Wales Gets Its First Permanent Electric Bus

You know that feeling when you spend forever waiting for a bus, and then dozens come all at once?

Wales’ first-ever electric bus sets off on its regular route in Newport this week. But it’s only the beginning — 66 more are on their way to Wales next year in a green wave of regional sustainable transport.

Newport will get an additional 14 buses, Caerphilly will receive 16, while the capital Cardiff — where an electric bus was first trialled in the country last year — will have 36.

It’s part of a £48 million grant scheme from the Department of Transport to promote greener public transport in England and Wales and help fight air pollution.

“It’s lovely to drive, nice and smooth,” one driver told BBC News while behind the wheel. “Nice and quiet, which is always a bonus because some of the buses are so noisy, so this will be a pleasure to drive.”

The Newport bus cost £250,000 to convert from its old job as a display vehicle, saving £90,000 by not buying it brand new.

It can drive around the city all day on a single charge, running for 116 miles before an overnight recharge.

The BBC reports that the batteries cost £150,000 and should be replaced every six years. However, Newport Transport has a deal with the company that will continue to own and maintain the batteries, meaning it “effectively buys the energy off them.”

“The Welsh government has already declared a climate emergency [and] there are a number of poor air quality zones in Newport that need to be addressed,” said Scott Pearson, managing director of Newport Transport. “So the first electric vehicles are going to go on one of those routes — that’s Caerleon and back — that’s got three poor air quality zones in it.”

“With the M4 relief road now not being built, I think buses can offer that alternative of mass transportation and if we do it with electric vehicles, it ticks so many boxes,” he added. “We can carry up to 70 or 80 people on a double-decker. I think it will hopefully reduce the congestion in Newport.”

Wales declared a climate emergency on April 29, the day after Scotland did the same at the Scottish National Party conference. The rest of the UK followed suit with a motion passed through the House of Commons in May.

Cardiff has been in the news this summer for being a hotspot for environment and climate change demonstrations.

The direct action group Extinction Rebellion chose Cardiff as one of its five “centres of disruption” in its most recent push to drive politicians to accelerate progress in the fight against the climate crisis.

Protesters caused severe delays in July as they shut down the busy road outside Cardiff Castle with a massive green boat. It lasted three days and according to organisers “achieved mass public awareness.”

The new buses in Wales are the latest in a series of bus routes going electric around the country. The number 43 bus route in London became the city’s first zero-emissions route in July and Greater Manchester has also been awarded funding for dozens of electric buses.

Original article by James Hitchings-Hales – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Steffan Mitchell on Unsplash 


This Advocate Is Empowering Youth Across Kenya’s Slums

Growing up in Kibera, Kenya, the largest slum on the African continent, Kennedy Odede thought everyone lived in poverty. Once he realized this wasn’t the case, he became angry — but he quickly turned his frustration into productive change.

“Social change became a tool for me to channel that anger into something positive,” Odede told the organization Hearts on Fire.

He didn’t let his informal education stop him from aiming high. At the age of 18, he started a social justice youth movement with just 20 cents in his pocket. Through the movement, he met his future wife Jessica Posner, who was studying abroad in Kibera at the time. Posner encouraged Odede to apply to Wesleyan University in the US, where she went to school, and Odede ended up getting in — with a full ride, no less.

Fast forward to 2004, and while still at Wesleyan, the two founded the nonprofit organization Shining Hope For Communities (SHOFCO) with the vision to “build urban promise from urban poverty” by promoting education, gender equality, and clean water in Kenya’s slums. From helping women sell handmade goods on Etsy to providing scholarships that keep girls in school, SHOFCO is using bottom-up organizing to allow people to take on leadership positions and succeed.

Odede has always believed engaging the community is the best strategy to make a real difference, and education is a big component. Since only primary education is free in Kenya, SHOFCO has built schools for girls and offered achievement-based scholarships for children to attend high school outside of their slums — in some cases, in the US.

