All posts filed under “Environment

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The Impact of Deforestation On Malaria

Deforestation in Brazil has led to an increase in malaria cases, according to a new study in Nature. The study found that areas affected by one kilometre square of deforestation produced 27 new malaria cases. Moreover, their results emphasise not only that deforestation promotes malaria incidence, but also that it directly or indirectly results in a low Human Development Index (HDI), and favours environmental conditions that promote malaria vector conception. As shown in the figures above, the impact of deforestation on malaria cases is bigger than it is with forest degradation and impacted forests. Simple linear regression analyses showed that each km² of deforestation corresponded to an increase of 27 new malaria cases, whereas each km² of impacted forest corresponded to an increase of 16 new cases. (source)

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WHO: Air Quality Inequality Widens

The World Health Organisation dropped a massive report on air quality all around the world on Wednesday. Here are their key findings:

  •  Data from WHO shows that 9 out of 10 people breathe air containing high levels of pollutants
  • 7 million people die each year because of air pollution
  • 3 billion people people (+- 40%) are breathing in polluted air on a daily basis
  • The fine particles in polluted air penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular system, causing diseases including stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases and respiratory infections, including pneumonia
  • Air pollution is a critical risk factor for noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), causing an estimated 24% of all adult deaths from heart disease, 25% from stroke, 43% from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and 29% from lung cancer

One of things this report focuses on the most, is the air pollution inequality. In rich cities around the world, the air quality is improving. The worst air quality can be found in poor regions, most notably south and south-east Asia. These parts of the world not only have the worst air quality, but it is also worsening the fastest: 70% of the poor cities in this region suffered worsening air quality. Delhi has the worst air pollution out of the world’s mega-cities with more than 14 million habitants, followed by Cairo and Dhaka. The figure, made by The Guardian, shows the inequality and the widening gap between the world regions. (source)

If you’re interested in the air quality in your region: http://maps.who.int/airpollution/

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The State Of Tunafish

Last December, the United Nations declared the 2nd of May ‘World Tuna Day’, to raise awareness for the overwhelming demand on tuna. In the latest edition of The State World Fisheries and Aquaculture, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) noted that there is a need for effective management to restore the overfished stocks including tuna. The International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISS) has an interesting interactive tool on their website, which shows the stock health per tuna species, and per area of catch. Whereas it also shows how each species is caught. For instance, it can be concluded that albacores are the most sustainably fished tuna species, since most of them are caught by pole and line. This type of gear prevents bycatch, in which other fish/sea creatures are ‘collateral damage’, caught in the same net as the tuna. On the other end of the spectrum is the skipjack, which is caught the least sustainable, with purse seines and gillnets. Skipjacks are most commonly used for canned tuna. (source)

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Meat And The Actual Costs Of Producing It

The real cost of meat is a lot higher than the price we pay for it in supermarkets. This is the conclusion of CE Delft, an independent research and consultancy group on sustainability issues. The researchers found that pig meat is the most unevenly priced: in the store, pork costs €7,75/kg, however, if the environmental and climate footprints, plus the costs of land-use and animal illnesses are added, it would cost €11,83/kg. This a 53% increase! If these real prices were used in real life, beef prices would increase by 40% to €17,06/kg, while chicken would ‘only’ cost €8,81/kg. (source)