Single-use plastic shopping bags will be banned in Queensland from July next year, following the passage of a long-heralded bill through Parliament on Tuesday night. Coupled with a recycling refund scheme similar to the one that has operated in South Australia for years, the Palaszczuk government hoped the move would cut down on litter and landfill. The plastic bag ban will come in from July 1, 2018. The ban targets all lightweight, single-use plastic bags, including those of the biodegradable variety, but stops short of prohibiting the heavier bags used at department stores. The refund scheme will apply to most drink bottles between 150 millilitres and three litres, making 10-cent returns available for recyclers. According to the government, milk, wine and pure juice bottles will be exempt.
Source: Queensland’s plastic bag ban is official, along with recycling refund
Well done Germany! –
Germany’s “Energiewende”—the country’s low-carbon energy revolution—turned another successful corner last weekend when renewable energy sources nearly stamped out coal and nuclear.
Thanks to a particularly breezy and sunny Sunday, renewables such as wind and solar, along with some biomass and hydropower, peaked at a record 85 percent, or 55.2 gigawatts, and even came along with negative prices for several hours at the electricity exchange.
Conversely, coal use was at an all-time minimum. According to DW, on April 30, coal-fired power stations were only operational between 3 and 4 p.m. and produced less than eight gigawatts of energy, well below the maximum output of about 50 gigawatts.
Source: Germany Breaks Record: 85% of Energy Comes From Renewables Last Weekend
Yet another reason to care about what goes into our environment! –
Researchers have found a link between environmental quality and cancer incidence across the U.S.
“Our study is the first we are aware of to address the impact of cumulative environmental exposures on cancer incidence,” said Dr. Jyotsna Jagai of the University of Illinois, who led the research team.
For the study, the researchers cross-referenced the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) program’s state cancer profiles with the Environmental Quality Index (EQI) and determined that the average cancer rate in roughly 2,700 counties was about 451 people in every 100,000 between 2006 and 2010.
But in counties with poor environmental quality, the researchers found a 10 percent higher incidence of cancer cases—or an average of 39 more cases per 100,000 people. The higher numbers were seen in both males and females, especially prostate and breast cancer.
Source: Elevated Cancer Rates Linked to Environmental Quality
What a brilliant step forward! –
Volvo Cars announced Wednesday that every car it launches from 2019 will have an electric motor, marking a “historic end” to the internal combustion engine. This makes Volvo the first traditional carmaker to fully embrace electrification. “This is a clear commitment towards reducing our carbon footprint as well as contributing to better air quality in our cities,” Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive, said. He then stated goals of selling 1 million electrified cars by 2025.
Source: Volvo Announces ‘Historic End’ to Combustion Engine, All Cars Going Electric
Why every bit of clean air is important! –
Just how bad is air pollution for you? A study of more than 60 million Medicare recipients has found that even pollution levels below those generally considered safe increase the risk for premature death.
Using satellite, meteorological and other data, plus data gathered from 3,805 monitoring stations maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, researchers were able to accurately estimate daily air pollution levels nationwide. The study is in The New England Journal of Medicine.
They followed the population for a median of seven years, recording 22,567,924 deaths. They found that each increase of 10 micrograms per cubic meter in particles smaller than 2.5 microns, or PM 2.5, was associated with a 7.3 percent increased mortality, and each increase of 10 parts per billion in warm-weather ozone was linked to a 1.1 percent increase.
Source: Even ‘Safe’ Pollution Levels Can Be Deadly – The New York Times