These days, Odede is focusing on expanding the SHOFCO Urban Network (SUN), a movement of connected urban slums that are empowering communities to advocate for themselves. SHOFCO provides SUN groups with spaces that can be used for educational purposes and where community groups can get together on a weekly basis. The network prioritizes promoting peace and encouraging collective action, providing structures to launch advocacy campaigns and peaceful protests. Currently, SUN operates in eight slums in Kenya, but SHOFCO is looking to have a wider reach throughout the country.

With SUN, Odede wants to support girls’ growth by giving them the tools they need to use their education to become leaders. More than 49 million girls are out of primary and secondary school in sub-Saharan Africa and don’t have the chance to reach their full potentials. Child marriage and teen pregnancy are the most common barriers. In 2018, President Kenyatta of Kenya responded to calls from Global Citizens and committed to increasing the allocation of Kenya’s budget for education from 17% to 30%, but the government has yet to follow through.

“I believe that a society that respects and values women and awards equal opportunities to them will not only be happier, but also flourish,” Odede said in a statement to Global Citizen.

Hadija Hussein, secretary of Kibera’s Makina village SUN group, has seen the program positively impact her whole family. Her children received scholarships through SUN and without it, Hussein said she would not have been able to finance her children’s education.

Hussein’s group has a Group Savings & Loans program that collects donations of 500 shillings ($5 USD) each month to provide loans for a few people in the community.

“I think my community has definitely benefited from the scholarship program and the compensation programs,” Hussein said in a statement released by SHOFCO.

Odede’s organization aims to support youth at every stage of their life –– the SUN youth network services young people from ages 18 to 35. So far, the network has already brought together over 28,000 young people throughout Nairobi who have partnered on youth forums, clean-up initiatives, mentorship, and income-generating activities.

If more young people continue flocking to slums in search of opportunities, Odede believes programs like SUN will ensure no one gets left behind. Kenya is experiencincing rapid growth, the city of Nairobi’s population more than doubled between 1986 and 2009, and the risks of youth unemployment and poverty are high due to a shortage of jobs and resources. Between 2019 and 2023, SHOFCO plans to expand SUN to reach 31 slums across all of Kenya’s major cities.

“As Africa continues to urbanize, and more young people like me migrate to the slums in search of hope, but only to be met with despair … together, we must transform the urban slums so that more young leaders like our girls might start a new course for their communities and for our rapidly urbanizing world,” Odede said.

Original article by Leah Rodriguez – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Belle Maluf on Unsplash 


UK Is Helping Hundreds of Thousands of Zimbabweans

Zimbabwe is facing a potentially catastrophic famine. The country’s crops have been devastated by the effects of drought; it’s experiencing an economic crisis; and is still feeling the impact after being struck by powerful Cyclone Idai in March.

Without support, more than 5.5 million people will reportedly not have access to the food they need by 2020. Meanwhile, the UN warned last month that the country’s food crisis is quickly escalating into an emergency.

Now, the UK has committed to support hundreds of thousands of people in Zimbabwe in getting access to life-saving food and water.

Alok Sharma, in his new role as the UK’s international development secretary, announced the UK aid support on Friday following a UN appeal. The £49 million of aid funding will help malnourished children, families, and communities in Zimbabwe.

“The UK stands with the people of Zimbabwe at a time when millions are at risk of starvation and disease,” Sharma said, announcing the funding. “Through trusted partners we will continue to give families access to food and clean water, and support children to gain a decent education.”

With the funding, the UK will help up to 440,000 people facing potential starvation in rural and urban areas get access to food and water, according to the Department for International Development (DfID) via the World Food Programme through small cash transfers.

It will also support 300,000 vulnerable people to prepare for a potential cholera or typhoid outbreak, by providing disease surveillance, essential medicine to treat water-borne diseases, and training for local health workers to rapidly respond to outbreaks.

Following the devastation of Cyclone Idai earlier this year, Zimbabwe has seen outbreaks of cholera, an acute diarrhoeal infection caused by ingesting contaminated food or water.

