Archive for the Pacific Category

Land Clearing And Pollution

Posted in Brazil, Britain, Children, Environment, European Union, Health, Human Rights, Modern World, News, Pacific with tags , , , , on 12/12/2017 by floroy1942

All across the world trees are being cut down at a fantastic rate and it will never end. In the Amazon, and all across the world, the forests are being decimated as mankind ignores the fact that we rely on trees for oxygen to breathe. The oceans of the world also give us the essential oxygen, but they are so polluted that we can no longer rely on them.

Huge swathes of the Amazon have disappeared due to farmers wanting more land for their cattle, and to grow crops. In the Far East large areas of forest have disappeared completely for the purpose of getting more farming land. If this continues we will be starved of oxygen within decades.

We are polluting the atmosphere with more than a billion vehicles on our roads and and they increase year by year, and soon we will have no clean air left the breathe. When you look at the traffic jams around the world you see that most cars have only the driver and no-one else. Very few have more than one occupant. Perhaps we should introduce pick-up points where drivers can travel with someone else instead of all taking their own cars to work. It was tried many years ago but failed.

Electric vehicles are slowly being introduced, but will take tens of years to fulfil before we see all petrol and diesel vehicles disappear from our roads. But what of the supply of electricity? With millions of electric vehicles on our roads we will be hard pushed for power stations to supply enough energy, and what of the domestic supplies that are required to power our homes and gadgets. This will be another big problem for mankind.

We humans are slowly but surely destroying our world, but nobody seems to care except the scientists. They tell us we are heading for big trouble in our world but no-one takes any notice. We all go on with our daily lives and do not care what our children and their children will face in the coming years. Without a doubt they will face hard times as the pollution gets worse and worse.

We have to think of our children and what sort of life they will inherit, for if we do not, they will suffer greatly. Mankind must wake up to the dangers we are putting our lives into, and prevent the end of the world.

Roy.

How On Earth Could This Happen?

Posted in America, Britain, England, European Union, Insanity, Modern World, News, Oceans, Pacific, USA with tags , , , on 21/08/2017 by floroy1942

Nations search for 10 missing after US destroyer collision

                                                USS John S. McCain

How on earth could such a collision happen? It seems to me totally inconceivable that two ships could hit one another in this day and age. Twice now we have had American warships involved in a collision with other ships. First we had the USS Fitzgerald off Japan, and now another one, USS John S. McCain off Singapore.

The only thing I can think of is the crews must have been totally incompetent on both ships. They both have sophisticated radar and it should have been easy to avoid a collision. The captain’s of both ships have been held accountable, and so they should for it was sheer incompetence for them to have a collision.

Image: The Arleigh Burke-class Guided-Missile Destroyer USS Fitzgerald, Damaged by Colliding with a Philippine-flagged Merchant Vessel, is seen at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka

                                                      USS Fitzgerald

They must have seen on radar that the tankers were heading on a collision course and the officer on the bridge should have taken avoiding action. It is inconceivable that in this day and age, with all the technology that the Navy has that they could have been involved in a collision at sea.

The collision cost the lives of sailors who were doing their job and this is a scandal. In my view, the captains of both ships should serve jail time, plus the people on the bridge at the time. To needlessly throw away the lives of sailors through sheer stupidity must be a criminal offence.

Roy.

Science Is Getting More Laughable!

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Canada, Conservation, Environment, Nature, News, Pacific with tags , , , , on 01/01/2015 by floroy1942

I sometimes get the impression these days that science has lost its way! Some of the experiments, and the results that come from them, seem to bear no relationship to intelligent and rational thinking whatsoever. This week I came across some ‘scientific results’ that seem to test the limits of basic intelligence.

The first one concerns shipping, and a bunch of scientists from Leeds University have come up with the idea that we should have all ships ‘generate smaller bubbles in their wake to reflect more of the sunlight back into space’.

Make The Bubbles Smaller?

Make The Bubbles Smaller?

