Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts
Showing posts with label environment. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The "green thing"

 A young cashier suggested to the much older lady that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags are not good for the environment. 
The woman apologized to the young girl and explained, "We didn't have this 'green thing' back in my earlier days." 
The young clerk responded, "That's our problem today. Your generation did not care enough to save our environment for future generations."
 The older lady said that she was right -- our generation didn't have the "green thing" in its day. The older lady went on to explain: 
Back then, we returned milk bottles, soda bottles and beer bottles to the store. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so it could use the same bottles over and over. So they really were recycled. 
Grocery stores bagged our groceries in brown paper bags that we reused for numerous things. Most memorable besides household garbage bags was the use of brown paper bags as book covers for our school books This was to ensure that public property (the books provided for our use by the school) was not defaced by our scribbles. Then we were able to personalize our books on the brown paper bags. 
We walked up stairs because we didn't have an escalator in every store and office building. We walked to the grocery store and didn't climb into a 300-horsepower machine every time we had to go two blocks.
Back then we washed the baby's diapers because we didn't have the throw-away kind. We dried clothes on a line, not in an energy-gobbling machine burning up 220 volts. Wind and solar power really did dry our clothes back in our early days. Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.
Back then we had one TV, or radio, in the house -- not a TV in every room. And the TV had a small screen the size of a handkerchief (remember them?), not a screen the size of the state of Montana In the kitchen. We blended and stirred by hand because we didn't have electric machines to do everything for us. When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap. 
 Back then, we didn't fire up an engine and burn gasoline just to cut the lawn. We used a push mower that ran on human power. We exercised by working so we didn't need to go to a health club to run on treadmills that operate on electricity.
We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of using a cup or a plastic bottle every time we had a drink of water. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and we replaced the razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.
Back then, people took the streetcar or a bus and kids rode their bikes to school or walked instead of turning their moms into a 24-hour taxi service in the family's $45,000 SUV or van, which cost more than what a whole house did before the "green thing."
We had one electrical outlet in a room, not an entire bank of sockets to power a dozen appliances. And we didn't need a computerized gadget to receive a signal beamed from satellites 23,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest burger joint. 
But isn't it sad the current generation laments how wasteful we old folks were just because we didn't have the "green thing" back then?

Monday, September 20, 2010

Most Aspects Of E-Waste Not Regulated

Virginians are creating piles of potentially dangerous waste.

The problem is old electronics, or e-waste -- computers, cellphones and other gadgets that people toss because they've found something newer and shinier.

"It's not factory waste but post-consumer waste that's coming out of your hands, my hands or anybody's hands," said Jim Puckett, director of the Basel Action Network, a Seattle-based environmental group.

The old electronics are laced with pollutants, such as lead and cadmium, that have been linked to cancer, nervous-system damage and other problems.

No one is sure how much e-waste Virginians produce. No one tracks it closely, in Virginia or nationally. But everyone agrees it's a lot.

The Environmental Protection Agency says the U.S. discarded about 2.25 million tons of electronics in 2007, the most recent year for which even a rough estimate is available.

That's about 14½ pounds -- roughly the weight of a couple of laptops -- for every U.S. resident. It's also nearly a three-fold increase from the estimated 850,000 tons in 1997, according to the EPA.

"There's so much of it, and it's being generated at an increasing rate in the U.S. and worldwide," said Dan Gallo, an environmental protection specialist for the EPA.

And no one knows precisely where it all goes. Most of it ends up in landfills that are safe now, regulators say, but which critics say will leak someday.

A portion of the waste -- the amount is in dispute -- gets exported to such places as China and Africa, where workers in unsafe conditions extract valuable copper and other materials using open fires and acid.

Most aspects of e-waste are unregulated, federally and in Virginia.

"We're not deeply involved in how computers are managed in Virginia, other than encouraging that they be recycled or donated so they can have continued life," said Steve Coe, recycling specialist with the state Department of Environmental Quality.

The state and federal governments oversee the disposal of cathode-ray tubes, or CRTs -- the big, glassy parts in old computer monitors and TVs -- which can contain up to 8 pounds of lead, a toxic metal.

But while some states ban residents from dumping CRTs and other electronics in landfills, Virginia does not.