Water shortages are leaving the country vulnerable to further outbreaks too, because people are struggling to find clean sources of drinking water. In June, the government was forced to ration water in the capital Harare and neighbouring city Bulawayo, to limit residents to using taps just once a week.

The funding will also strengthen disaster planning in the country — to alleviate the impact of natural disasters like Cyclone Idai, for example — and to help get financing in place before disaster strikes to the economic impact of emergencies can be lessened.

Trusted partners — such as the World Food Programme — will receive the funding, rather than it going directly to the government.

When announcing the funding, Sharma also urged the Zimbabwean government to act on its promise to deliver fundamental political and economic reforms in the country.

“The government of Zimbabwe must do more to deliver the promised fundamental political and economic reforms and take responsibility for the humanitarian crisis affecting its people,” Sharma said.


Original article by Imogen Calderwood – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Peter Kvetny on Unsplash 


Equality Planet

Young Activists Want World Leaders to Do These 3 Things

More than 150 activists from 30 countries are uniting on International Youth Day to demand action from world leaders to avoid “decades of disaster” for people and planet.

The activists have signed their names in support of an open letter that’s been sent to world leaders on Monday, calling for urgent action to get countries on track to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals — and end extreme poverty by 2030.

And the young activists, advocates, and campaigners are giving world leaders a helping hand in delivering a more urgent “2020 Vision” — by offering it up themselves.

“The global population of young people is rising and so are the issues we face together,” the letter says. “In the next decade, the World Bank estimates 600 million young people entering the job market will not find jobs; and climate change will continue to adversely affect developing countries, where 90% of young people live.”

“This is an emergency for people and planet,” it adds.

Signatories include British activist and writer Scarlett Curtis; Amika George, the founder of the #FreePeriods campaign in the UK; anti-FGM activist Nimco Ali; Indian feminist Trisha Shetty; South African disability rights advocate Eddie Ndopu; and UN young leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, Joannie Bewa — among many more.

Global Citizen has also signed the letter, alongside major international organizations like the ONE campaign and Restless Development; the Chair of the Elders Mary Robinson; and Edna Ismail Aden, former foreign minister of Somaliland and founder of the Edna Adan University and Hospital.

The letter — coordinated by Restless Development, a global agency working with young people to lead in solving global challenges — includes three specific demands from world leaders.

1. Investment in the future of young people

The letter asks for a basic level of financing for young people’s health, education, empowerment, and resilience in the face of climate change.

“Experts estimate this investment costs a minimum of $300 per person per year in the lowest income countries,” it says.

2. “Follow the money”

In order to translate the UN’s Global Goals to local results, says the letter, we need to be able to have the freedom, space, and voice to freely track these results — through open budgets and open contracts through to collecting data on outcomes — to make sure the funding gets where it’s most needed and is delivering real local results.

3. Unite

The letter calls on campaigners and concerned citizens all around the world — those fighting for environmental justice, social justice, gender justice, and against inequality and corruption — to unite and together demand a course correction for people and planet.

“We stand ready to help partner and fix these failures, but young people’s voices and priorities are often side-lined and their solutions ignored,” the letter continues. “Please hear us now as we make these demands.”

Right now, we have just over 10 years left to deliver the Global Goals for Sustainable Development — which were agreed to by every nation in the world in 2015.

But, in order to achieve these goals and end extreme poverty in the next decade, it’s going to take a serious renewed effort from world leaders and citizens around the world.

Activists want world leaders to set out a clear “2020 Vision” to get the world on track for achieving this target, by backing young people and listening to the solutions they offer.

The letter comes at a crucial time: ahead of the critical G7 and UN General Assembly (UNGA) summits this year. The G7 Summit will be hosted in Biarritz on Aug. 24 through Aug. 26; and UNGA — where leaders will meet to discuss the world’s most pressing issues — will be held in New York on Sept. 17 through 30.