Their hypothesis is that the bubbles created by the turning propellers of a ship as it passes through the water should be made smaller. By doing this, the white froth left behind by all moving ships could last up to 24 hours instead of the normal few minutes, and thereby reflect more sunlight. It would seem to me that we need to increase the number of ships on the world’s oceans by a few million for this idea to work.

Naturally, this is part of the Global Warming Project and is part of an effort to reduce the rising temperature of the planet. Leeds’ Prof Piers Forster said the bubbles idea was a plausible scheme. “A lot of these technologies are completely hypothetical, but “The one advantage about this technology – of trying to generate these tiny ‘micro-bubbles’ – is that the technology does already exist.”

Part of Leeds University UK

Part of Leeds University UK

Julia Crook, also from Leeds, explained: “The technology required for other forms of solar radiation management is a long way off being ready, whereas micro-bubble generators already exist. The Japanese are already experimenting with micro-bubbles under ships’ hulls to make them more streamlined and more fuel-efficient. This could have a double benefit.”

She added: “This form of solar radiation management has the advantage over stratospheric aerosol injection, in that one could move ships with bubble generators to different parts of the ocean, providing more control on the regional temperature and precipitation changes induced.”

The Last Time Many Ships Sailed Together Was In WW2 Convoys

The Last Time Many Ships Sailed Together Was In WW2 Convoys

A quick search showed me that there are roughly 104,304 ships in the world including fishing boats and pleasure craft. This number, if all sailing the sea together would not even cover the area of the Black Sea. When you consider they are spread all across the globe their impact would be negligible, and the amount of reflected sunlight would be so small as to be unmeasurable. Not even worth the effort of converting a single ship never mind over 100,000, although the scientists consider such technology has ‘the potential’ to reduce temperatures by 0.5C. The one thing they did say was that there is a distinct possibility this measure could increase rainfall in some areas, as if we don’t get enough in many parts with massive flooding!

The second scientific report concerns of all things, Arctic Ground Squirrels! According to the Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, US, we can blame the the humble Arctic ground squirrel for increasing world temperatures too. For it seems their burrowing into the permafrost at these northern latitudes is releasing large amounts of CO2 that is normally trapped in the frozen ground. These findings were presented at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in San Francisco.

Killing Our Planet?

Killing Our Planet?

Dr Sue Natali, from Woods Hole Research Centre in Massachusetts, US, said, “Carbon has been accumulating in permafrost for tens of thousands of years. The temperature is very cold, the soils are saturated, so that when plants and animals die, rather than decompose, the carbon has been slowly, slowly building up. Right now the carbon storage is about 1,500 pentagrams (1,500 billion tonnes). To put that in perspective, that’s about twice as much as is contained in the atmosphere.”

Nigel Golden, from the University of Wisconsin, looked at ground squirrels: small, fluffy rodents that are found across the Arctic. He said:, “They are soil engineers. They break down the soil when they are digging their burrows, they mix the top layer with the bottom layer, they are bringing oxygen to the soil and they are fertilizing the soil with their urine and their faeces. We saw an increase in soil temperature in the soils the Arctic ground squirrels were occupying.”

To me these ideas are about as crazy as sowing the clouds with salt so as to reflect more sunlight. I am no scientist, but it seems to me that if we do that we end up with salt water rain and a fat lot of good that will do anyone.

But at least we can, in part, blame the Arctic ground squirrels for our current climate problems. Ah Well! At least its not all our fault (sigh of relief)!

Roy.

Japan Stops Whale Hunting

Posted in Atlantic, Conservation, Environment, Europe, Modern World, Nature, News, Oceans, Pacific, Politics with tags , , , , on 02/04/2014 by floroy1942

I must admit to feeling satisfied when the International Court of Justice decreed that whale hunting by Japan was not for scientific research as they claimed. The only thing that surprised me is that it has taken so many years for them to decide this.

