Archive for the 'products' Category

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Water pollution and health awareness driving bottled water consumption in China

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“Bottled water plays a major role in solving water pollution problems and providing the public with safe and convenient drinking water. It is one of the fastest growing and competitive industries in China.

The report begins with an overview to the bottled water market in China covering the market size and growth. It also gives a brief introduction to the various bottled water segments widely used in the market. It further shows overall import and export of mineral and aerated water, as well as the segmented share for major countries.

An analysis of the drivers influencing the industry growth includes China’s rampant water pollution, increasing health awareness, poor quality tap water, huge population and increasing disposable income, panic water buying triggered by chemical spills and impact of natural calamities.”

Read more: openpr

Fragile Páramo Ecosystem in Colombia Threatened by Coal and Gold Rush

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“Our main problem here is that mining is booming without control and it’s taking our water away,” “said Cogua mayor Javier Garzón, a big man with a black moustache and humble origins. He is battling to preserve the unique water source of the 20,000 people who live in his town from miners attracted by the growing demand for coal (especially from China and the United States) and its soaring price on the international market.

The water for his town and five nearby municipalities comes from the páramos, a unique highland ecosystem of the Andes, described by some as a “water factory.” Its sponge-like soil and particular vegetation and geology capture water in the rainy season, acting as a natural buffer against floods. During the dry season, the páramos release water into hundreds of small creeks that feed crops and reservoirs.

In Guerrero, Cogua’s surrounding páramo, the landscape is both breathtaking and alarming: a field of blossoming frailejones – an endemic plant with velvety leaves that capture the particles of water from the mist of these altitudes – is pierced by dozens of deep shafts and tunnels with piles of coal alongside. The mines are interconnected with an improvised network of trails that bulldozers and trucks use to move their loads of coal. Miners with faces covered in black dust gaze at strangers while streams flow dark with runoff from their excavations.

Like Guerrero, many of Colombia’s remaining páramos are under siege. The recent mining boom is threatening ecosystems that are critical for the well-being of hundreds of small towns and even a few big cities. Páramos represent only two percent of Colombia’s land, but provide water to 70 percent of its people.”

Read more: National Geographic


Hydropower Projects Speed Up in Tibet

The construction site of the Lhasa Convertor station of the Qinghai-Tibet Power Grid Interconnection Project. Photo retrieved from:

“Currently, a number of key hydropower projects are being constructed simultaneously in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, Tibet Daily reported.

In a bid to push forward its economic and social leap-forward development and long-term stability, Tibet recently formulated a medium- and long-term energy development plan to make detailed arrangements for the region’s energy construction.

The Phomdo Water Control Project mainly is aimed at irrigation and power generation with due attention to flood control and water supplies.

With a planned reservoir capacity of 1.23 billion cubic meters, the project will be able to irrigate an overall farmland area of 16,370 square kilometers, expected to produce 255 more tons of grain.

The construction of the Phomdo Project, with a total investment of about 4.57 billion yuan, is estimated to last 69 months.”

Read more: China Tibet Online

House Urged to Cut Back After Bottled-Water Tab Nears $1 Million

“If the Potomac River, which supplies water to the nation’s capital, had run dry, Congress might be able to explain itself. But it hasn’t. ”

“And that has left one group calling out the U.S. House for spending $860,000 last year on bottled water — money it says could have gone toward installing fountains of perfectly potable water. 

“A report from the nonprofit Corporate Accountability International found that between April 2009 and March 2010, House lawmakers spent an average of $2,000 per member on bottled water. 

“Corporate Accountability International is now joining with other advocacy groups to call on the House to set an example, by cutting bottled water out of its budget.”

Read More: Fox News

Anger In Sofia Over Water Price Hike

The water utility in Sofia has been harshly criticized for shortage of investments in the upgrade and maintenance of the system. Photo retrieved from:

“Just three months after it was acquired by France’s Veolia Environnement, Sofiyska Voda, the company operating water supply and treatment services for the Bulgarian capital Sofia, announced a 9.37% hike in prices.

The hike, which will increase the price from BGN 1.28 to BGN 1.40 per cubic meter, was approved by the watchdog the State Commission for Energy and Water Regulation and comes into effect as of February 1.

The company, which serves 1.3 million inhabitants, recently threatened to suspend supplies to its debtors.

Outstanding payments currently amount to BGN 59 M, the concessioner announced, adding that the sum exceeds the investments of BGN 52 M it made in an upgrade of no more than 1% of the sewage system last year.

More than twenty years after the fall of the communist regime, Bulgaria’s water sector remains one of the least reformed systems in the country.

Except for Sofia municipal water supply, which has been granted on concession to a foreign investor, all other units in the sector are either owned by the state or the municipalities.”

Read more: Novinite

Now You Can Tap Into Free S.F. Resource

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“Those strolling around the city may have noticed some strange new contraptions: metal boxes that dispense tap water with the push of a button. In our day, they were called drinking fountains. But now the official lingo is “tap water refilling stations.”

Apparently, the difference is that the new version makes it easier to position a water bottle underneath the spigot in the hopes people will ditch plastic bottles for reusable ones.

The “refilling stations” are a project of the Department of the Environment, the Public Utilities Commission and Global Tap LLC and are designed, according to the press release, “to promote free access to San Francisco‘s great tasting tap water.” Kind of like, you know, a sink.

There are now seven around town with the goal of 15 – in Golden Gate ParkCrocker Amazon, UCSF, the Academy of Sciences, the Marina Green, the airport and several schools. The units are replacing already existing drinking fountains and cost a total of $37,000. The PUC and Global Tap are splitting the cost.”

Read more: SFGate

Vision: 8 Reasons Global Capitalism Makes Our Lives Worse — And How We Can Create a New Kind of Economy

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Globalization wastes natural resources. Consumerism is threatening the planet, natural resources are stretched to the breaking point and yet we have an economic system that encourages us to consume more and more, says Norberg-Hodge. Consumer culture is increasingly urban and when rural people move to the city the food they used to grow themselves is now grown on industrial-sized chemical-intensive farms. Food must be trucked to cities, waste must be trucked out. Large dams are needed to provide water and huge centralized power plants must be fueled by coal and uranium mines.

4. Globalization accelerates climate change. Globalization’s “success” is often attributed to efficiencies of scale, but mostly it is fueled by deregulation and hidden subsidies that make food from around the globe cost less than food from down the street. With efficiencies of scale, it’s really the opposite, says British MP Zac Goldsmith, “Tuna caught off the east coast of America is flown to Japan, processed and flown back to America to be sold to consumers; English apples are flown to South Africa to be waxed, flown back to England to be sold.”

Read more: AlterNet

Bottled Water Labels Lack Key Data, Group Says

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“On Wednesday, the Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C., advocacy outfit, released its “Bottled Water Scorecard,” a rundown of the data displayed – or not – on the containers of one of the nation’s most popular retail beverages.

The group found that only three water bottles had three key pieces of data – the water’s source, how it’s purified and the results of any tests for contaminants. The brands were: Gerber Pure Purified Water, Nestle Pure Life Purified Water and Penta Ultra Purified Water.

The 170 others lacked at least one of the three pieces of information; but many had none. In contrast, municipal water purveyors must provide data on where their supplies originate, treatment methods and any violations of drinking water standards under federal law.

“A lot of people drink bottled water because they don’t trust their tap water,” said Jane Houlihan, senior vice president for research at the Environmental Working Group. “But municipal utilities are required to be transparent. With bottled water you’re completely in the dark.”

The bottled water industry, however, points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require such information.”

Read more: San Francisco Chronicle

Devastation From Above

"Eleven percent of the world's fresh water goes to make paper," Fair says. "How wild is that?" In a waste-treatment pond at a Louisiana mill that manufactures paper towels, circles form around aerators that churn the water to speed digestion of organic byproducts. Photo retrieved from:

“J. Henry Fair was stumped. He couldn’t figure out how to photograph whatever might be hiding behind the walls and fences of industrial plants. Then, on a cross-country flight about 15 years ago, he looked out the window and saw a series of cooling towers poking through a low-lying fog. “Just get a plane!” he recalls thinking.

Today Fair, 51, is known in ecological as well as art circles for his strangely beautiful photographs of environmental degradation, most of them made out the open windows of small airplanes at about 1,000 feet. Fair has flown over oil refineries in Texas, paper mills in Ontario, ravaged West Virginia mountaintops, the oil-slicked Gulf of Mexico and a string of factories along the lower Mississippi River known as “Cancer Alley.” He is currently photographing coal ash disposal sites, many considered highly hazardous by the Environmental Protection Agency.

Fair, who lives in New York State, consults scientists to better understand the images in his viewfinder: vast cranberry red ponds of hazardous bauxite waste spewed by aluminum smelters; kelly green pits filled with byproducts, some radioactive, from the manufacture of fertilizer. But pollution never looked so good. “To make an image that stops people it has to be something that tickles that beauty perception and makes people appreciate the aesthetics,” says Fair, who specialized in portraiture before taking to the skies.

Read more: Smithsonian

How South America’s Rainforests Are Being Sacrificed on the Altar of Energy

Amazon Rainforest. Photo retrieved from:

“That estimate takes into account a 10-km strip that would be deforested along each of the roads that have to be built in order to install the transmission towers and power lines.

It does not consider further deforestation in areas already degraded by the construction of the Southern Interoceanic Highway, which will link the Amazon jungle state of Acre in Brazil with several Pacific port cities in Peru.

The study mentions a number of impacts for the Inambari and Araza river basins, such as the dams’ interruption of the migration of many species of fish upriver to their breeding grounds, which will in turn affect riverbank populations that depend on fish as a staple food.

Peru ranks fifth in the world in terms of diversity of fish species, with more than 1,000 species, around 600 of which can be found in the Madre de Dios river alone, the report says.”

Read more: AlterNet