Posts Tagged ‘Müll’

Global: Metall-Recycling, nein danke?!

Donnerstag, Mai 26th, 2011

“World metal recycling ‘discouragingly low,’ says new UN report

Despite the obvious benefits to the environment, industry and consumers themselves, metal recycling rates worldwide are discouragingly low, according to a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

The “Recycling Rates of Metals: A Status Report” says that fewer than one third of some 60 metals studied have a recycling rate above 50 per cent and 34 elements are below 1 per cent, yet many of them are crucial to clean technologies such as batteries for hybrid cars and the magnets in wind turbines.

“In spite of significant efforts in a number of countries and regions, many metal recycling rates are discouragingly low, and a ‘recycling society’ appears no more than a distant hope,” it says.

The weak performance is especially frustrating because, unlike some other resources, metals are “inherently recyclable,” the report adds.

Achim Steiner, UNEP’s Executive Director, said during the report’s launch in Brussels that “in theory, metals can be used over and over again, minimizing the need to mine and process virgin materials and thus saving substantial amounts of energy and water while minimizing environmental degradation.

“Raising levels of recycling worldwide can therefore contribute to a transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient Green Economy while assisting to generate ‘green jobs’,” he stated.

The report cites evidence that the era of cheap and easily accessible ores is running out. For example, about three times more material needs to be moved for the same ore extraction than a century ago, with corresponding increases in land disruption, water impacts and energy use.

Among the report’s recommendations is the better design of metal-using products to make disassembly and recycling easier and improved waste management in developing countries. It also encourages people in richer countries to stop squirreling away old phones and chargers that will probably never be used and wind up in a dustbin never to be recycled.

“I am as guilty as anyone here,” says Nick Nuttall, spokesperson for the Nairobi-based UNEP. “Like a squirrel or a magpie, my home and office drawers and cupboards are packed with old mobile phone chargers, USB cables, defunct laptops and the like.

“I somehow imagine that they might come in useful one day – but of course they never do as they have been superseded by the latest model.”’


(Quelle: UN News Centre.)

Indonesien: Konzern darf weiterhin Giftmüll verklappen

Dienstag, Mai 17th, 2011

“Newmont Secures Permit to Send Mining Waste Out to Sea

By Fidelis E. Satriastanti

The company’s previous permit to channel its tailing to the bottom of the sea off its gold mine in West Sumbawa, West Nusa Tenggara, which had been issued in 2002, expired on Sunday.

“There are some stricter regulations for them to follow, such as the limitation of waste volume dumped per year, the levels of materials, and the company is under obligation to conduct toxicology tests on local people and geo-hydrologic tests,” said Masnellyarti Hilman, deputy of toxic waste management.

The mining company’s spokesman confirmed the deal. “We have received a tailing placement permit renewal for a period of five years,” spokesman Rubi Purnomo told the Jakarta Globe by text message.

He said that the miner would have to meet stricter monitoring requirements, but gave no additional details.

Environment Minister Gusti Muhammad Hatta said on Thursday that the company was allowed to dump maximum 51 million metric tons of mining waste per year, or a daily average of 140,000 tons.

The agreement also stipulates that if there were an increase in production, the company would be allowed to dump 54 million tons per year or 148,000 tons per day. However, the increased output would have to be reported to the Environment Ministry.

In addition, the company, the local unit of the US-based organization, is required to assess the ecological state of the southern and western coastal areas of West Sumbawa annually, increase monitoring quality and gauge health conditions that include heavy metal contamination in people living near the project.

Meanwhile, Pius Ginting, a campaigner at the Indonesian Forum for the Environment, said that the ministry had overstepped its jurisdiction by issuing the extension.

“Based on the environmental law and mining law, permits are given in accordance to areas of jurisdictions. If it concerns the district, the permit is issued by the district chief; if it is provincial, it is given by governor; and if it involves provinces then it is given by the ministry,” said Pius. The ministry issuing a permit for a district level operations could be considered against the law, he said.

He said that the West Sumbawa district head had already issued decision to ban the company’s tailing activities to Senunu Bay last month.”


(Quelle: The Jakarta Globe.)

