Environmental News Updates, August 18 - 22


Youth: Technology Today

Student’s six-foot water and solar-powered lens purifies polluted water

“Millions of people die every year from diseases and pathogens found in unclean water, and they can’t help it because that’s all they have. Either they drink it or they die.”

This technology uses the abundant resource-sunlight, to operate a water purifying process. With sharp focal concentration, a water lens is able to magnify the light of the sun and heat the water to 130-150 degrees Fahrenheit (54-65 degrees Celsius). Using this process, they can “destroy 99.9 % of bacteria and pathogens”, according to the University at Buffalo.

The full article and contact details for more information can be found here.

 Source: University at Buffalo, NY                                                        


One person’s trash is another person’s science

Large amounts of waste are washed onshore adding to “wrack lines”, which are organic waste or detritus which eventually wash onshore. Wrack lines are sometimes caused by extreme events such as storms and tsunamis and often times end up on land along with marine litter we dump into our environment. 

These waste items now offer a new opportunity for research and insight to previous floods. Being able to identify the age of waste allows scientists to map impacts and frequency of floods. This can assist in predicting future events and incorporate these findings into better and earlier disaster reduction planning.

Take a look at how UNEP CEP is supporting the Caribbean region with through its regional plan for marine litter management here.

Read the full article online here.


Source: UNEP CEP photo gallery



'If we don't change now we will lose the reefs'


Source: Deutsche Welle (DW)

A recent report by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and UNEP with the contribution of the Caribbean Environment Programme (CEP) followed trends of corals, seaweeds, grazing sea urchins and fish at 90 different locations in the Caribbean sea.

As one of the most detailed reports that has been conducted in this field, the results show that more than 50% of the corals have declined since the 1970s. The decline is highly correlated with invasive and intense local human activities, such as tourism, overfishing and pollution and less with extreme events. While climate change is presenting a risk to the corals, it is not considered as the main determinant.

“These reef systems of the Caribbean”, as Lisel Alamilla, the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Sustainable Development of Belize says, “provide a wide range of services for almost 40 million people, which affect livelihood, economic progress, food security, cultural expressions and communion with nature.”

Read the interview with Carl Gustaf Lundin, Director of the Global Marine and Polar Programme at the IUCN here and see recommendations on how to tackle the coral reef crisis in theStatus and Trends of Caribbean Coral Reefs 1970-2012.