A powerful 7.8-magnitude earthquake flattened numerous cities on the Ecuador coastline Saturday, killing at least 77 people and injuring more than 500 others.Hana Levi Julian
Posts Tagged ‘environment’
The air quality in the area around the Haifa Bay has improved over the past year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
The region saw an 11 percent drop in air pollution levels coming from the industrial sector, the agency announced Tuesday, reaching a 65 percent drop since 2009. The first quarter report of a new action plan for the region said 77 percent of the biggest Haifa Bay factories are also now mandated to comply with stricter emissions controls.
Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav called it an “historical day.” For the first time in the history of the state, said the mayor, “a government representative has assumed not only the authority but also the responsibility of the state to correct the distortions and even the crimes committed in the Haifa Bay.”
The figures were presented in the first quarterly report of the National Action Plan for the Haifa Bay Area, a five year plan budgeted at NIS 330 million.
The government approved the project in September, tasking the program to improve the air quality in the region while reducing environmental risks. In addition, the program is being used to promote research, increase accessibility to data and beef up supervision, enforcement and monitoring of environmental issues in the area.Hana Levi Julian
On the surface, it seems odd that U.S. President Barack Obama and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin both are taking the time and trouble to attend a global climate change conference this month in Paris.
But both were asked to speak on the first day of a conference in which thousands from around the world are planning to participate. Both are also involved in a life-threatening battle in Syria that now appears to have spread to Egypt despite the best efforts of Western fighters.
It is possible — likely even — the two leaders may find time to discuss their mutual concerns while at the conference for climate control as well, albeit away from the very interested eyes of the media.
More than 100 other leaders of nations joined the two world leaders Sunday as they arrived in Paris to prepare the groundwork for the talks at the COP 21 event. The three-day conference is convened with the aim of reaching the most ambitious accord ever — aimed at limiting greenhouse emissions that cause global warming.
Despite being one of the driest nations in the world, has become a world leader in the management of precious ecological and environmental resources, particularly water.
The European Union Ambassador Lars Faaborg-Andersen sat down with Avi Gabbay, Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister last week and ambassadors of EU member states for a working breakfast to prepare for the Paris conference.
Organizers are hoping to reach a new global climate deal at the conference by the time the event reaches its last day in December.
“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions is a win-win situation, for the environment and for the economy, in Israel and in the EU,” said Gabbay. “Governments and business leaders must work together to reduce emissions, and foster a global transition to a low-carbon economy. We look forward to continuing our cooperation with the EU and its members on this issue,” he said.
“French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabian told international media that Putin accepted an invitation to speak on the first day of the conference, scheduled for Nov. 30-Dec. 11. He is to be joined by Obama, as well as the leaders of India and China on that first day, but the Kremlin has yet to confirm his participation, according to the Associated Press.
Some 40,000 people are expected to attend the gathering in addition to thousands of activists from the fields of human, environmental and ecological rights.Hana Levi Julian
A forest fire was blazing in the Gush Etzion bloc in Judea on Sunday morning.
Fire officials ordered the closure of Route 367, in order to keep motorists safe from the flames in the Gevaot Forest.
It is not yet clear how the fire got started.Hana Levi Julian
The American Secretary of State now has promoted, or demoted, himself to be the sole judge of whether a presidential candidate’s positions qualify him to be president of the United States of America.
John Kerry’s problem with Republican candidate Donald Trump is the maverick billionaire scoffs at global warning, a subject that is close to Kerry’s heart, perhaps even more than the “peace process.”
Trump, whose expertise on everything often is not supported by any knowledge, tweeted this week:
The Donald is sure he is right because cold weather stormed into the East Coast Monday, not unusual for mid-October.
Liberal media had a field day mocking Trump, but no one went so far as Kerry to “disqualify” a man because he thinks differently from the Secretary of State, whose expertise on world matters often is not supported by knowledge or common sense.
However, Kerry’s judgmental attitude reflects to a certain extent that of President Barack Obama, whose press secretary Josh Earnest said last May of those who are against a United Nations climate treaty:
Well these are individuals whom, many of whom at least, deny the fact that climate change even exists. So I’m not sure they would be in the best position to decide whether or not a climate change agreement is one that is worth entering into.”