“Young people are organizing for impact when leaders meet at their big global gatherings this year and next,” the letter says. “Together, we must demonstrate a dramatic course correction. Leaders must hear us and, in partnership, act with us.”


Original article by Imogen Calderwood – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Ben Mater on Unsplash 


Culture Equality

Bus-Turned-Classroom Helping Migrant Children

Just a few miles from the US border in the Mexican city of Tijuana, an innovative education program is making sure migrant children don’t miss out on learning.

Over the past three weeks, the Yes We Can World Foundation has enrolled 30 children — ages 5 to 12 — in its new initiative that runs out of a bus-turned-classroom.

Most of the children are from families fleeing violence and poverty, who have been staying in shelters for weeks or months while waiting to apply for asylum in the US. In the meantime, Yes We Can’s free program offers specialized bilingual education for the children who tend to have low literacy and struggle with social skills. The bus seats 80 children and in a few weeks, the program will accept another 20 students.

Yes We Can accepts all children, regardless of their citizenship status, according to its director and founder, Estefania Rebellon. The program provides each student with a backpack, school supplies, t-shirts, and later this month, shoes, Rebellon told Global Citizen.

The school’s staff has experience working with displaced children in Latin America. For many children, the program is their first introduction to English, and Rebellon is looking to add more teachers who speak Indigenous languages.

Many of Yes We Can’s students come from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala, and the Mexican states of Guerrero and Michoacan. Their families are seeking safety and security for various reasons, from escaping high levels of crime caused by drug cartels to domestic violence.

For one family, their child hadn’t been in school for more than five months while waiting for asylum status. A lot of children have to stop their education and start working to provide for their families, and Yes We Can is the first time they’ve attended school full-time, Rebellon explained.

Children seeking asylum face many challenges, she said.

“There’s definitely a turmoil in their emotional well-being of missing home and not really being aware or prepared for what they’re going through,” Rebellon added. “A lot of the children are in a state of confusion.”

During one recent exercise, Rebellon said some students started drawing their dogs and family members that they miss.

Without support, conflict-affected children lose out on the chance to reach their full potential and rebuild their communities. Children in conflict-affected countries are more than twice as likely to be out of school compared to those in countries not affected by conflict, according to UNESCO.

But parents reported that they’re already seeing positive changes in their children since they started at Yes We Can. Before enrolling in the program, parents reported to Rebellon that their children had trouble sleeping and controlling their anger. Now they have something else to focus on: education.

One mother told Rebellon this is the first time she felt safe sending her children to a school where she didn’t have to worry about kidnappings or a shooting happening. Another said her child is motivated to go to class now, whereas back home, she had to force them to go.

“We’re trying to do our best to make this accessible for them and not have any obstacles that prevent them from going to school and having an education,” Rebellon said.

She has seen students’ emotional well-being improve, along with their attention, sense of trust, and writing skills. The program also aims to help children feel they are building a community through different activities, such as having them help paint the bus’ walls.

Also an actress, Rebellon started Yes We Can because she was a migrant child herself. She came to the US from Colombia when she was 10 years old to escape death threats made against her father, and school helped her overcome a lot of challenges. Ultimately the “tiny home movement” inspired her to convert the bus into a school, according to Reuters.

Rebellon hopes to provide this program on the US side of the border, too, and eventually launch an education program for teenagers that operates out of tents outside of shelters.

Original article by Erica Sanchez and Leah Rodriguez – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash 


Company Wants to Feed 9B With Food Made From Air

Making food out of thin air sounds like peak science fiction, but that’s exactly what the NASA-inspired company Solar Foods is doing.

The company wants to generate enough food from air to feed the planet in a way that overcomes the challenges of climate change and environmental degradation.

Solar Foods manages this feat of physics by pulling carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere using a form of carbon capture technology. They then add water, nutrients, vitamins, and renewable electricity to the CO2 to trigger fermentation that yields a high-protein substance called Solein.