It was in 1986 that the International Whaling Commission banned commercial whaling, but Japan continued its hunting practices using the excuse that it was for scientific research. How killing whales can be called research is beyond me, but they got away with until now.

At last legal steps have been taken to stop this malpractice, which according to the latest reports, Japan has accepted today. It is well known the Japanese consider whale meat a delicacy that has been available to them since they first began hunting them in the 12th century. One can hardly imagine the number of whales they have killed since then.

The ban has received a mixed reception in Japan, with mainly the younger generation less inclined to be against it.

Up until this ban they were killing approximately one thousand Minke whales a year as part of the ‘scientific’ programme. Unfortunately for them Australia and various environmental groups challenged this and took it to the court and won. Japan had argued “that Australia’s legal action was an attempt to impose its own cultural conventions, equivalent to Hindus demanding an international ban on killing cows”.

Unfortunately the ban is only a temporary one while the system of whaling permits is examined, which could see the whaling fleets setting sail again soon. Japan also has a small fleet that hunts whales in the Pacific that does not seem to be affected by the ban.

It is fair to note that both Iceland and Finland refused to abide by the 1986 decision but do not kill as many as the Japanese. Hopefully common sense will prevail and the authorities can do something to stop our continued rape of the seas.

Roy.

First The Horse Meat Scandal, And Now Fish!

Posted in America, Atlantic, Britain, Environment, Europe, Health, Oceans, Pacific, UK, USA with tags , , , on 13/03/2013 by floroy1942
Tuna

Tuna

Many of our favourite dishes have been found to contain a high percentage of horse meat, instead of the labelled beef. In America, there is now a new and bigger scandal that involves fish products. An ocean protection group called Oceana, carried out a series of tests on many of the fish products commonly sold in the U.S.A. like tuna, red snapper, halibut and cod among others, and each was found to contain substitute fish.

Another major consideration is the contaminants in fish.

Escolar

Escolar

When testing was carried out on canned tuna, 59% of the contents were not tuna at all, but a substitute. In red snapper samples, a huge 87% was found to be a substitute, of which 85% was escolar, which can cause severe gastrointestinal problems. In America, this problem has been found in sushi bars, restaurants and grocery stores, and was found in 44% of all premises visited. ‘Mislabeled’ products were found in every sushi bar visited.

Take Your Pick!

Take Your Pick!

At this moment the authorities are calling it ‘mislabeling’, but I have a suspicion that its pretty much the same as the horse meat scandal in Europe, i.e. where someone was hoping to make a lot of money by deliberately substituting cheap horse meat for beef.

Do You Think This Does Not Affect The Fish We Eat?

Do You Think This Does Not Affect The Fish We Eat?

Considering that many people are already put off fish by the incessant oil spills in ocean waters, the ever-growing contamination of our seas, and not forgetting the Fukushima nuclear disaster, its possible this will do even more damage to the industry.

However, these two scandals indicate to me that these days, some people will go to any lengths to ‘make a buck’, and as usual its the consumer that suffers.

Roy.

 

What’s The Point Of The Rio+20 Environment Conference?

Posted in America, Britain, Environment, Forests, Oceans, Pacific, Plastic Rubbish, UN, United Nations with tags , , , , on 22/06/2012 by floroy1942

Why are so many world leaders gathering in Rio de Janeiro if they knew beforehand that it will accomplish nothing? The run-up to the conference has been splashed across the news for the past week, and any fool who imagined something useful would come out of it will be disappointed. I, like most other people, thought it a waste of time and that nothing would be achieved. We are not wrong!

Jaw Flapping and Empty Promises

When leaders get together in this fashion to discuss something as important as the future of mankind on this planet of ours, all we get is jaw flapping and empty promises.  The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNep) has a team of very gifted scientists who warned prior to the conference that humanity may be heading for a ‘tipping point’ which will become ‘irreversible’. That is to say, we are currently doing so much damage to our environment and the planet’s biodiversity, that we will soon reach a point where the damage cannot be undone.

