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  • Автор: admin
  • Дата: 26-06-2018, 19:42
26-06-2018, 19:42

3 Easy habits that you can pursue today to dramatically improve your “sustainability score”

Категория: Pollution

3 Easy habits that you can pursue today to dramatically improve your “sustainability score”
Improving your health via green habits
While it’s true that practices such as not buying products in plastic packaging, recycling, and taking shorter showers are part of a sustainable lifestyle, there are other ways to live a “green” life.

It’s important to understand that sustainability has other aspects, and the three tips below can help you change your habits so you can live healthier while also helping the planet:

Avoid single-use items – A great way to eliminate waste is by boycotting various disposable items. Buy reusable straws and bring your own tumbler the next time you’re buying coffee before heading to work. You can even start bringing your own lunch in a reusable container, and this is a great way to monitor your calorie intake since you won’t be tempted to buy unhealthy fast food. If more people stopped patronizing single-use convenience items, we could help reduce plastic waste that’s produced around the globe. (Related: 10 reasons recycling will save humanity.)
Donate items you no longer use and go paperless – Going paperless is another effective way of eliminating waste because it helps minimize paper waste. Starting today, make all of your bank statements and household bills electronic. Instead of buying papers or magazines, read them in electronic form or PDF. If you do end up with newspapers or pamphlets in your home, recycle them as gift wrappers or use them to clean glass. If you’ve had items lying around the house that you haven’t been using, donate them. Check your closets and cabinets and gather any clothes, electronics, furniture, or other items and give them away to those in need. By giving new life to old things, you can help halt the production of disposable and single-use products.
Unplug any appliance that you’re not using – Even if you’re not using the TV, leaving it plugged in is consuming energy. By simply unplugging it, you can help conserve energy. Monitor the household energy your family uses, and try to come up with ways to lower it. For example, you can buy energy-efficient light bulbs for every room in your house, and you can lower the thermostat and wear warmer clothing. Turn off the lights in empty rooms, and doing all of this regularly can even significantly lower your electricity bill.
By working together, we can all make a difference. These green living tips can help you live a healthier and more sustainable life.

Other easy habits for a greener lifestyle
Here are other habits that you can practice for a greener lifestyle:

Conserve water – Water is a precious natural valuable resource, and you can help by conserving water. Check your plumbing regularly and fix any leaks immediately.
Plant a tree – Aside from providing us with beautiful scenery, trees are crucial to the ecological cycle. Trees are natural air cleaners, and they help absorb air pollution. Trees also prevent soil erosion and recycle water by absorbing it and reusing it.
Use natural cosmetic and personal care products – Most cosmetics and skincare products contain harmful ingredients like dyes, parabens, phthalates, propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and synthetic fragrances. These toxic chemicals cause various health problems like cancer while some can act as hormone disruptors. Use alternatives like witch hazel, which can work as a natural deodorant. Essential oils can also replace perfumes.
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  • Автор: admin
  • Дата: 26-06-2018, 19:40
26-06-2018, 19:40

New polymer mat able to fish biologically harmful contaminants from water

Категория: Pollution

New polymer mat able to fish biologically harmful contaminants from water
There’s a new water treatment mat that acts like a miniaturized fishing net for water pollutants. Devised by Texan researchers, it can bait, hook, and destroy toxic chemicals in water supplies, according to a ScienceDaily article.

Developed by the Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center, the mat uses titanium dioxide to break down pollutants. It can be made as big or small as needed, tailored to deal with specific pollutants, and is reusable.

A number of wastewater treatment systems also use titanium dioxide. But those methods turn the material into a slurry that is mixed with wastewater. Following the process, the slurry must be removed from the treated water.

The NEWT researchers refined and simplified that arduous process. Their polymer mat comprised spun polyvinyl fibers that repel water and attract similar hydrophobic.

The porosity was increased by adding tiny plastic beads, which were later dissolved using chemicals that didn’t affect the mat. The resulting pores provided a sizable surface area for titanium oxide particles to attach themselves to.

The hydrophobic fibers of the mat draw similarly-inclined contaminants in a process called adsorption. When the set-up is exposed to UV (ultraviolet) light, the titanium dioxide in the pores undergo a photocatalytic reaction that releases pollutant-destroying oxidants.

During trials, the mat removed two endocrine-disrupting chemicals from wastewater. It spent far less energy than previous wastewater treatment methods. Furthermore, it is safe enough to use in drinking water without any clean-up afterwards. (Related: Make your laundry cleaner for the environment: Researchers designing ways to treat wastewater from washing machines.)

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New photocatalytic mat overcomes limitations of earlier treatment
According to Director Pedro Alvarez of the NEWT Center, photocatalytic water treatment has two major limitations. The first is simple inefficiency; the oxidants often fail to destroy the pollutant because they react to other, more numerous chemicals in the water first.

The second is the cost incurred by filtering and recovering slurry photocatalysts from the treated water. Making sure there is no leakage sometimes uses more energy than the UV lights.