Among Virginia's neighbors, North Carolina and West Virginia will start banning the dumping of computer equipment and TVs next year. Maryland has no ban or plans for one.

Virginia allows individuals to dump old electronics with their household garbage, which ends up in a landfill.

Virginia localities can ban people from tossing lead-laden CRTs in the trash, but few localities -- and none in the Richmond area -- do that.

Of the electronics discarded in 2007, more than 80 percent went into landfills, the EPA says. Everyone agrees that's a waste of landfill space and valuable materials that can be recycled. The question is whether that dumping endangers the public.

The EPA says no, because modern landfills are equipped with plastic underground liners and systems designed to limit pollution.

"If properly managed, the disposal of electronics in landfills can be safe," Gallo said.

Others fear that even the most modern liners will leak someday, allowing e-waste-tainted "garbage juice" to pollute underground water, which can feed wells and streams.

"The heavy metals are there for the long, long term, and I don't think the liners are there for the long, long term," said Roger Diedrich, who deals with waste issues for the Virginia chapter of the Sierra Club.

Acidic liquids in landfills can dissolve hazardous metals in e-waste such as lead and copper, said John T. Novak, a Virginia Tech professor of civil and environmental engineering.

If the landfill leaks, those metals can contaminate groundwater, but operators of properly built landfills should prevent that by pumping out and treating the liquids, among other measures, Novak said.

Landfills contain lots of nasty things, including treated wood containing copper and arsenic. You can debate the wisdom of building big landfills, but there is nothing really unique about the threat of the e-waste in them, Novak said.

"A landfill is almost like a biological experiment," said Scott Mouw, North Carolina's recycling director.

"To me, it's common sense" to recycle or reuse electronics, he said, and not put them where they might cause problems.

While most of the high-tech castoffs go into landfills, the rest are either repaired and put back into use, or recycled.

Much of the recycled waste is ultimately broken down into parts such as plastic and metals that can be used to make such products as parking-lot curbs and lead-acid batteries.

Although it sounds wonderful to recycle, critics say a lot of e-waste that is diverted toward recycling gets shipped to developing countries.

"Eighty percent of what you hand over to a recycler in this country is going to end up offshore," said Puckett, the Seattle environmentalist.

The exports can be legal, particularly if they don't involve cathode-ray tubes. But, critics say, some exports endanger overseas workers and mislead Americans who in good faith take their old computers and other items to recycling sites -- sometimes paying for the privilege.

The EPA's Gallo said he does not know what portion of the exports is handled improperly, but, "We think it's not as large as what's being portrayed" in the media.

The Government Accountability Office said in a scathing 2008 report that the EPA did little to stop recyclers from sending e-waste overseas. Used electronics other than CRTs flow "virtually unrestricted" to developing countries, the report said.

The EPA is planning a study to better determine the fate of exported electronics, Gallo said.

Robert Houghton, president of Redemtech, an Ohio-based company that repairs and recycles old electronics, said, "I think it's absolutely truthful to say that there are no completely reliable statistics" on where e-waste goes.

Some say Congress will eventually have to stop the improper handling of e-waste.

"We stopped companies from throwing stuff in rivers a long time ago," Houghton said. "This really isn't very different."

The state DEQ's Coe said he believes recycling companies in Virginia are operating properly -- partly because they are truly "getting green" and partly because they fear getting bad publicity.

"There's a business risk if they don't do the right thing," Coe said.

Virginia's e-waste in 2009 included 20,370 computers and other electronics owned by state agencies, state officials said. AERC Recycling Solutions, a Pennsylvania-based company, dealt with the electronics at a cost of $217,587. AERC's services included recycling computer parts and erasing data from computer hard drives. AERC runs two warehouse-like plants near Ashland.

In addition, Computer Recycling of Virginia, a nonprofit near Tappahannock, recycled and refurbished since 2006 about 47,000 formerly state-owned computers that were replaced by Northrop Grumman under that company's contract to provide technology services to the state. The payment to Computer Recycling totaled $230,515, Northrop Grumman said.

The potential danger of e-waste has been known for years, but there is a growing concern over its proliferation and the lack of transparency about its ultimate resting place.

"I don't know [where Virginia's e-waste goes] and I don't exactly know how to find out," said Sierra's Diedrich.