Solein begins as a powdery substance, but like flour, it can be shaped into any number of food items. It can also be used to fortify other foods, and plant-based meat alternatives can potentially use Solein as an environmentally sustainable alternative to agricultural products.

The company plans to produce 2 million Solein meals annually by 2021, and then scale up to provide a protein source to 9 billion people by 2050, according to the World Economic Forum.

Their method is cost-effective and carbon-neutral. While the global agricultural system accounts for a huge share of greenhouse gas emissions, Solar Foods does the opposite of releasing CO2 into the atmosphere — it removes it.

Solein also doesn’t rely on the fickle variables of agriculture, and it doesn’t devour natural resources like traditional forms of food production.

Unlike crops that only work in select environments, Solein can be created anywhere in the world. In the years ahead, Solein production centers could pop up in countries facing food shortages, droughts, and natural disasters, effectively shielding populations from food insecurity.

The UN recently released a series of reports describing the dire state of food production globally. As the global population balloons to 10 billion by 2050 and climate change renders vast swaths of the world inhospitable, countries will be required to transform how they generate food in order to avoid skyrocketing rates of hunger and runaway environmental decline.

The reports urge people around the world to reduce their meat consumption to help the planet recover from rampant deforestation, soil degradation, and water pollution.

Because Solein is so high in protein, it could become a viable meat alternative — cleaning the air, feeding people, and potentially healing the planet in the process.


Original article by Joe McCarthy – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Kamal J on Unsplash


Vending Machines Offer Free Books to Children

Six new vending machines are feeding the minds of children across New York City.

The machines, placed across the five boroughs, dispense free, age-appropriate books for children in underprivileged communities as part of the ninth-annual Soar With Reading Initiative launched by JetBlue in July.

“As New York City’s hometown airline, we’re excited to bring our Soar With Reading program home,” Icema Gibbs, director of corporate social responsibility for JetBlue, said in a press release for the program, which began in 2011.

“Over the past five years, we’ve made a tremendous impact with our book vending machine program. We can’t deny the need right in our own backyard,” Gibbs added.

The Soar With Reading program travels to a different city every summer to help exposure children to books and encourage them to read while they are out of school for the summer, allowing them to remain stimulated and prevent educational regression.

“For kids from disadvantaged backgrounds, summer often marks the beginning of the infamous summer slide,” Dr. Susan B. Neuman, professor of childhood and literacy education at NYU Steinhardt, said in the release. “Studies have shown that owning 25 books or more has a sizable effect on achievement, with each additional increment of books, such as 10 or more, improving achievement. This program allows children to own books and combat the knowledge loss that so often accompanies summer.”

The vending machines will be restocked with new books every two weeks through partnerships with publishing houses such as HarperCollins, Little Bee Books, Lil’ Libros, Scholastic, Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House, Hachette Book Group, and Barefoot Books. The machines will cater to New York’s diverse population, offering a selection of books that include English and Spanish titles and feature characters from varying backgrounds and walks of life.

“In Queens, we’re thrilled to welcome two free book machines that will be dispensing titles that are appropriate for all ages and reflect the incredible diversity of our borough,” Queens Borough President Melinda Katz said in a press release last month.

Books for adults will also be available through the vending machines in an effort to encourage parents to model positive behavior, which research has shown can contribute to a child’s educational success.

This year’s Soar With Reading ambadassor also leads by example. At just 14 years old, Marley Dias is an author and youth advocate for diverse representation in children’s literature, having founded #1000BlackGirlBooks, a campaign that collects and donates children’s books with black female protagonists to young black girls.

Dias’ book, Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You — which delves into themes like youth activism, inclusion, and social justice — will be one of the many titles featured in the vending machines.

“I am thrilled to have my book included in JetBlue’s Soar Reading program this year,” she said in a statement. “Being a part of this initiative offers a unique opportunity to address and promote diversity in literature. I believe all children deserve access to books and JetBlue’s reading program offers a viable solution for children in need.”

