PAD Newsclip #6

 
 
Photo courtesy Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

Photo courtesy Ashraf Shazly/AFP/Getty Images

 
 

One in four children will live with water scarcity by 2040


Unicef report says climate change and conflict are intensifying risks to children of living without enough water, and that the poorest will suffer most

One in four of the world’s children will be living in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040 as a result of climate change, the UN has warned.

Within two decades, 600 million children will be in regions enduring extreme water stress, with a great deal of competition for the available supply. The poorest and most disadvantaged will suffer most, according to research published by the children’s agency, Unicef, to mark World Water Day on Wednesday.

Drought conditions and conflict are driving deadly water scarcity in parts of Ethiopia, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen. Unicef anticipates that more than 9 million people will be without safe drinking water this year in Ethiopia alone. Nearly 1.4 million children face imminent risk of death from acute malnutrition in South Sudan, Nigeria, Somalia and Yemen.

The report, , looked at the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways in which climate change will intensify these risks.

As industrialisation and demographic shifts increase consumption, areas of south Asia and the Middle East will be particularly affected, according to one of the report’s authors, Nicholas Rees. “Where demand is extremely high then water stress will increase. It will go up in areas of rapid urbanisation, and we are already seeing that throughout sub-Saharan Africa and Asia,” he said.

Another report published on Wednesday warned that Iran is grappling with an unprecedented water crisis, and faces a greater threat from its environmental challenges than those arising from regional political issues or terrorism. The study, from London-based NGO Small Media, said that shortages could transform vast swaths of the country into near-uninhabitable areas in the coming decades.

“Iran is facing a water crisis that is unparallelled in its modern history. Lakes and rivers are dying, droughts are increasing in frequency, and even Iran’s deepest groundwater reserves are being sucked dry by Iran’s growing population and its thirsty agricultural sector,” the report said.

“Resultant soil erosion is accelerating the destruction of forest ranges across the country, and contributing to a sharp increase in dust storms and air pollution.”

It warned that ecosystems were collapsing, with some species of wildlife on the brink of extinction. Lake Urmia, the country’s largest lake, is a biosphere reserve recognised by Unesco: the report says it has shrunk to 12% of its size since the 1970s, “owing to frequent droughts, and aggressive, poorly implemented water management policies upstream”.

Across the world, the UN’s report says that 36 countries are facing extremely high levels of water stress, which occurs when demand far exceeds the renewable supply available. Warmer temperatures, rising sea levels, increased floods, droughts and melting ice affect the quality and availability of water, as do sanitation systems.

The impact of climate change on water sources is not inevitable, according to the report, which made a series of recommendations designed to help curb the impact of climate change on the lives of children. These include calls for governments to prioritise access to safe water for the most vulnerable children above other water needs, and for communities to diversify water sources.

“We want to reduce child deaths. That is the goal. But we are not going to end child deaths without addressing environmental threats that they face,” said Rees.

“We focus on their susceptibility to disease but if we don’t also address the broad environmental risks we are going to fall short. Climate change is often felt through a change in the water – whether it’s a flood, rising sea levels or something else – and the effect of a changing climate is often felt by children through water first.”

The NGO WaterAid published findings on Tuesday of how vulnerable rural communities’ struggles to access clean water were being compounded by extreme weather events and climate change.

India, one of the fastest growing economies and home to almost a fifth of the world’s population, was ranked in an annual WaterAid survey as having the greatest number of people living rurally without access to clean water: 63 million.

In terms of those making progress, the report said, Paraguay has achieved the biggest improvements in getting water to rural dwellers. More than 94% of its rural population now has access to safe water, compared with 51.6% in 2000.

Papua New Guinea, Madagascar and Mozambique were among the worst performing countries for rural access to clean water.

WaterAid’s chief executive, Barbara Frost, said many of the countries featured in the report were already being hit regularly by severe cyclones, floods and drought. “Rural communities – which are marginalised by their remote location and a continued lack of funding for basic services – often bear the greatest burden of these events,” she said.

WaterAid is calling on international and national leaders to deliver on promises to meet the sustainable development goals, including a goal to ensure access to safe water and sanitation.