Despite all the empty promises made by governments during the last twenty years of the conference, improvements have been made on only four issues like green house gases and the ozone layer, while the rest, which include the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies, preservation measures for the world’s oceans and seas, safeguarding the world-wide fresh water supplies and over-population are still awaiting any concrete proposals after twenty years.

Brazilian President

It is without doubt ironic that this years conference is being held in Rio, situated in a country that is doing more than any other to contribute to the devastating storms, floods and drought being experienced in the western hemisphere by decimating the Brazilian rain forest.  

The Amazon, the largest rain forest on the planet, is steadily being burnt and hacked away, and at the current rate will be a shadow of its former self in just a decade or two. The world’s oceans are rapidly becoming a cesspool of discarded plastic and rubbish, and the fish stocks are being decimated without being given time to recover. Fairly soon water shortages in many countries will become so acute, as to cause mass migration to areas more capable of sustaining human life. This in itself will cause major upheaval across the world.

Another problem such conferences fail to discuss is the steadily climbing over-population in the world. China is the only country that has imposed limits on how many children a married couple may have in order to stem the booming population growth, and that was enacted in 1978.

Population Growth

India is another nation with an unsustainable population growth, but is doing nothing to address the problem. Within a couple of decades we will surely see many other countries enforcing a similar rule to that of China, for population growth is expanding like a runaway train, and pretty soon the Earth will simply not be able to sustain that level of life.

Biodiversity is also being hit hard, and soon we will begin to see the effects of our carelessness as more and more species of plants, insects and animals disappear for ever. 

But can we expect governments to address these problems comprehensively, not on your life! As an example let me use the oil producing countries and the oil industry. They refuse to even hear about removing the subsidies on fossil fuels – why? Because the former will sell less oil and the latter will make less profit!

The World’s Plastic Islands

Knowing full well about the country-sized gyres that have become floating islands of discarded plastic in all our oceans, does any government look to ban a simple thing like the plastic bag – No? Why? – Because it is being blocked by the plastic industry.

The Brazilian government has the power to stop illegal loggers and farmers devastating the forest with their activities, but do they do it – no! Why? – Because there’s money in it.

Biodiversity Loss

Why don’t the fishing nations crack down on illegal fishing and declare far more areas of our oceans protected in order to allow the fish stocks to recover? Why are the Japanese still allowed to ignore the ban on hunting whales with the laughable excuse that ‘its for research’?

We all need to put some serious thought into these problems and force governments to take positive action to save the planet, for if the scientists are correct, we have a very small window of opportunity to act before its too late.

Roy. 

Plastic May Kill You In Years To Come

Posted in Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Modern World, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, USA with tags , , , , on 30/01/2012 by floroy1942

Now that’s a bold statement if ever there was one, and I am sure more than a few people will be wondering what the hell is going on. Well, it would seem that plastic rubbish on our beaches is not the only problem we are facing, for scientists today have made yet another discovery that could have a far reaching effect on mankind, well, our offspring actually. It all revolves around the weekly washing (or daily if you have kids)!

The Weekly Wash – Not So Innocent

A group of scientists have discovered that a new, possibly deadly substance is getting into the environment from our weekly wash. Every day millions of people put their dirty clothes in the washing machine and think no more about it. Its a perfectly normal occurrence, and who thinks about what goes down the drain during the operation. Its just dirty water with some detergent in it, and anyway, the water company takes care of it, right!

From the latest research it seems that is not the end of the story, because, if some of the garments you washed contain man-made fibres i.e. polyester, acrylic, or polyamides (nylon), that water from the washing machine contains so-called ‘microplastics’.

Microfibres – The Hidden Menace

It seems these are tiny fibres of plastic, less than a millimetre long, that detach from this type of garment during the wash cycle, and a single item can lose more than 1,900 fibres per wash. Via the drains and water treatment plants (where applicable) these fibres end up in rivers or the sea where they are being eaten by fish and other creatures. Because they are so small, they even end up in the stomachs of plankton which of course is the main diet of many species of fish and mammals. Naturally, not only fish are contaminated with this fibre, but also land animals that get their water from rivers.

