Archive for March, 2011

New international co-operation to tackle marine debris and litter

March 31st, 2011 by United Nations Environment Programme

litter floating on a seaweed raft in Havelet Bay, Guernsey (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

Government representatives, major industries and leading marine researchers have come together to make a new set of commitments to tackle the widespread problem of debris in the world’s seas and oceans.

Despite decades of efforts to prevent and reduce marine debris, such as discarded plastic, abandoned fishing nets and industrial waste, there is evidence that the problem continues to grow. A lack of co-ordination between global and regional programmes, deficiencies in the enforcement of existing regulations and unsustainable consumption and production patterns have aggravated the problem.

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Europe’s burning desire for alternatives to medical waste incineration

March 31st, 2011 by Frost and Sullivan

With the global push towards a greener world comes the awareness to decrease carbon emissions. Throughout many parts of Europe the dominant method of medical waste removal continues to be incineration. Although a successful and easy way to cope with medical waste, the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from incineration are leading European countries to search for alternative methods to dispose of this dangerous and hazardous material. In a new overview of the European Medical Waste Management Market, Frost & Sullivan analyzes the market exploring what the current situation is and what the new trends are.

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Whimsical art that raises awareness and can save you money

March 31st, 2011 by Richard Lord

Hu2 Design produces wall stickers and art decals that can be applied around the home and office.  The graphics are sharp and detailed.  They are specifically designed to integrate with wall fittings.

The design is simple to apply.  It is on a sheet which is rubbed to transfer the design onto a wall.  The transfer produces no detectable relief so the designs look like they have been painted.

(click on the image to go to the Hu2 Design website - image ©Hu2 Design)

Hu2 Design offers a wide variety of helpful and whimsical designs but I particularly like the energy decals that can be applied around taps and light switches.

(click on the image to go to a page that shows the range of Hu2 Designs - image©Hu2 Design)

The Sustainable Development Commission publishes “Fairness in a car-dependent society”

March 31st, 2011 by Sustainable Development Commission

(click publication cover to download)

On 21 March 2011 the Sustainable Development Commission published a report on “Fairness in a car-dependent society.”

The report finds that a society based on car mobility disadvantages people who do not drive or cannot afford to drive.

The report summary states that “some of society’s most vulnerable groups – including children, the elderly and people in low-income groups – are most likely to be affected by the negative effects of increased road traffic in the UK.”

  • In the UK the richest 10 per cent of the population benefit from receive four times as much public spending on transport as the poorest 10 per cent
  • In the UK children of the lowest socioeconomic groups are up to 28 times more likely to be killed on the roads than those of the top socioeconomic group
  • In the UK the most common cause of death for children aged 5-14 years is being hit by a vehicle
  • Those in the top income quintile travel two and half times as far as those in the bottom income quintile and three times as far by car.
  • SDC estimate that the total cost of our level of car dependency significantly exceeds the £48 billion per annum in taxes and charges on UK road users.

Download the report or for the full summary visit the Sustainable Development Commission website.

Guernsey Electricity working to reduce water use

March 31st, 2011 by Richard Lord

Guernsey Electricity Ltd is currently one of Guernsey Water‘s largest customers, but the electricity utility is striving to reduce water use.

The company’s older diesel power station, C station, has open circuit cooling.  C station produces the cloud of steam seen from The Bridge in St. Sampson.

Clouds of steam rise from Guernsey Electricity's C station power station (click image to expand - ©RLLord)

The older diesel power station uses 0.88 cubic metres of water per MWh of electricity produced (0.88 litres per KWh or unit of electricity).

In 2010, C station used about 58 million litres of water to generate electricity.  This usage varies considerably from year to year depending on electricity demand.

Steve Morris, Engineering Director for Guernsey Electricity Ltd., stated that the company’s gas turbine generators have closed circuit cooling so their water consumption is minimal.

All Guernsey Electricity’s new generators will employ closed circuit cooling.  Guernsey Electricity’s latest diesel engine, 1 D, has closed circuit cooling as will the new generator expected on-line by 2013.

Guernsey Electricity Ltd. has recently commissioned a spring water recovery system. Tests show that the utility may expect to produce about 8 million litres of water from this source.

The water use of the C station generators will depend on Guernsey’s electricity demand, which is growing.  However, Guernsey Electricity Ltd. expects its water use over time to decline as electricity from C station will be replaced with either imported electricity or with local generation employing closed-circuit cooling.

When we use energy we use water

March 31st, 2011 by WaterLink International

This article is published courtesy of WaterLink International.  It was published originally on 29 March 2011 by Environmental


As Japan’s nuclear power plant emergency has highlighted, water is needed in copious quantities to generate energy. To mark World Water Day, Sandra Postel (National Geographic) considers the huge water footprint of energy generation.

According to USGS, thermal power plants (fuelled by coal, oil, natural gas or uranium) account for 49% of water withdrawn.

We don’t think much about water when we flick on a light, power up our computer or open the fridge for a drink. But water has been consumed for almost every activity that uses energy – which includes almost everything we do.

The single biggest draw on US rivers and lakes is not toilets, golf courses or even irrigated farms: it’s thermal power plants that generate electricity to light our homes and cities, run appliances and factories and generally keep our plugged-in society humming.

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EU survey shows many Europeans don’t know how much they throw away

March 31st, 2011 by European Commission

(click cover to download publication)

Almost 60% of EU citizens do not think their household produces too much waste, according to a Eurobarometer survey published on 28 March 2011. This is in stark contrast to statistics that show Europeans throw away on average more than half a tonne of rubbish each every year. The survey also reveals a lack of awareness of the amount of food waste generated.

Most citizens agreed that better waste collection services were needed and 8 in 10 said environmental aspects of a product, such as whether it was reusable or recyclable, were important factors in purchasing decisions.

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The WWF presents thoughtful people who share their vision of how we can achieve a sustainable society

March 30th, 2011 by WWF

(click the image above to visit the WWF Talking Heads webpage and hear some great thinkers speak about how we can achieve a sustainable society)

Tracey Currer is one of the WWF’s visionaries who speaks about how we achieve a sustainable society.  Tracy Currer, is co-founder of Ecomodo, with Guernsey’s Meriel Lenfestey.

Sustainable Development Commission produces final report on a sustainable food policy

March 30th, 2011 by Sustainable Development Commission

(click publication cover to download report)

The Sustainable Development Commission has produced a final report on food matter’s, “Looking Back, Looking Forward – Sustainability and UK food policy 2000-2011“.

The report reviews progress towards sustainable food policy in the UK from 2000 to 2011 .  It concludes that while progress has been made, not enough has occurred to dispel concern about failures to achieve systemic change.

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The Ecological Land Co-operative produce ‘Small is Successful’ publication on creating sustainable livelihoods on 10 acres or less

March 30th, 2011 by Ecological Land Co-operative

(Click on publication cover to go to download page of Ecological Land Co-operative)

The Ecological Land Co-operative have produced a publication that examines eight smallholdings with land-based businesses on ten acres or less.  The report is available free as a digital file or can be purchased as a hard copy for £5.00.

Although the report is free as a digital file, the Ecological Land Co-operative is fundraising for their next research project, and would appreciate your support by helping them promote ecological farming in the UK.