“We solved both limitations by immobilizing the catalyst to make it very easy to reuse and retain. We don’t allow it to leach out of the mat and impact the water,” said Alvarez.

Their trials showed that their mat-based process used far less energy than the slurry method. It was also faster at destroying pollutants. The mat was also much more versatile than slurry. Murky waters will reduce the penetration of the UV light required by photocatalysis, so a slurry-based treatment will fare poorly in such conditions.

But the mat is so portable that it – along with the pollutants trapped in its pores – can be taken out of the wastewater reactor and placed in a different reactor with less murky water.

“You can fish out the contaminants adsorbed by the mat and transfer it to another reactor with clearer water. There, you can destroy the pollutants, clean out the mat and then return it so it can fish for more,” Alvarez explained.

The mat’s hydrophobic or hydrophilic properties could also be tuned to match the properties of target pollutants.

“That way you could treat more water with a smaller reactor that is more selective, and therefore miniaturize these reactors and reduce their carbon footprints. It’s an opportunity not only to reduce energy requirements, but also space requirements for photocatalytic water treatment,” Alvarez pointed out.
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  • Автор: admin
  • Дата: 26-06-2018, 19:34
26-06-2018, 19:34

Chesapeake Bay estuary is recovering: The return of aquatic vegetation helps neutralize pollution, allowing ecosystems to re-establish

Категория: Pollution

Chesapeake Bay estuary is recovering: The return of aquatic vegetation helps neutralize pollution, allowing ecosystems to re-establish
Vegetation is an essential part of any aquatic ecosystem. Sick or dying underwater vegetation, typically due to pollution, indicates that the ecosystem is in trouble, which leads to degradation of water quality. On the other hand, thriving vegetation is a sign of a healthier ecosystem.

This is especially critical for the Chesapeake Bay estuary; underwater grasses provide habitat for fish and other aquatic animals, stabilize sediments, and help clarify the water. Since the 1970s, pollution and human development have decimated the population of underwater grass in the Chesapeake Bay, further degrading the water quality. States surrounding the Bay have been working together since 2010 to restore its ecosystems.

One study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences analyzed the positive impact of long-term nutrient reduction on valuable ecosystems in the estuary.

The study, led by Jonathan Lefcheck, Ph.D., formerly of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) and now at the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Science, showed a 23-percent decrease in average nitrogen levels and an eight-percent reduction of average phosphorus levels, which resulted in a significant increase of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) in the Bay. Data analysis indicated that this ecosystem recovery is the biggest resurgence of underwater grasses ever recorded.

The research team said that cutting pollution, as well as conservation incentives, promoted the return of aquatic vegetation, which then led to a healthier Chesapeake Bay.

“It’s a humbling and unique opportunity,” stated Lefcheck. “These efforts began before I was even born, but we are at a stage now where all of these different threads can be pulled together to unveil a picture of unprecedented success. This is a message of hope, and I look forward to a future when the Bay is filled with grasses, something I never thought I would see during my lifetime.”

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The scientists determined how the reduction of pollutants – such as nitrogen and phosphorus – is the key driver to this ecosystem recovery. The analyzed data in two ways: One focusing on the flow of nutrients from the land to the waterways; and one showing what happens to SAV once the nutrients reach the water.

Senior co-authors Dr. William Dennison of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science and Dr. Robert “JJ” Orth of VIMS have worked on underwater grasses and water quality in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem restoration project for decades.

According to Dennison: “J.J. and I have had the distinct privilege of facilitating research that confirms a direct correlation between conservation actions undertaken by a broad partnership and ecosystem responsiveness that is leading to positive ecological outcomes.”

“The EPA Chesapeake Bay Program is working and can serve as a model for the rest of the world,” he added.

Orth noted that he feels proud of the team of both new and experienced researchers for the progress and accomplishments thus far of the restoration project. “I really feel the torch is being passed to a next generation of scientists who bring both the passion and knowledge needed to continue the vital work of marine science required to keep our Chesapeake Bay flourishing. What has been a lifetime of work for Bill and me can now be analyzed and managed with analyses of long term data sets in creative ways to highlight this wonderful recovery.”

The Chesapeake Bay Program
The Chesapeake Bay Program is a partnership between the states of Delaware, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia; the District of Columbia; and the federal government, represented by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The program relies on funding from community groups, local government and non-governmental organizations, which engage in pollution mitigation efforts, such as redesigning urban surfaces to reduce stormwater runoff and subsidizing farmers to grow winter cover crops that help retain nutrients on fields.

The study on the Chesapeake Bay has spanned decades of analysis and investigation on the estuary, and the aforementioned study shows a positive impact of management actions on the huge resurgence of underwater vegetation. The ongoing restoration efforts provide an outline for effective pollution abatement and may be applied to other polluted bodies of water, in an effort to restore more aquatic ecosystems in other places.