The dangerous part is that their small size allows them to be not only ingested by e.g. the fish, but once in the stomach they enter the bloodstream, and hence the blood of the host. It has been found to accumulate in the cells of fish during research by Dr. Mark Brown of the National Centre For Ecological Analysis ans Synthesis (NCEAS) in The States, and Prof. Richard Thomson from the University of Plymouth in the UK.

By Comparison, A Minor Problem

The team tested seawater from various points around the globe and the sewage outlets of many cities and found that the contamination was strongest near large population centres as you would expect. Testing of water from washing machines proved the link with items of clothing produced using man-made fibres.

It should be obvious that when the fish or animals are contaminated with this plastic, it is already in the food chain. Should it have the same effect on human physiology, i.e. get locked up in our cells, who knows what harm this will cause to our bodies. Whatever happens, it’s a fairly safe bet we have not heard the last of this problem.

Roy

The Curse Of The Plastic Bag Returns

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Toxic Waste, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , on 29/07/2011 by floroy1942

Despite government campaigns, environmental group actions, and other publicity on the dangers of supermarket plastic bags over the past five years, their use is once again on the rise.

People are turning back to the ‘one-use’ bag instead of the multi-use ones now available. The consumption of these items has risen from 6.1 billion in 2009 to 6.4 billion last year. Not a significant rise you might think, and certainly better than the 10.7 billion bags used in 2006.

The Infamous Plastic Bag

Why shoppers are going back to their old ways and ignoring the danger to the environment is to date a mystery. It would seem people no longer believe in doing what they can to save the planet from pollution, despite the discovery of the Plastic Islands in our oceans. Recycling Minister Lord Henley has suggested that if the current situation continues there may be need for legislation. Personally, I would think the sooner the better!

Although this would not solve the problem completely, for we still use plastic rubbish bin liners for example, it would go a long way to cutting down on the mountains of plastic that are currently polluting our world.

Plastic Bin Liners In Use

This information shows clearly that people are not willing to change their ways, and the supermarkets and retailers too are not interested, despite earlier promises. Therefore I would say legislation is imperative. Laws must be passed to outlaw plastic bags once and for all time from the High Street, and replace them with the old-time paper or cloth bag.

Environmentally Harmless And Recyclable

Paper bags were good enough for generations following Francis Wolle’s invention of the first paper bag making machine in 1852, and everyone used them prior to the introduction of plastic bags by Swedish engineer Sten Gustaf Thulin in the early 1960’s. Since that day the number of plastic bags in circulation has soured and billions are used every day throughout the world.

The largest users by far are the Chinese, but they at least are taking positive steps to cut their usage. Laws introduced in 2008 banned single-use bags and has received a positive response from shoppers.

One side effect of getting rid of billions of plastic bags will be the huge saving made in oil from which they are made. It is estimated the measures taken by China have reduced its oil consumption by around 3 million tonnes of oil per annum. That’s an awful lot of oil! So, what if the ban was total and  world-wide?

Animal Life And Plastic

In order to cut down the massive pollution caused by these items, it is clear that plastic shopping bags should be consigned to history as one of man’s greatest environmental mistakes. Their use, reusable or not, can no longer be justified in today’s world. We have enough pollution problems, and let’s face it, would we really bemoan the loss of the plastic bag when we have so many environmentally friendly alternatives? I think not!

My wife and I keep several cloth shopping bags in the boot of the car and never accept the plastic alternative from the supermarket. It is such a small step, but if more people did that we would not need the plastic bag any more. Obviously, many are either too lazy to take such steps, or just don’t care, which is a shame. It is for this reason I believe legislation in this area is desperately needed.

Headed For The Plastic Island

Shoppers, like most other people, always look to the easiest option and don’t care what happens so long as it doesn’t intrude into own little ‘world’. Perhaps though we should all stop to think about what we are doing to our planet for the sake of our children.

