The Good, The Bad & The Algae


The Antarctic Ozone Layer - shields the Earth from harmful ultraviolet rays, is showing encouraging signs that it's beginning to heal, according to research published in the journal Science. Scientists credit the healing to an international policy set nearly three decades ago that cut the production of ozone-destroying chemicals. That agreement -- the 1987 Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer -- called for the phase-out of substances including chlorofluorocarbons and halons, once present in refrigerators, aerosol cans and dry cleaning chemicals. (CNN)

Boyan Slat’s
ambitious plan to rid the world’s oceans of plastic has taken another step towards reality with its first prototype to be tested at sea. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation, founded by the 21-year-old Slat, has deployed a 100-meter clean-up boom today in the North Sea in The Netherlands.The prototype was unveiled before its main partners, the Dutch government and marine contractor Royal Boskalis Westminster N.V. The system will be installed roughly 12 nautical miles off the Dutch coast where it will undergo sensor-monitored tests for the next year. According to The Guardian, the vulcanized rubber barrier will passively coral floating trash into a V-shaped cone via the ocean’s natural currents. The structure is anchored at a depth of up to 4.5 kilometers by a cable sub-system.Today is a major occasion for Slat, who came up with his highly publicized concept a few years ago when he was only a teenager.

“This is a historic day on the path toward clean oceans,”
he said.

Photo © AFP

TSHERING TOGBAY – BHUTAN Prime Minister. Deep in the Himalayas, on the border between China and India, lies the Kingdom of Bhutan, which has pledged to remain carbon neutral for all time. In this illuminating talk, Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay shares his country's mission to put happiness before economic growth and set a world standard for environmental preservation. What a legend.


1. Petroperu - Amazon oil spill. The Peruvian government dismissed the head of Petroperu, German Velasquez, and fined the state-owned energy company about $3.5 million after the third oil spill in the Amazon this year from its four-decades-old pipeline. Energy and Mines Minister Rosa Maria Ortiz said Petroperu had been illegally pumping crude through the 1,106-kilometer (687-mile) pipeline, which was supposed to have been closed for repairs following two spills earlier this year.

Photo © Barbara Fraser

2. Leopard Gin Trap
- Cape Nature responds. A couple weeks ago we reported on the leopard fiasco. Cape Nature tells their side of the story. "During the operation on Saturday the leopard managed to break free from the anchor of the illegally set gin trap and attacked the veterinarian, who sustained injuries to their left arm. The CapeNature employee, who has extensive experience with these types of incidents, had to attempt to stop the animal from attacking, and intervened. Unfortunately the SAPS and CapeNature had to shoot the leopard to end the attack on the veterinarian and to ensure that no further human lives were threatened. This incident was, thus, a case of self-defence where a human life was being threatened and the leopard’s death was tragically needed to save human lives." (Cape Nature)

3. Green Algae shuts down beaches in Florida, USA. Experts and activists say the latest algae outbreak is a direct result of runoff from the polluted waters of Lake Okeechobee. The Palm Beach Post reports that, in May, water managers discovered a 33-square-mile algae bloom in the lake. Algae samples taken earlier this month from Okeechobee contained more than 20 times the amount of toxins the World Health Organization considers hazardous. (The Post)

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