Kuwait droht Umweltkatastrophe

Mittwoch, Juni 16th, 2010

“Toxic lakes threaten groundwater

By James Calderwood, Foreign Correspondent

Photo: Gustavo Ferrari / The National
Thousand of tankers come to the lagoons 24 hours a day

KUWAIT CITY // Water in the desert is often a welcome find, but three giant lagoons in the south of Kuwait are so putrid that any thirsty traveller who happened to come across them might wish they had been a mirage.

The back pools near Wafra have been created over years by tens of thousands of tankers emptying loads of industrial, chemical and domestic waste into the pools bordered by piled-up sand. The result is 400-metre-long, noxious lagoons that environmentalists say are slowly seeping into the ground and polluting the country’s groundwater.

This week, 160 containers discharged in a single day. ‘My load comes from Kuwait Oil Company,’ one driver, who asked to remain anonymous, said. Waste spewed from the back of his tanker, forming a putrid stream that weaved its way into the lagoon at the bottom of the bank. ‘I come here twice a day.’

‘They’ve been doing this for around three years,’ said a worker at the site, who also declined to give his name. ‘We used to get around 400 trucks daily. Now there is less, but the deliveries still arrive 24 hours a day.’

The containers all have official permission to unload at the site, which the government opened to prevent waste water from being discharged at unregulated venues elsewhere.

The government has opened a new water-treatment facility 25km from the lagoons in an attempt to stop further dumping at the lagoons.

Kamal Banoub, a US consultant engineer to the council of ministers’ Security Decision Follow-up Committee, which runs the facility, said it officially opened last week and was operating at about 40 per cent of its planned capacity. By the end of July, the facility will be capable of receiving 7,500 cubic metres of industrial waste water every day, or about 400 trucks, he said.

The plant can extract oil and sand from the water, clean it with chemicals and analyse the finished product in a laboratory. Scientists say the recycled water produced at the site will be pure enough for irrigation, but not drinking.

‘This problem has been in Kuwait for the past 40 years. Before it was dumped in the desert, but we have a suspicion that this would contaminate the groundwater,’ Mr Banoub said. ‘This is the main reason this site has opened.’

The lagoons and the new treatment station are intended to handle water from industrial and chemical waste from factories only, but some lorries have taken advantage of lax regulations to dump domestic waste, too. Mr Banoub said the new facility would enforce stricter rules to eliminate the practice because domestic waste can be treated more cheaply elsewhere.

When the plant is fully operational, the follow-up committee plans to drain the rancid lagoons for treatment in the new station, clean the contaminated soil and build a public park. Mr Banoub said: ‘We have to calculate the amount and see if we need pre-treatment; we are talking not less than two years.’

The consultant said the new treatment station was the first in the Gulf to receive waste from all types of industries. ‘In Europe, all industries recycle their water and use it again – on site in the factory.’ The ‘long-term target’ is for Kuwaiti factories to treat waste water themselves.

Ahmed al Shrea, an environmental campaigner with the Voluntary Environmental Committee, an organisation based in the residential area of Ali Sabah al Salem City, 30km north-east of the lagoons, said the new facility had taken too long to open. He said a plant that only grows near sewage has been found 7km away from the lagoons, indicating that the groundwater is already contaminated.

‘Last June, the minister of defence opened this station and said ‘this treatment unit will take care of all the polluted water in Kuwait’,’ Mr al Shrea said. When the environmental committee monitored the performance of the facility, they found it was taking just 10 per cent of the capacity that the minister, Sheikh Jaber Mubarak al Sabah, promised, he claimed.

The head of the Environment Public Authority, Saleh al Mudhhi, said it was still ‘under commissioning’, and would reach full capacity in the future. ‘But what does ‘the future’ mean? It could be five or 10 years. It took eight years to build this station, so it should be 100 per cent online by now.

‘We have a lot of money, but still the decision-makers are not solving the environmental problems in Kuwait,’ he said.

The authority was not available for comment about the water treatment facility. Mr al Shrea’s committee has videos of the tankers loading white, blue, red and yellow liquids from factories in the West Shuaiba Industrial Area, Mr al Shrea said, adding that one of those factories uses formaldehyde, ‘which is poisonous, and causes cancer’.

Mr Banoub said even though hazardous materials have been dumped into the lagoons, a plan is being put in place to ensure they are pre-treated before leaving the factories.