What we do today will have a great impact on their lives!

Food for thought perhaps?

Associated Posts:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/welcome-to-plastic-island/

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/03/07/the-plastic-island-part-2/

Roy.

Going Green – The Way Back

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Old Age Pensioner, Pacific, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Senior Citizen, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 25/07/2011 by floroy1942

 It is a fact that many people think the older generations did nothing to look after the planet on which we live because we were not ‘eco’ friendly. I am here to tell those people how wrong they are. I received a very interesting e-mail from my brother over the weekend all about being ‘green’.

It is a fact that we seniors did not have separate waste bins for plastic, glass etc and we did not run our cars on biofuels, but did that make us less ‘eco’ friendly? I think not as the following will amply demonstrate.

In the line at the store, the cashier told an older woman that she should bring her own grocery bags because plastic bags weren’t good for the environment. 

The Weekly Shopping

The woman apologized to him and explained, “We didn’t have the green thing back in my day.”
The clerk responded, “That’s our problem today.  Your generation did not care enough to save our environment.”

She was right — our generation didn’t have the green thing in its day.

The Glass Milk Bottle-Reusable

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.

But we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Stairs - Remember Them?

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.

But she was right. We didn’t have the green thing in our day.

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 the clothes.  Kids got hand-me-down clothes from their brothers or sisters, not always brand-new clothing.

But that old lady is right; we didn’t have the green thing back in our day.

Just One Per Home

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. 

Why Not Old Newspaper?

When we packaged a fragile item to send in the mail, we used a wadded up old newspaper 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.

But she’s right; we didn’t have the green thing back then.

Free Water For Anyone Thirsty And No Plastic

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 blades in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

But we didn’t have the green thing back then.

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. 

The Modern Mixer - Is It Really Essential?

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 2,000 miles out in space in order to find the nearest pizza 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? ”

(My sincere thanks to the anonymous writer of this piece)

So you see, things were in many ways much better then than they are now. Consequently, I don’t think members of today’s generation have the right to say us old folks are to blame for today’s eco-problems, because actually, they have done it to themselves.

Admittedly, it was not because we thought about the environment as such, but more the fact that we just did not have all the things people have today. Technology has taken huge strides since the 40’s and 50’s, and we have to look there, and at ourselves, for the problems with our environment today. Many of the technological advances that have been made serve only to make us more lazy and increase the level of unemployment, so is that a good thing, do we really need these things?

Our Planets Floating Garbage Islands

There are many we could well do without, like escalators and powered grass mowers just to use two examples from the above piece. We could perhaps reduce the amount of plastic each of us uses in our daily lives, like supermarket carrier bags, plastic cups and bottles. After all, what is wrong with paper bags and glass bottles  that can be reused?

So you see, the current generation is more to blame for the state of our world than the old folks. Next time you buy an electric apparatus take a moment to think; Do I really need this?

It would seem the only way forward for us to be totally in tune with our world, is to take a few steps back and live like we used to.

Roy.

When Disaster Strikes – Haiti Versus Japan

Posted in Britain, Environment, Europe, Haiti, Oceans, Pacific, UK, United Nations, USA with tags , , , , , , , , on 17/04/2011 by floroy1942

Whenever disaster strikes, a media frenzy ensues followed by countries scurrying to offer the most money for reconstruction and humanitarian aid.

It has almost gotten to the stage where it has become a game among the richest nations to see who can ‘pledge’ the most. The offers are well intended, but the country that is suffering rarely gets to see all the money that is initially promised. It is worthy to note that some South American states and Arab nations made no effort whatsoever to donate or assist in the disaster while even tiny countries like Andorra managed to raise funds.

This Guardian report shows the amount of donations by country:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog/2010/jan/14/haiti-quake-aid-pledges-country-donations

A Haitian Victim

This scenario was nowhere more evident than the earthquake that hit Haiti, where pledges were in excess of $14 billion for immediate aid on the ground, and cash donations to help in the recovery. Much of the money has still to materialise, and probably never will.