Could part of the issue be semantic?

Using the term "e-waste" for valuable used electronics adds to the problem, said Eric Harris, associate counsel for the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, a trade group.

"If we keep on calling it a waste," Harris said, "we're encouraging the type of behavior that is associated with waste."

Things would be better, Harris said, if we called the stuff "scrap."

Monday, July 12, 2010

Arsenic Levels Rise Around Gulf of Mexico

British scientists warned that the oil spill is increasing the level of arsenic in the ocean, and could further add to the devastating impact on the already sensitive environment.

BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig has been spilling between 3,681,500 litres and 911,454,000 litres of oil into the sea per day since it exploded on April 22.

The spill is already being labeled as America's worst environmental disaster and has turned into a economic and PR nightmare for the British company.

Seventy-five days into the spill, the oil has fouled some 715km of shoreline in four southeastern US states, killed wildlife and put a massive dent in the region's multi-billion-dollar fishing industry.

The clean-up operation, which has already cost, $US3.12 billion ($3.7 billion), is expected to rise even further after efforts were hampered by technical setbacks to cap the leak and adverse weather conditions.

In a further blow, an operation to permanently cap the ruptured well on the seafloor far below the surface cannot begin until engineers finish drilling relief wells, in mid-August at the earliest.

Imperial College London researchers warned the effect on the environment could worsen unless clean up efforts were hastened.

Researchers published a study which found oil stops the ocean’s natural filtering process of arsenic.

They said the arsenic then gets “magnified” up the food chain, as fish eat small amounts of the deadly poison and may eventually impact humans, researchers said.

Professor Mark Sephton said arsenic, which is found in seawater, was normally filtered out of the ocean when it combined with sediment on the sea floor.

“But oil spills stop the normal process because the oil combines with sediment and it leads to an accumulation of arsenic in the water over time," he said.

"Arsenic only needs to be a 10th of a part per billion to cause problems.”

He added: “Our study is a timely reminder that oil spills could create a toxic ticking time bomb, which could threaten the fabric of the marine ecosystem in the future.”

Prof Sephton called for a comprehensive mapping of arsenic levels around the world which would allow authorities to consider banning oil drilling in areas with dangerous levels of arsenic.

The findings were published this month in the journal Water Research.

The warnings come after Hurricane Alex sparked a five-day shutdown, raising new questions over how BP would pay for the mounting costs.

Meanwhile, cleanup workers arrived back on Grand Isle, Louisiana by the hundreds, spilling off school buses that shuttled them in from around the state with one worker claiming it's the most oil he had seen so far.

However, while skimming operations resumed in Louisiana, rough seas kept vessels tied up in harbour in three other southeastern US states and no controlled burns were being carried out.

Skimming was suspended last week as Tropical Storm Alex, which later became the first Atlantic hurricane of the 2010 season, entered the Gulf.

BP is now pinning its hopes on the giant Taiwanese supertanker A Whale exponentially boosting the amount of oil and water mix being scooped up from the surface of the gulf.

The tanker should be able to vacuum up 78.75m litres of oily water a day, separate it and spit the seawater back out.

Tests on the 275-metre tanker-turned-skimmer were expected to be completed by Monday before officials decide whether to deploy it.

It also emerged last night that BP is now turning to rival oil groups and sovereign wealth funds to fend off a possible hostile takeover bid.

The National, an Emirati newspaper based in Abu Dhabi, reported that sovereign wealth funds in the oil-rich Middle East have proposed making a strategic investment in BP, which has pledged to place $US20 billion ($A23.74 billion) in an escrow account to pay for the cleanup in the Gulf.

The firms were also allegedly mulling buying key assets from BP and financially backing any capital the oil company might plan to raise after the British energy giant lost over half of its stock market value and saw its shares plunge in the wake of the disaster.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration meanwhile expanded the area closed to fishing in the Gulf beyond the current northwestern boundary off Louisiana, bringing to the closure to 210,258 square kilometres or 33.5 per cent of the Gulf's federal waters.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Molasses on Wintry Roads?

A thick, viscous fluid that is made from sugar beets, looks and feels like motor oil and smells a bit like instant coffee is part of the State Highway Administration's plans to keep Maryland roadways free of snow and ice this winter.

