A new report from the WHO and UNICEF shows that 1.8 billion people now have access to clean drinking water since 2000, yet billions are left behind. The lack of clean water disproportionately affects women, girls, and the poorest people, especially developing countries.
Why is this still an issue in 2022? What can we do for clean water in the future?
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10 reasons why seaweed farms are both sustainable and practical:
- Seaweed farms require no land.
- Seaweed farms are quite efficient, and can be harvested for commercial use within 90 days.
- Seaweed farms by-pass negative side-effects like deforestation or pesticide-use.
- Seaweed farms work in harmony with surrounding wildlife.
- Seaweed farms don't interfere with boats or ships, and create economic opportunities where none exist.
- Harvesting seaweed requires very little biofuel; it is a scalable process.
- Seaweed has multiple uses: it can produce both food and fuel.
- Seaweed is biodegradable, unlike solar panels and wind turbines that require heavy metals and create waste.
- Seaweed yields 30x more energy per acre than biofuel land crops like soy or corn.
- Only 2% of the fertile ocean is covered by kelp forests, so there is much more room to grow.
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The scoop: Jersey Shore has clean water compared to many parts of the country, but certain beaches still test unsafe for swimming more than 40% of the time.
Key causes of water contamination:
- outdated sewage systems
- overdevelopment of beachfronts
- factory farming spillovers
- storm runoff
Bottom line: Jersey Shore water was much dirtier 30 or 40 years ago. But some Jersey Shore towns still need serious help improving their water infrastructure. Read below to learn how they can fix that.
Dig deeper → 4 min
A scientific process called desalination could help solve a looming water crisis.
With a higher demand for freshwater, a growing population will continue to pressure natural freshwater resources. Today, 1 in 9 people already lack access to safe water. If current water consumption trends persist, the demand for water will exceed supply by 40% in 2030.
Only 0.7% of Earth’s water is readily accessible as freshwater and 96.5% of it is saltwater. Through the process of desalination, scientists can turn saltwater into safe, drinking water. This process is either thermal-based (solar desalination) or membrane-based (reverse osmosis).
Why not implement desalination worldwide? There are environmental and economic challenges. For example, brine, the concentrated salt byproduct of desalination plants, is known to disrupt ocean ecosystems. But path to more sustainable alternatives exist.
If global water scarcity worsens, sustainable desalination plants can help provide fresh, potable water to vulnerable populations across the world.
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Busy? Try the speed read.
The scoop: Microplastics can be found in every crevice of the Earth. As they become more prevalent, they are more likely to impact human health.
Top ways to avoid microplastics:
- Filtered tap water > bottled water.
- Shellfish = microplastic.
- Eat more fresh food, less takeout.
Zoom out: As the global production of plastic goes up, there will be more plastic to deal with. Research on the impact of microplastics on human health is still developing. Better to be safe than sorry.
Dig deeper → 4 min
What's the situation? A stricken ship has leaked over 1,000 tons of oil over the coast of Mauritius. Experts fear that the ship may soon break in half, which could have devastating effects on the surrounding environment.
How did it happen? It is believed that harsh weather conditions caused the leak.
Who caused it? The cracked vessel, MV Wakashio, is operated by the Japanese Mitsui OSK Lines.
More facts The spill occurred near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems, as well as the Blue Bay Marine Park reserve. There are also mangrove plantations and well-known beaches nearby.
Threatened birds, captive fruit bats, and thousands of plants were removed from a nearby island, Ile aux Aigrettes by conservation activists.
Using technology to mitigate spills Human error is the leading cause for maritime accidents.
By integrating AI into the complicated world of global transportation, we can reduce and possibly even eliminate the risks associated with long-distance, heavy-duty shipping routes.
- Use predictive analysis to prevent spills
- Expedite response-time
- Mitigate risks for clean-up efforts
Bottom line Using AI in shipping and clean-ups lessens the risk of future spills, and reduces the impact of existing disasters.
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The scoop Whales accumulate carbon throughout their lifetime and die with it on the ocean floor. So they save around 33 tons of carbon from the atmosphere each.
Why it matters Today, whales number approximately 1.3 million, and conservation efforts to return them to their 4-5 million pre-whaling population could significantly reduce the greenhouse effect by lowering atmospheric carbon dioxide. However, they are constantly at threat of being hunted.
Big picture Recovering the global whale population to even half its original size is no easy feat, but we must do all in our power to multiply whale species’ populations in all of Earth’s oceans. Regardless of whether a high-tech carbon sequestration tool becomes widely available, harnessing the carbon-capturing power of these beautiful creatures will always positively enhance our atmosphere and marine ecosystems.
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Big picture Did you know that 44 nations could disappear under the sea within your lifetime? Pacific Islanders face a desperate need for climate action.
What to know Back in 2017, I had the privilege to attend as a student observer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) International Conference of the Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany.
The most striking presentation involved a group of representatives of the SIDS (small island developing states). The Pacific Climate Warriors spoke about the urgency of their daily and ever-present struggle against climate change.
A 2008 UN report found that the response of island nations to climate change is largely project-based, ad hoc, and heavily dependent on external resources. Australia and New Zealand have contributed financial support to adaptation efforts.
Bottom line For Pacific Islanders, climate action is more than just a school project, it is an existential threat.
Dig deeper → 4 min