Many nations considered the cancelling of debts owed to them by the Haitian government to be a sufficient donation to rebuild the country, which sadly was of no use to the Haitian people at that time when thousands were dead, and with their capitol razed to the ground.

Haiti Earthquake:

Emergency Aid Team – Haiti

The response of individuals, charity organizations, and rescue teams was immediate and their contribution gratefully received, but alas, the flow of money from countries making huge pledges for clearing the rubble and rebuilding left much to be desired.

Now, some 20 months after the disaster, Haitians are not much better off than they were a year ago. Less than 5% of the rubble has been cleared, and tens of thousands still live in makeshift emergency camps.

Haiti – One Year On:

And now we have another world catastrophe on our hands in the form of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Once again a country needs the assistance and monetary help of others to overcome a disaster, although to a much lessor degree than Haiti.

Japan Tsunami:

Japan Earthquake Aftermath

Naturally, Haiti and Japan are poles apart when it comes to wealth, and I might add, importance. Haiti is an impoverished island in the Caribbean, while Japan is a major player on the world stage with an economy Haitians can only dream about. As always, a huge effort was made on the part of individuals, organizations, and in some cases governments, from across the world after the initial impact. Much was done to rescue people from the rubble left by the huge  wave that hit the coast.

Japan Relief Effort:

The United States military among others were mobilised to bring initial aid to the survivors in a coordinated effort with the Japanese. Most of the aid money pledged to the Japan disaster relief effort appears at the moment to be coming from private sources with celeb’s and sports stars etc. making donations.

It is true that as Japan is among the world’s most successful economies, there is no requirement for massive donations of cash to aid the recovery. For the most part, I think the nation has received what it needed most, and that was experts on the ground to help with the immediate aftermath.

Aid Teams In Japan

Like Haiti, Japan now has many thousands of its citizens living in emergency accommodation and like Haiti, a huge area of devastation must be cleared before new houses, shops and other businesses can be built. The one big question that comes to mind is , how will Japan cope in comparison to Haiti?

It’s my bet that all signs of this latest disaster will have long disappeared in Japan while the citizens of Haiti are still trying to clear the rubble of their country’s capitol. Personally, I doubt if they will be over their troubles in five years time, such is the shortness of memory of world governments as they move on to the next catastrophe.

It is clear that Japan’s infrastructure is far better able to cope with such an event than that of Haiti, but also, on the world scene Japan is of much more importance than poor impoverished Haiti, and this will be reflected in how quickly the two countries get back to normal.

All nations who have economic ties with Japan will certainly want to see the country back on it’s feet quickly so that business can get back to normal. As for Haiti, well that’s something else isn’t it?

Roy.

Related post:

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/07/18/haiti-what-happened-to-all-the-money/

Death Knell For Plastic Bags?

Posted in Atlantic, Britain, England, Environment, Europe, Government, Illegal Dumping, Insanity, Modern World, Oceans, Pacific, Parliament, Plastic, Plastic Rubbish, Spain, Toxic Waste, UK, UN, United Nations, USA with tags , , , on 31/12/2010 by floroy1942

Ever since the common plastic shopping bag was first introduced en masse by high street stores and supermarkets in the mid-1970’s, it has taken a firm grip on our lives and environment.

The 'Essential' Plastic Shopping Bag

Now, the Italian government has announced an outright ban on these everyday items from tomorrow, January 1st, and although it is the first European country to do so, it is not the first world-wide. Eritrea, Rwanda and Somalia banned them as far back as 2005, followed by Tanzania a year later. Strange that it should be African nations that first took positive action against this danger to our environment!

Bag Production - A Major Industry

It is not until you get into numbers that the impact of these shopping aids becomes apparent. The Italian people for example use a staggering 20 billion bags a year, which is about 300 per person. Across Europe the estimate is 100 billion! In 2008, when China introduced a levy for plastic bags, they were using 3 billion a day!