Children across the US have received $3.5 million worth of books in donations from JetBlue through the program, previously implemented in cities including Detroit, Michigan; Washington, DC; and Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

As part of the initiative, JetBlue is also asking readers across the country to join the effort to inspire youth to pick up a book by using social media to describe a #BookDrop moment. The social media posts can include any impactful message related to reading, like sharing a book that changed a person’s perspective of the world.

For every post, JetBlue will donate another book to the Soar With Reading program.

Original article by Gabrielle Deonath – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash


Global Initiative Has Eliminated 99.9% of Polio

Today, the world does not fear polio as it once did. Its defeat feels imminent, as it’s poised to become the second human disease ever to be eradicated.

But it was not that long ago that the world experienced paralyzing, if not deadly, outbreaks of this infectious disease — which is why governments and global health organizations decided to step up.

The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) was formed in 1988 after leaders at the World Health Assembly decided to tackle polio. At the time, there were 350,000 cases of polio every year.

Through a public-private partnership, the GPEI is managed by national governments with five key partners: the World Health Organization (WHO), Rotary International, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Its goal was initially to eradicate the disease by the year 2000, and while they did not meet that target, progress since then has been significant.

Thanks to global health efforts, polio is 99.9% eradicated and remains endemic in only three countries in 2019: Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Nigeria. Nigeria has not yet been declared polio-free, but is on track to officially announce its success by 2020, as there have been no cases there since 2016.

“I think it’s everybody bringing their strengths to the table,” Sona Bari, WHO senior communications officer and spokesperson for GPEI, told Global Citizen. “WHO could not do it alone, a government can’t do it alone, a foundation cannot do it alone.”

There are 18 million people walking today because of the GPEI, Bari said. And she attributes this great success to the initiative’s ability to work together and adapt.

When the initiative was first launched, they had a set way of doing things, but Bari said they’ve been able to alter their tactics, based on changes to the virus itself, and the needs of specific countries.

For instance, Bari explained there were community misgivings around the vaccine in Nigeria in the mid 2000s, and immunization programs were halted. The GPEI reacted in turn.

“It’s not enough to have a vaccine delivered; you actually need to have the social science and the behavioral and political science to be able to help people understand why vaccination is important, why it’s safe and [to] have confidence in vaccines, and that turned around the Nigeria program,” she said.

Thanks to the educational and community outreach efforts in Nigeria, the immunization program was able to start up again, and the country has not recorded a case of wild poliovirus for the last three years. That’s the result of strong, traditional medical intervention, as well as working with the community and engaging with trusted actors, Bari added.

In 2018, there were only 33 polio cases reported in Pakistan and Afghanistan, and there is likely only one existing wild poliovirus strain, which means that the eradication of this disease is close.

But the only way to ensure its eradication is to continue to vaccinate children around the world.

“The greatest challenge is reaching enough children in Pakistan and Afghanistan, especially those who are on the move and those who are inaccessible due to conflict and insecurity,” Bari said.

The GPEI vaccinates more than 400 million children every year and maintains surveillance in more than 70 countries, thanks to its 20 million volunteers, investments that have reached $1 billion, and the participation of 200 countries.

But if left unchecked, polio could affect up to 200,000 people per year within 10 years.

That is what makes funding the GPEI so important. The next GPEI replenishment is coming up in 2020 and it’s vital that governments continue to increase their financial commitments to polio eradication efforts.

The new funds would be allocated to improving the GPEI’s ability to vaccinate children that are the hardest to reach, to deliver better services, and to maintain the neutrality of the program so that the GPEI can objectively serve any community, according to Bari.

“But it would also be, let’s not forget, to keep the rest of the world polio-free,” she said. “[It’s our responsibility] to make sure that we not only deliver a polio-free world, but that it’s safeguarded.”

Original article by Jackie Marchildon – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

Planet Wellbeing

Irish Teen Won the Google Science Fair Award

Fionn Ferreira, an 18-year-old from West Cork, Ireland, already boasts a long list of accomplishments — 12 science fair awards, 384 planetarium lectures, and a minor planet named after him.