The molasses-based substance, known as Ice Bite, will be used in a pilot project in Frederick and Howard counties to test its effectiveness in pre-treating highways before spraying salt.

Highway officials at the agency's annual Snow Show on Monday said the product will be added to salt brine to help it adhere to pavement for a longer period. Officials say Ice Bite, a sugar-free form of beet molasses, will help reduce the amount of salt that scatters when a truck sprays it onto a roadway.

If Ice Bite works as advertised, it could help the state cut back on the amount of salt it uses on its roads. When salt is scattered, it can seep into water tables and aquifers, causing pollution.

SHA spokeswoman Sandra Dobson said the molasses product is "environmentally friendly."

"It helps with our desire to be a greener State Highway Administration," she said.

In addition to the environmental considerations, the state has an economic incentive to cut down on its use of road salt. Dobson said the price of rock salt has recently increased from $55 a ton to $62.

Ice Bite has been used in other states - among them Virginia, New Jersey, Illinois and Ohio - for almost 10 years. The state highway agency made an initial purchase of 6,000 gallons at $2.17 a gallon.

According to officials, the molasses derivative can cut down on corrosion of both state salt-spreading equipment and private vehicles. They said that it is a light brown color after it has been diluted by salt brine and that it will not stain road surfaces.

Ice Bite is also believed to make salt and salt brine more effective at colder temperatures. According to its manufacturer, Road Solutions Inc. of Indianapolis, the product is effective at temperatures as low as 25 degrees below zero.

If Ice Bite proves effective, Maryland could expand its use to other jurisdictions in future years, state highway Administrator Neil J. Pedersen said.

Christopher P. Swan, an ecologist and associate professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, has studied the impact of rising salt levels in streams - frequently attributed to heavy road salt application. He said he's found subtle but potentially significant changes in the development of grey tree frogs, aquatic insects and zooplankton, the microscopic animals in water that feed on algae.

Swan says he thinks using the molasses-based product as a supplement to rock salt would probably help reduce the amount of salt that is getting into area streams.

The beet derivative is unlikely to have as lasting an impact on streams as salt does because it would degrade more quickly, Swan said.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hannity to Obama: 'Mr. President Turn the Water on Now'

What in the heck is wrong with people?
These left-wing wackos are protecting these 'minnows' over the well-being of the people.
Have you seen this on the MSM? Anywhere?

The government has shut the water off to farmers to save a minnow, a minnow that that can be found in the millions in other parts of the country, but the bleeding hearts say they are more important than the people or their livelihood.

By Norma Yuriar

Huron, Calif. (KMPH News) - "Mr. President, turn the water on now," Fox News Host Sean Hannity said, during a live broadcast from the Central Valley. The conservative talk show host anchored his daily program from a farm near Lemoore to highlight the valley's water crisis.

The one hour segment titled, "The Valley that Hope Forgot" drew hundreds to a fallowed tomato field of Highway 198 in Huron. Sylvia Soto said she attended the rally in hopes President Obama was watching. The field worker says she is on the brink of losing her job.

"Our plant is shutting down on the 23rd of October because of the crisis of the water," Soto said.

This crisis is a combination of a statewide drought and water regulations in place to protect endangered fish.

"We are not just talking about the Delta Smelt, we are also talking about Salmon, these salmon are food and provide jobs for people," Federation of Fisherman's Association Zeke Grader said.

Grader told Hannity, local farmers aren't the only ones hurting.

"You need to come up to the north coast the place where I'm from, Fort Bragg, come to Eureka and visit with the unemployed fishermen and give this some balance," Grader said.

Hannity disagreed.

"The problem is the water has been turned off because environmental wackos like you care more about the fish than they do about people," Hannity said.

Manuel Guerra, a Farmer from Kerman said he hoped the spirited debate captured the attention of President Obama.

"I hope that this helps [bring more water] because my brother and I do custom farming and we just lost all of our jobs," Guerra said.

Former Fresno Mayor Alan Autry said although President Obama is no a fan of the conservative talk show host, it's hard to ignore Hannity's voice when it's backed by 'real people'.

"Whether you agree with Sean Hannity or you don't, you can't argue with fact that he is a force in America," Autry said.