Despite the enormity of the putrid pools, Mr al Shrea said that with the right amount of investment they can be turned into a place where families could someday go for a picnic. ‘It’s an easy thing to do in engineering. If you have a lot of money you can hire the expertise to do it. But we don’t believe what these people say, we don’t trust them anymore.’”


(Quelle: The National .)

Mexiko: Pepsi, Nestle und der Boom der Plastik-Wasserflaschen

Freitag, Mai 28th, 2010

“In Mexico, fear of tap water fuels bottled-water boom

By Tim Johnson | McClatchy Newspapers

MEXICO CITY — It’s a simple warning — don’t drink the tap water — and Mexicans take it to heart as much as any foreign tourist does.

Mexicans drink more bottled water than the citizens of any other country do, an average of 61.8 gallons per person each year, according to the Beverage Marketing Corp., a consultancy. That’s far higher than Italy, and more than twice as much as in the United States.

A rising mistrust of tap water is behind the thirst for bottled water. Other factors are also at play, however, including clever advertising campaigns by multinational corporations and the failure of the Mexican government to provide timely data on water safety.

The boom in bottled water has an underside, too. Empty plastic water bottles litter landfills and roadsides at a rate that alarms consumer and environmental groups. Recycling experts say that only about one-eighth of the 21.3 million plastic water and soft drink bottles that are emptied each day in Mexico get recycled.

Mexicans weren’t always as distrustful of tap water as they are these days.

‘Twenty years ago, there were drinking fountains in all the public schools and in most parks,’ said Claudia Campero, a Mexico representative of Food & Water Watch, a Washington-based consumer advocacy group. Now, such fountains are rare.

Some municipal water systems in Mexico have fallen into disrepair, including in the capital, where a 1985 earthquake that killed more than 10,000 people broke numerous water mains. The city siphons water from the underlying aquifer faster than rainfall can replenish it, causing the city, much of which is built on an ancient lakebed, to sink, which puts additional stress on leaky water mains. Some 30 percent of the city’s water is lost to leakage.

‘The infrastructure is very old and obsolete. Even though there has been investment, it isn’t enough. Runoff is seeping into the water system,’ said Octavio Rosas Landa, an economist at the National Autonomous University of Mexico.

For years, many residents grew accustomed to boiling tap water to ensure its safety, but natural gas prices have risen, making boiling expensive.

Not all the water is bad. Some provincial cities have improved their water systems, and Environment Ministry officials say that 85 percent of the water coursing through municipal systems is potable. Consumers, however, don’t know when they might sip the other 15 percent. Many Mexicans simply don’t trust the government to deliver clean, pure water.

That’s where multinational companies with bottled water divisions — such as Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, France’s Groupe Danone and the Swiss giant Nestle — have found an opening.

‘These companies tell people to have confidence in them rather than in the government,’ Campero said.

One can hardly turn on the television without seeing an ad of a lithe young woman in a sweatsuit sipping from a bottle of premium water or a woman in a bikini whose svelte physique seems due to the bottle of water in her hand.

‘Drink 2 liters of water a day,’ the ads from Bonafont, a leading brand from Danone, say in block letters at the bottom of the screen. Another ad says: ‘Eliminate what your body doesn’t need.’

‘The competition is very intense,’ said beverage analyst Ana Paula Pedroni of the IXE brokerage. ‘The trend is for more marketing.’

On street corners, vendors hawk liter bottles of water. Restaurants don’t offer tap water, insisting that diners buy bottled water. Primary school students must take money to buy bottled water from kiosks. One brand uses characters from Looney Toons to appeal to the student market.

‘Most of my students carry bottles of water, and they drink a lot with this heat,’ said Rosas Landa, the university economist and water expert.

For big companies, the boom in bottled water consumption in developing countries such as Mexico, India, China and Indonesia has been a godsend, since consumers in Europe, a stronghold of bottled water, have rebelled against throwaway plastic bottles as harmful to the environment.

Not so in Mexico. Former President Vicente Fox, a longtime Coca-Cola executive, looked positively on rising soft drink and bottled water sales, seeing them as a driver of economic growth. Mexicans drink an average of 42.3 gallons of soft drinks per capita annually, surpassed only by U.S. consumers.