 
 


#Newsclip edited by Plant A Douce, Original article by Ben Quinn and Saeed Kamali Dehghan, available at: https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/mar/22/world-water-day-one-in-four-children-will-live-with-water-scarcity-by-2040-unicef-report, (accessed 27th April 2018) © 2018 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved.

 

Photo courtesy Timberland

Photo courtesy Timberland

Timberland progresses towards 2020 sustainability goals

Global outdoor lifestyle brand Timberland is progressing steadily towards its sustainability goals for 2020, which fall into three core pillars: make products responsibly; protect and enhance the outdoors; and serve communities, says its corporate social responsibility report.

Timberland set aims to have 100 percent organic cotton apparel of US origin or Better Cotton Initiative certified sources by 2020. In 2017, Timberland raised the bar and changed its method of reporting the use of material containing recycled, organic or renewable (ROR) content. The company remains confident it will reach its 2020 goal for 100 percent of footwear to include at least one significant component containing ROR content, even with these more stringent requirements, and believes this change in reporting will lead to increased overall usage of ROR content across the business.

Timberland also continued to increase its use of recycled PET, incorporating over 890,232 pounds of recycled PET into its footwear in 2017, or the equivalent of 40 million plastic bottles. This reflects an increase of 3 million plastic bottles over 2016.

"We’re proud to celebrate the progress we’ve made in the past year, especially our efforts to incorporate more sustainable cotton in our apparel. But at Timberland, we have a commitment to sustainability and responsibility that goes well beyond the products we make. That’s what makes us Earthkeepers. In our view, responsibility also means protecting and enhancing the outdoors, and the communities around the world where we live, work and explore," said Colleen Vien, director of sustainability for Timberland.

 

#Newsclip edited by Plant A Douce, Original article by Fashion NetWork, available at: http://us.fashionnetwork.com/news/Timberland-progresses-towards-2020-sustainability-goals,971377.html#utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email, (accessed 26 April 2018)  © Copyright 2018 Fibre2Fashion. All rights reserved.

 

Photo courtesy Bill Cotton/Colorado State University

Photo courtesy Bill Cotton/Colorado State University

'Infinitely' recyclable polymer shows practical properties of plastics

Chemists make a major step toward waste-free, sustainable materials that could one day compete with conventional plastics

The world fell in love with plastics because they're cheap, convenient, lightweight and long- lasting. For these same reasons, plastics are now trashing the Earth.

Colorado State University chemists have announced in the journal Science another major step toward waste-free, sustainable materials that could one day compete with conventional plastics. Led by Eugene Chen, professor in the Department of Chemistry, they have discovered a polymer with many of the same characteristics we enjoy in plastics, such as light weight, heat resistance, strength and durability. But the new polymer, unlike typical petroleum plastics, can be converted back to its original small-molecule state for complete chemical recyclability. This can be accomplished without the use of toxic chemicals or intensive lab procedures.

The work builds on a previous generation of a chemically recyclable polymer Chen's lab first demonstrated in 2015. The previous polymer also had low heat resistance and molecular weight, and, while plastic-like, was relatively soft.

The new, much-improved polymer structure resolves the issues of the first-generation material. The monomer can be conveniently polymerized under environmentally friendly, industrially realistic conditions: solvent-free, at room temperature, with just a few minutes of reaction time and only a trace amount of catalyst. The resulting material has a high molecular weight, thermal stability and crystallinity, and mechanical properties that perform very much like a plastic. Most importantly, the polymer can be recycled back to its original, monomeric state under mild lab conditions, using a catalyst. Without need for further purification, the monomer can be re-polymerized, thus establishing what Chen calls a circular materials life cycle.

This piece of innovative chemistry has Chen and his colleagues excited for a future in which new, green plastics, rather than surviving in landfills and oceans for millions of years, can be simply placed in a reactor and, in chemical parlance, de-polymerized to recover their value -- not possible for today's petroleum plastics. Back at its chemical starting point, the material could be used over and over again -- completely redefining what it means to "recycle”.

"It would be our dream to see this chemically recyclable polymer technology materialize in the marketplace," Chen said.

 

#Newsclip edited by Plant A Douce, Original article by Colorado State University, available at: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180426141530.htm, (accessed 26 April 2018)  © Copyright ScienceDaily. All rights reserved.

 
 
 

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