Autry told KMPH News he believed the live Fox News broadcast would do for the valley, what town hall protestors did for the health care debate.

"They managed to do something very dramatic and that's have [Obama's] folks go back to the drawing board and come up with a good, common sense health care reform, that was not going to happen until people spoke out," Autry said.

Those in the audience, attending Thursday's rally agreed.

"It's going to take something like this to really make a difference," Phillip Garcia of Firebaugh said.

"Even if Obama does not listen to [Hannity], it's going to swell and it's going to grow and I feel like the message is going to get across," Natasha Hunt of Coalinga said.


Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Obama's Commie Green Czar: "White Polluters" Steered Poison Into Minority Communities (Video)

No wonder Hussein Obama liked him.
Barack Obama's communist Green Czar Van Jones told an audience last year that white polluters steered poison into minority communities:

Wake-up America, this is the avenue that the POTUS and the liberal left want us to take.
Please take the time to listen to this compilation of sound and video.

It sounds eerily like Barack himself, no?
After all, Obama said himself, ""That's just how white folks will do you."

Monday, August 31, 2009

Candlelight Dinners Declared to Be a Health Hazard

There isn't much our liberal rulers wouldn't take away from us in the name of our safety. Not even candlelight dinners are safe.

The American Chemical Society has announced that "emission products of petroleum-based candles in nonventilated enclosed areas" are potential health hazards. Proclaims Ruhullah Massoudi, a chemistry professor at South Carolina State University:

[L]ighting many paraffin candles every day for years or lighting them frequently in an un-ventilated bathroom around a tub, for example, may cause problems.

When the experts speak, the legislators are never far behind.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tech: Buy Carbon Indulgences Directly From Trees

Attention moonbats who buy carbon offsets: Why let exploitative middlemen like Al Gore come between you and the trees you hug? Use the new ATREEM instead:
Designer Nitipak Samsen has designed the Automated Tree-Rental for Emission Encaging Machine (ATREEM), which essentially allows you to purchase carbon credits from a tree. The gadget measures the growth of a tree, translating into how much carbon dioxide the tree has absorbed. The gadget is designed to highlight just how long it takes for our carbon dioxide emissions to be reabsorbed.
The device is more about awareness than being a practical method for charging people for their carbon dioxide emissions. However, the gadget is capable of charging credit cards using its swipe-card interface.

Fools and their money are soon parted. Not even trees can refrain from ripping them off.

Unused Medications

Think Twice Before Flushing Meds

By Susan Hindman
Hospitals and long-term care facilities in the United States flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain each year, which in turn pumps contaminants into America’s drinking water, according to an ongoing Associated Press investigation. The meds being discarded are expired, spoiled, overprescribed, or unneeded. These actions, AP found, are part of an emerging problem: the presence of minute concentrations of pharmaceuticals in the nation’s drinking water supplies, which may be affecting aquatic species and even human cell growth.

Although large facilities handle the more powerful and toxic drugs, people at home need to be aware of the most environmentally sensitive way to discard their own medications. Dumping them down the sink or toilet is no longer a good idea. In February, the American Pharmacists Association (APhA) issued guidelines—since embraced by the federal government as well—that recommend against doing this. Instead, consumers, doctors, and pharmacies are being urged to dispose of most drugs in the household garbage.

APhA offer these guidelines for disposing of unused medications in the trash:

  • Pour liquid medication into a sealable plastic bag. If the medication is a solid (pill, liquid capsule, etc.), crush it or add water to dissolve it.
  • Add kitty litter, sawdust, coffee grounds—or any material that mixes with the medication and makes it less appealing for pets and children to eat—to the plastic bag. Seal the bag and put it in the household trash, out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Remove and destroy all identifying personal information on the prescription label before recycling the containers or throwing them away.
Another option is to check for approved state and local collection alternatives such as community-based household hazardous waste collection programs. In certain states, you may be able to take your unused medications to your pharmacy or other location for disposal. Consult your pharmacist with any questions.

Earlier this year, APhA joined forces with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America to launch the SMARxT Disposal campaign. The campaign seeks to educate consumers about the environmental impact of improperly disposed medications. Click here for more information about the SMARxT Disposal campaign.