The growth of soft drink consumption is slowing in comparison with water, however.

‘The sale of water has risen on the order of 8 percent, while soft drinks rose 2 percent,’ Pepsi Mexico President Juan Gallardo Thurlow announced in early April.

The Beverage Marketing Corp. in New York City says Mexico’s bottled water market composes 13 percent of the world’s total, and has grown at 8 percent for each of the past five years.

Consumer advocates say Mexicans’ thirst could be quenched more easily and inexpensively if municipalities provided reliable drinking water.

‘The state has contributed to these companies taking over the market and converting drinking water into a saleable product,’ said Alejandro Calvillo, the head of Power to the Consumer, a nonprofit Mexican advocacy group.

Calvillo’s group estimates that the average Mexican family spends $140 a year on bottled water, much of it in 5-gallon plastic jugs that are commonly delivered to homes. The expense puts a heavy burden on low-income families, he added.

In impoverished neighborhoods in outlying Mexico City, scores of private water companies have popped up, offering large jugs of water for 10 pesos, or about 77 U.S. cents, a third of the price of water from the multinational companies. Such concerns face few inspections, giving consumers water of indeterminate quality.

Further, most Mexican consumers refuse to separate plastic products for recycling, and those who seek to recycle can struggle to find places that’ll accept post-consumer plastic.

‘The corporations make the consumers responsible for recycling,’ Rosas Landa said. ‘They produce the containers, but don’t take responsibility for recycling the bottles.’

A Houston-based recycling services company, Avangard Innovative Ltd., joined with a Mexican environmental services company last year to open a $35 million recycling plant in Toluca to handle PET, polyethylene terephthalate, the strong, light plastic that’s resistant to heat and impermeable to carbonation, making it perfect for beverages.

Still, Calvillo said: ‘A large part of the PET bottles that are collected are sent to China for recycling.’ The Chinese plants grind PET bottles into fibers for use in carpeting and other consumer products to sell to countries such as Mexico.”

(Quelle: McClatchy.)

Nepal: Klimawandel erschwert die Besteigung des Mount Everest’

Mittwoch, Mai 26th, 2010

“Global warming ‘makes Everest harder to climb’

Melting of glacier ice along mountain’s slopes has added to challenge facing climbers, says veteran Nepalese sherpa

A Nepalese sherpa who climbed Mount Everest for a record 20th time on Saturday said today that the melting of glacier ice along its slopes by global warming is making it increasingly difficult to climb the peak. ‘It is difficult for climbers to use their crampons on the rocky surfaces,’ said Apa, who uses only one name. The 49-year-old first climbed Everest in 1989 and has repeated the feat almost every year since. His closest rival has made 16 trips. His Eco-Everest Expedition team has also been collecting rubbish from the mountain: this year so far they have collected 4,770kg (7,630lb).”

(Quelle: Guardian.)

Der Plastik-Bumerang

Montag, April 19th, 2010

‘Plastic Soup’ Found in Atlantic Ocean –
Garbage Patch Spotted between Bermuda and Azores Similar to Floating Junk Pile in Pacific Oce

(AP)  Researchers are warning of a new blight on the ocean: a swirl of confetti-like plastic debris stretching over thousands of square miles in a remote expanse of the Atlantic Ocean.

The floating garbage – hard to spot from the surface and spun together by a vortex of currents – was documented by two groups of scientists who trawled the sea between scenic Bermuda and Portugal’s mid-Atlantic Azores islands.

The studies describe a soup of micro-particles similar to the so-called Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a phenomenon discovered a decade ago between Hawaii and California that researchers say is likely to exist in other places around the globe.

‘We found the great Atlantic garbage patch,’ said Anna Cummins, who collected plastic samples on a sailing voyage in February.

The debris is harmful for fish, sea mammals – and at the top of the food chain, potentially humans – even though much of the plastic has broken into such tiny pieces they are nearly invisible.

Since there is no realistic way of cleaning the oceans, advocates say the key is to keep more plastic out by raising awareness and, wherever possible, challenging a throwaway culture that uses non-biodegradable materials for disposable products.

Our job now is to let people know that plastic ocean pollution is a global problem – it unfortunately is not confined to a single patch,’ Cummins said.”


(Quelle: CBS News.)