Earlier this week, he added another success: winning the 2019 Google Science Fair competition for his investigation into removing microplastics from water.

Ferreira used a combination of oil and magnetite powder to create a ferrofluid, a liquid that becomes magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. When introduced to water, microplastics quickly bind to the ferrofluid and could then be removed using strong magnets, leaving only water behind.

As the Google Science Fair grand prize winner, Ferreira received $50,000.

“We are so impressed with all of this year’s Google Science Fair finalists,” said Vint Cerf, Google chief internet evangelist and a judge for this year’s competition. “Fionn and this year’s other global finalists are sure to be rising stars in the STEM world — we can’t wait to see what they come up with next!”

The Google Science Fair, first launched in 2011, allows students between ages 13 and 18 to share their experiments and scientific discoveries in front of a panel of judges. The competition is also sponsored by Lego, Virgin Galactic, National Geographic, and Scientific American.

Ferreira conducted about 1,000 trials, and his method proved to be about 87% effective in removing microplastics from water.

Plastic materials that have a diameter of less than 5 millimeters are considered microplastics. They’re commonly found in soaps, facial scrubs, and shampoos. They can also come off clothing that contains materials like polyester when it is being washed. Microplastics are too small to be filtered out during wastewater treatment, and often end up in oceans, where they are nearly impossible to remove.

“I live near the seashore and have become increasingly aware of plastic pollution in the oceans,” Ferreira said in his scientific proposal. “I was alarmed to find out how many microplastics enter our wastewater system and consequently the oceans. This inspired me to try and find out a way to try and remove microplastics from waters before they even reached the sea.”

Once microplastics enter the seas and other water bodies, small fish, unable to distinguish between small plastic material and food, ingest the particles. The small marine animals are then eaten by larger fish that are later consumed by humans.

Even though Ferreira’s experiment shows promise, his solution would only address the symptoms of the world’s plastic problem, not its root.

“There is no doubt that the most effective way to reduce microplastic pollution in oceans is to use less plastics and ensure that plastics used can be recycled and separated to prevent them from entering our wastewater, but the reality is that more and more of the products we use contain plastics and potentially degrade into microplastics before entering our wastewater,” Ferreira said.

He conducted the tests on the 10 most commonly used plastics, including nylon, polyester, and other machine-washable fabrics. He found that the plastics most easily removed using his ferrofluid method were those from the fabrics, and the hardest to remove were polypropylene plastics, like those used in consumer product packaging.

Still, Ferreira hopes to scale the technology to be able to implement at wastewater treatment facilities to help prevent microplastic pollution from reaching open water.

“Once plastics enter our oceans, they are practically impossible to extract,” he said.



Original article by Erica Sanchez and  Sushmita Roy – Source Global Citizen

Photo by Brian Yurasits on Unsplash


First Nation buys 5% stake in $2.5 billion clean-energy projects

VICTORIA — An Indigenous nation in northwest British Columbia has bought a stake in clean energy operations worth more than $2.5 billion dollars.

The Tahltan Nation says it purchased 5% of three run-of-river hydro-electric projects located in its traditional territories, which include the communities of Iskut, Dease Lake and Telegraph Creek.


Tahltan Central Government President Chad Day says the deal is a historic economic achievement for the nation as it will generate revenue and provide clean energy for generations.

 The Tahltan purchased its portion of Northwest British Columbia Hydro Electric Facilities for more than $124 million from Axium Infrastructure Canada and Manulife Financial Corporation.

The power-generating facilities include run-of-the-river projects, Forrest Kerr, McLymont Creek and Volcano Creek, which produce electricity sold to BC Hydro, the province’s Crown-owned energy utility.

The Tahltan Nation says in a statement its territory is home to three of B.C.’s 19 operating mines and represents about 25 percent of current mining exploration activities.

Original article by Canadian Press – Source Canoe

Photo by Megan Johnston on Unsplash