While many countries have over the years introduced a surcharge on plastic shopping bags in an effort to cut consumption, it has been of little use in curbing our habits. There seems little doubt that only an outright ban such as in Italy will work, and it is up to other countries to follow suit. Italian shoppers will now have to use bio-degradable, cloth or paper bags.

Plastic In The City Of Naples

Some of the more developed nations have introduced recycling as the answer to the plastic menace, and although some relief has been seen in the number of plastic bags in city dumps, it has had minimal effect overall. When you consider it, we even add to the mountain by putting all our rubbish in plastic sacks anyway!

There is little doubt that even the very disposal of plastic bags costs a huge amount of energy. According to the Italian environmental organization Legambiente, the ban on bags will reduce the CO2 emissions for Italy by 180,000 tonnes a year.

The Plastic Raw Material

Plastic, as we all know is a by-product of oil, and in 2007 it was estimated that from the world’s oil production of around 84,5 million barrels a year, some 4% goes into the production of all types of plastic. While this may seem an insignificant amount, it should not be forgotten that another 4% is used in the energy required to produce the final product.

Oil, like many other sources of power, will run out eventually as the planets reserves are used up. At the current state of man’s development, life as we know it would cease entirely without oil and its by-products.

As you read this, take just a second and think about all the devices in your home that have plastic parts and would cease to function without it. Once having established that, spread your mind wider and look outside your immediate environment at all the things in your town or city that cannot work without plastic.

 

Also The Cost Of Plastic Production

We as a race, would be thrown back to the time of the horse and our own two feet, to say nothing of candles for light and open fire for heat. It’s scary to say the least

 

A Plastic Bags Best Friend - The Supermarket

When shopping, my wife and I always end up with at least five or six bags from the local supermarket, even though we always ask the cashier to pack the items into as few bags as possible. Like many supermarkets, they are on special hooks that allow the cashier to operate as quickly as possible, and it is very common for them to exit the system containing only one or two items.

 

Maybe Not Quite As Strong - But Otherwise.....

Prior to the introduction of the plastic shopping bag, people used paper carrier bags which by their very nature were biodegradable. Now, we poison the earth and oceans with an item that does not degrade, and becomes toxic. Discarded plastic will be with us for centuries, and there is not much we can do about it.

Today we seem incapable of living without this lowly item, but as the discovery of the Pacific Plastic Island clearly shows, we must change our habits. The size of a large country, it is reservedly estimated to contain 100 million tons of floating plastic. I refer you to one of my previous blogs on the subject.

(You will need to cut and paste the link into your browser)

https://floroy1942.wordpress.com/2010/02/26/

welcome-to-plastic-island/

 

When We And Our Children Are Dead, It Will Still Be Here!

While doing research for this article I came across an interesting video that describes the life of a plastic shopping bag. It was made by Ramin Bahrami and although somewhat romanticised, gives some insight into the life of a shopping bag made of plastic.

http://futurestates.tv/episodes/plastic-bag

With the exception of a few countries where a proportion is recycled, they all end up in rubbish tips, and sadly, in the oceans of the world. Perhaps it is time for this environmental problem to be handled by the United Nations, who could if they can agree, do something positive for our planet by introducing a world-wide ban on these items.

 

Guaranteed Not Part Of A Six-Pack

Before I finish let me highlight the tragic effects of our plastic rubbish is having on the animal population of our planet.

 

Nice Scarf? Not Really. Just Another Creature Suffering.

There is evidence enough of the cruel way in which many birds and animals die trapped in our plastic garbage. If we saw it with our own eyes we would call it sadistic, but never think about what can happen each time we throw away a plastic bag or six pack holder. So far as the latter is concerned, I always snip open each circle with the scissors before discarding it.

The cost to the environment is incalculable, but future generations will have to deal with our excesses of today.

Roy.

%d bloggers like this: