The environment in the news

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Burkina Faso: $40m for rural electrification

  • Nigeria: Firm to Revolutionise Gas Industry in The Country

  • South Africa: Co-Generation Could Delay Need for Kusile, Says WWF

  • Nigeria: Experts Advise Abia On Waste-to-Wealth Policy

    Nigeria: Experts Advise Abia on Waste-to-Wealth Policy
    Daily Independent (Lagos): Abia State government has been urged to formulate policies and legislations which would encourage the turning of waste into wealth, thereby reduce unemployment ratio and empower the people. The appeal was made at a one-day workshop on "Turning Waste to Wealth" held at the Local Government Service Commission headquarters in Umuahia organized by the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Abia State chapter. Several submissions made by different speakers at the event largely attended by businessmen and women, the clergy, the traders, workers and small and medium-scale operators explained that successive administrations in Abia State had faced the challenge of disposing and managing the large quantity of waste generated in the state.
    Specifically, they insisted that the volume of waste generated in the commercial city of Aba was enough to turn any state or nation into mega-state or mega nation, adding that such efforts had not been truly carried out in the past. They maintained that previous effort by the present administration to contract out the task to an American based company failed as the contract was terminated after two years for inefficiency. According to the Head, Environmental Resource Management Department, Abia State University Uturu, Professor Victor Nwugo, "There is the need for the state government to work out modalities to provide ready market for the processed waste." He explained that wastes such as plantain, banana and pineapple peels could be processed and supplemented with bone or blood meal for feeds, while others like agricultural, domestic and industrial wastes could be processed as organic manure.
    Nigeria: Firm to Revolutionise Gas Industry in The Country
    Leadership (Abuja): Nigeria's dream to end gas flaring in the may soon be fulfilled as a company Petdrill Development Company Limited Gas Conversion Complex in Delta State in 2011. Addressing journalists recently, the chairman/chief executive of Petdrill Chief Daniel Ogwilaya, expressed the determination of the company to end gas flaring in Nigeria with an objective for the optimum utilisation of flared gas in the Niger Delta region of the country. He said: "Petdrill has already been allocated gas by the NNPC for a 20 year period. Also a Gas Sales and Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Nigeria Gas Company (NGC), a subsidiary of NNPC is ready for signing upon completion of the gas conversion complex.
    "When the Gas Conversion Complex is ready, it will turn out on daily basis 400 metric tons of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (Cooking and Industrial Gas), 3,000 metric tons of Methanol, 1,000 metric tons of Ethanol, 2,000 metric tons of mixed alcohols, 1,760 metric tons of Urea for fertilizer and residue gas to generate over 400 megawatts of electricity. On completion of the complex, Petdrill will be utilising 160 million standard cubic foot of natural gas at a flow rate of about 200 million standard cubic foot per day in the first phase of the project. This is slated to one billion standard cubic foot of natural gas at phase 2 and 3 of the project."
    Ogwilaya, a mechanical engineer, told journalists that Petdrill has embarked on the construction of a 12 kilometer road leading to the site of the company, a road that equally lead to six villages on Emevor/Orogu road, the contract of which after being awarded to a contractor by the Delta State Government, the contractor collected the mobilisation fee and disappeared into the thin air.
    South Africa: Co-Generation Could Delay Need for Kusile, Says WWF
    Business Day (Johannesburg): South Africa could delay one of two planned new coal power stations if energy produced by heavy industry was sold to the national grid, lobby group Worldwide Fund for Nature, or WWF, says. This would reduce the possibility of load shedding and lower the pressure on electricity tariffs, which could increase by 35% if Eskom gets its way. The utility plans to build two large power stations, Medupi and Kusile, but according to environmental group WWF, Kusile could be postponed indefinitely if electricity from the private sector, using renewable energy and co-generation, was bought instead. Co-generation refers to electricity produced as a result of industrial processes.
    WWF trade and investment adviser Peet du Plooy said last week that because co-generation frequently uses energy that would otherwise be wasted, it improves overall energy efficiency and is environmentally responsible. Several South African companies - including Sasol, Sappi and Exxaro - have shown interest either in renewable generation or in co-generation. Renewable energy projects have become more attractive since the announcement of the renewable energy feed-in tariffs for clean energy sold to the national grid. Companies could sell the renewable energy they produce for a premium price, while buying electricity for their own needs from Eskom at a lower price, effectively reducing their net energy bills, said Nedbank Capital's lead principle for energy finance, Sakkie Leimecke.
    Burkina Faso: $40m for rural electrification
    The Board of Directors of the African Development Bank Group based in Tunisia has approved a loan of 40 million US dollars for Burkina Faso to fund a rural electrification project. The ministry of mines and power said the fund will boost the country's ambition to considerably increase electricity supply to rural and urban areas, while improving quality and reliability of the service. The ministry plans a renovation and extension of some 1,800 km of the national grid, which will improve national coverage with the supply of 150 new villages, state media RTB said.
    The needs of 800,000 people in 140,000 households will be met by this project, according to reports. Street lighting will be extended, with the installation of 750 new units. The project will also increase access to the provision of basic services such as clean water, health, education, and communication, at the same time improving the efficiency of those services. To meet this challenge, Burkina Faso government said it will set up interconnections with neighbouring countries such as Cote d'Ivoire and Ghana.
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    Tuesday, February 09, 2010
    UNEP or UN in the news

    • UNEP: Bluefin Tuna Main Course Of World Conference Of 175 Nations - Brunei News

    • UNDP launches multi-agency project to improve plight of indigenous peoples in RP - PIA

    • True value of turtles – Shanghia Daily

    UNEP: Bluefin Tuna Main Course Of World Conference Of 175 Nations - Brunei News

    NAM NEWS NETWORK Feb 8th, 2010

    GENEVA, Feb 8 (NNN-UNEP) — New measures to conserve and manage sustainably the bluefin tuna, elephant populations and a wide range of sharks, corals, reptiles, insects and plants are being proposed by governments attending the next triennial world conference of the Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).
    The representatives of 175 governments will also discuss urgent measures to tackle illegal wildlife trade and protect the livelihoods of the rural poor. Over 40 proposals will be decided at the conference in Doha, Qatar, from March 13 to 25.
    Importantly, some governments propose to lift CITES regulations on some species, underlining the success of CITES in key areas 35 years after its entry into force.
    Many of these proposals reflect growing international concern about the accelerating destruction of the world’s marine and forest ecosystems through overfishing and excessive logging, and the potential impacts of climate change on the biological resources of the planet.
    The UN General Assembly has declared 2010 the international year of biodiversity and the CITES Conference will be one of the key occasions governments will have this year to take action to protect biodiversity.
    Other issues on the agenda include the adoption of urgent measures to: tackle illegal trade in the tiger, rhinos and other species that are on the brink of extinction; address the potential impacts of CITES measures on the livelihoods of the rural poor, who are often on the frontlines of using and managing wildlife; and allocate sufficient financial resources to ensure that CITES goals are fully achieved.
    A substantial budget increase will be necessary to ensure proper implementation of the measures proposed for adoption in Doha. The current annual budget of the CITES Secretariat is about USD 5 million. — NNN-UNEP.


    UNDP launches multi-agency project to improve plight of indigenous peoples in RP - PIA
    Manila (8 February) -- The problems faced by indigenous peoples in the Philippines require interventions that are integrated and holistic, rather than stop-gap and piece-meal. Thus, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is launching a program that brings together stakeholders from relevant areas to zero in on cross-cutting issues as peace building, environmental justice and good governance.
    The UNDP program, "Strengthening Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Development" (SIPRD), will focus on securing the rights of IPs on their ancestral lands, including the sustainable use, management and protection of these lands. In effect, it supports good governance principles and promotes indigenous peace-keeping mechanisms to avoid costly and harmful armed conflicts.
    According to Renaud Meyer, UNDP Country Director, "the program is part of UNDP's larger involvement in the UN's drive for a comprehensive, multi-agency UN System response to the challenges faced by IPs in the country."
    The SIPRD is designed to provide UNDP and other agencies a framework through which responses to IP problems can be synergistically channeled, drawing on the resources of the entire UN System in the Philippines.
    "The UN is now exploring ways wherein organizations like the ILO, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNIFEM, WFP, UNEP, UNESCO, FAO and the World Bank can better integrate for greater program effectiveness," Meyer continued.
    Priority work will be the first-ever population census of IPs to be conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), in collaboration with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). The national census seeks to come up with sex-disaggregated data on IPs, and significantly provide a clearer picture of where intervention is most needed.
    A ceremonial signing of the SPIRD Project Document is scheduled on Tuesday, 9 February 2010, after the launch of the State of the World's Indigenous Peoples Report. Venue is the Assembly Hall, NCPAG Building, UP-Diliman, Quezon City.
    Project signatories include NCIP Chair Eugenio Insigne, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Deputy Director General Rolando Tungpalan, and UNDP Country Director Renaud Meyer. (UNDP/PIA)


    True value of turtles – Shanghia Daily
    By Alister Doyle - FORTY-NINE." On a Pacific beach in Costa Rica, a researcher whispers the number after counting the slimy, round white eggs just laid by a rare leatherback turtle in a hole dug in the sand under bright moonlight.
    Turtles like this 1.5-meter female have probably been struggling out of the surf at night since before the dinosaurs disappeared 65 million years ago. The region is the main nesting site in the east Pacific for the critically endangered species.
    Numbers of leatherbacks emerging onto this Costa Rican beach fell to 32 in the 2008-09 season from 1,500 two decades ago - due to factors such as nearby hotels, poaching of eggs, accidental snaring in fishermen's nets and global warming. Arrivals so far this season are slightly up.
    Far from the beach, other experts may give a new argument for conserving the turtles by studying whether their fast-clotting blood can give clues to aiding humans, or if the way they regulate buoyancy can inform submarine design.
    In 2010 - the International Year of Biodiversity - the United Nations wants efforts to slow the accelerating pace of extinctions to reach beyond nature lovers, to companies and economists.
    Shifting emphasis from emotional images of polar bears, pandas or leatherbacks that stress the fragility and beauty of nature, the focus is on a harder-headed assessment of how the natural world is a key to economic growth and new products.
    "Boosting biodiversity can boost the global economy," the UN Environment Program said while launching the theme. Natural services by coral reefs, forests or wetlands are too often undervalued, it said.
    But profits from imitating nature have often been elusive. By some UN estimates, three species an hour are going extinct, most of them before they have even been identified.
    "It's like we have a house full of wedding presents," says James Spotila, a professor of environmental science at Drexel University in Philadelphia. "And we're throwing them out of the window before we even open them."
    UN reports say the world is facing the worst spate of extinctions since the dinosaurs vanished, due to factors such as expanding cities, forest clearance, overfishing, climate change and species disrupting new habitats.
    Yet a hectare of intact coral reef, for instance, can be worth up to US$1 million a year for tourism, up to US$189,000 for protecting coasts from storms, up to US$57,000 as a source of genetic materials and up to US$3,818 for fisheries, according to a preliminary UN-backed study in late 2009.
    The problem is translating such estimates into cash. "I always ask: 'Where's the business proposal?'," says Gunter Pauli, head of Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives which looks for opportunities in nature.
    Many pharmaceutical firms rely on nature. Among recent examples, scientists developed the malaria drug artemisinin from sweet wormwood, while the Madagascan periwinkle and Pacific yew tree have both yielded treatments for cancer.
    Beyond medicines, firms are looking to "biomimicry," tricks evolved by nature such as adhesives inspired by the feet of gecko lizards that can walk on ceilings, or cellphone screens imitating iridescent butterfly wings to generate colors.
    Biomimicry products
    Companies including Royal Dutch Shell, Dupont and Nike work with the Montana-based Biomimicry Guild, which seeks to identify new ideas.
    "It's so fun to see the light go on in their eyes. They can see we can make money and do the right thing," says Sherry Ritter of the guild.
    Still, Pauli says only three biomimicry products had secured annual turnover over 100 million euros (US$144.3 million).
    These are Velcro - Swiss inventor George de Mestral was inspired in the 1940s by plant burrs trapped on his dog's fur - hypodermic needles which Terumo Corp modelled on the jab of a mosquito, and paints derived from a self-cleaning trick by the lotus plant, sold by US Sto Corp and other groups.
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