In other words, the “freethinkers” draw the line when someone does not think like they do.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu
A new study published this week in the journal Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology has found that a chemical widely used in personal care products such as sun screen, poses an ecological threat to corals and coral reefs, threatening their existence.
Oxybenzone (also known as BP-3; Benzophenone-3) is found in over 3,500 sun screen products worldwide. It pollutes coral reefs from swimmers wearing sun screens, and through wastewater discharges from municipal sewage spillage and from coastal septic systems.
The study comes less than two weeks after NOAA declared the third-ever global coral bleaching event and warned that locally produced threats to coral – such as pollution – stress the health of corals and decrease the likelihood that they will resist bleaching, or recover from it.
Toxic effects of the sun screen UV filter, oxybenzone, on coral planulae (baby coral) demonstrates that exposure of the coral to the chemical produces gross morphological deformities, damages their DNA, and, most alarmingly, acts as an endocrine disruptor.
The latter causes the coral to encase itself in its own skeleton leading to death. These effects were observed to be as low as 62 parts per trillion, the equivalent to a drop of water in six and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Measurements of oxybenzone in seawater within coral reefs in Hawaii and the U.S. Virgin Islands found concentrations ranging from 800 parts per trillion to 1.4 parts per million. This is over 12 times higher than the concentrations necessary to impact on coral.
The research team involved in the study included marine scientists from Israel, Virginia, Florida, the U.S. National Aquarium and the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
Among the Israeli researchers were two from Ben Gurion University of the Negev.
Prof. Ariel Kushmaro is head of the Environmental Biotechnology Lab, The Avram and Stella Goldstein-Goren Department of Biotechnology Engineering, The Ilse Katz Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology and National Institute for Biotechnology in the Negev. Researcher Yona Lichtenfeld is a member of the university’s Department of Life Sciences.
“We have lost at least 80% of the coral reefs in the Caribbean,” warned lead study author Dr. Craig Downs of Haereticus Environmental Laboratory Virginia.
“Any small effort to reduce oxybenzone pollution could mean that a coral reef survives a long, hot summer, or that a degraded area recovers. Everyone wants to build coral nurseries for reef restoration, but this will achieve little if the factors that originally killed off the reef remain or intensify in the environment.”
Professor Kushmaro added, “There is widespread use of sun screens which utilize chemicals from the benzophenone group in sun and UV-intensive Israel. According to measurements not included in the article, similar concentrations of benzophenone have been found near the coral reefs in Eilat.
“Since it is likely that these chemicals are being washed off of swimmers’ bodies, it stands to reason that concentrations would be higher in swimming and snorkeling areas such as the coral reef reserve in Eilat,” the professor said.
The study found that oxybenzone is a photo-toxicant with adverse impacts exacerbated in light. But even in darkness, planulae were transformed from a motile (mobile) state to a deformed, sessile (immobile) condition and showed an increasing rate of coral bleaching in response to increasing concentrations of oxybenzone.
Between 6,000 and 14,000 tons of sun screen lotion are leaked into coral reef areas each year, much of which contains between one and 10% oxybenzone, the researchers said.
They estimated this puts at least 10 percent of global reefs at risk of high exposure, based on reef distribution in coastal tourist areas. This study is one of less than two dozen scientific studies that closely examine the impact of personal care product ingredients on marine organisms and habitats.Hana Levi Julian
An Israeli company is building wind energy farms for the first time in the country in 30 years. .
Afcon Holdings, a part of the Shlomo Group, is building two farms that will house 25 wind turbines each in Ramat Sirin and Ma’aleh Gilboa, south of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee).
The turbines will produce 21 megawatts of electricity at any moment and will become operational in 2016, reported Yediot Acharonot.
Israel’s first wind farm was built 30 years ago in the Golan Heights,
The plan for a wind farm at Ramat Sirin was approved 10 years ago after the National Planning and Building Board’s committee rejected augments by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel that the farm will damage a scenic open space.
The new wind farms did not receive a green light also overcoming several hurdles by Israel’s Electric Authority and the IDF. Geographically, there are also few sites in Israel with winds strong enough to justify a wind turbine farm.
Some environmental groups also oppose wind farms due to fear that the turbines could harm birds.
The new turbines will measure 29 meters (95.1 feet) each and will produce 850 kilowatts of energy an hour per turbine.JNS News Service