makes sense” but that more information is needed.

“There really is (an) air pollution problem and a haze problem in China because (of) dust storms and pollution,” said Fabian, who was not connected to the study. “But we can’t say conclusively that the reduction in sunlight is due to haze.”

The study also said haze appears to have masked the impact of global warming by reflecting sunlight back into space and cooling the Earth’s surface.

“The haze may have masked the effects of global warming across large parts of China, particularly in the central and eastern regions, where daily high temperatures have actually been decreasing,” Qian said. “This may seem like good news, but any success China has in curbing emissions will accelerate the effects of global warming in those areas when the cooling mask is lifted.”

 want more information, please check http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/26/world/asia/26china.html?_r=1&pagewanted=2

 

Hello world! May 20, 2009

Filed under: General — nataliez09 @ 1:13 am

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