Water, waste and electricity to dominate programme

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 20 Aug 2011

With water, and electricity being the most vital ‘ingredients’ in ones life, waste still stands out as a killer source.

Johannesburg landfills are filling up rapidly

The City of Joburg (CoJ) has implemented the 2040 Growth and Development Strategy outreach programme which is taking place this week. Water, waste and electricity are the key topics expected to dominate the conversations during the programme.

Conversations around these will be held through seminars and round table discussions involving everyone from residents and businesses to the government, civil society organisations, labour and academics.

“Formal and informal debates will take place with the aim of finding solutions to safeguard our precious resources for future generations,” said Gugu Mathibela of the City of Johannesburg.

An abundance of coal has kept electricity prices very low and has attracted a number of energy intensive industries. City Power and Eskom recently experienced protests related to power cuts, prepaid meters and the increase in electricity prices. These incidents give electricity first preference at the discussions.

Johannesburg’s resource intensity is also defined by the volume of waste it generates. The city is gradually running out of landfill space. Waste dumping in communities has become a serious health concern. Continue reading

Climate change a threat to countless individuals

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 08 Aug 2011

The right to food, health and shelter is threatened due to global warming, International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said on Monday.

In drought prone areas it is women who have to fend for their families

“Climate change affects the economic and social rights of countless individuals. This includes their rights to food, health and shelter,” she said.

The minister was speaking at a consultative dialogue on Women and Climate Change in Limpopo. She said that as climate change will continue to affect humanity, it was key to safeguard the lives of the people that are adversely affected, which are women.

“As incoming president [of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change], I will strive to ensure the centrality of women in all global fora to advance the multilateral efforts to address climate change, which impacts in a very pernicious manner on women, especially in developing countries,” said Nkoana-Mashabane.

Women, she said, are the propellers and carriers of development.

“In flood prone regions, it is women who have to deal with the impact. In drought prone areas, it is women who have to fend for their families ensuring that the children are fed, and that the sick and the indigent are taken care of. Continue reading

Water and Human Health

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 12 July 2010

“Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.” Robert Frost.

This planet is mainly a mass of water and only a small portion of it is land. Despite all that only a minute share of water in the planet (2.5%) is potable. Most of the latter is locked up as ice while only one per cent is available in lakes, rivers and underground water tables for human consumption. Human body is 65-70% water. Therefore, human health and life on this planet depend on water to a very great extent. If one understands this one could easily comprehend how important it is to keep the water balance adequate to remain healthy all through one’s life.

Water makes up more than two thirds of the weight of the human body. Human brain is made up of 95% water; blood is 62% and lungs 90%. Even as little as 2% drop in body water could trigger dehydration. This is not easily made out as thirst is a rather late symptom of dehydration. Early signs include day time fatigue, fuzzy short-term memory, trouble with mathematics, difficulty in focusing on small print and the computer screen, and muscle pains.

Water is very essential for many of the body functions just as oil and petrol are needed for a car to run. Every cell function needs water. Water serves as a lubricant, it forms the base for saliva, makes up the fluids that bathe the joint capsule, controls the body temperature, regulates metabolism and helps maintain the normal healthy bowel motion. In addition, adequate water intake is essential to keep diseases at bay. Even common cold, sore throat, and ‘flu like illnesses could be prevented to a great extent with adequate hydration to keep the mucus membranes healthy to resist the onslaught of viruses. The minor illness syndromes, mentioned above, are the ones that cause the largest sick-absenteeism in the world every day causing billions of dollars loss to the industry. Continue reading

Water here since planet’s very early days

Posted by: Saving Water SA (Cape Town, South Africa) – partnered with Water Rhapsody conservation systems – 14 May 2010

Tiny variations in the isotopic composition of silver in meteorites and Earth rocks are helping scientists put together a timetable of how our planet was assembled, beginning 4.568 billion years ago.

Earth rise

Results of a new study, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and published this week in the journal Science, indicate that water and other key volatiles may have been present in at least some of Earth’s original building blocks, rather than acquired later from comets, as some scientists have suggested.

“These results have significant implications for our understanding of the processes that accompanied accretion and formation of the proto-Earth, and the means by which volatile-rich materials like water were acquired,” says Stephen Harlan, program director in NSF’s Division of Earth Sciences. “Water may have been present since very early in the history of our planet.”

Compared to the solar system as a whole, Earth is depleted in volatile elements, such as hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen, which likely never condensed on planets formed in the inner, hotter, part of the solar system.

Earth is also depleted in moderately volatile elements, such as silver.

“A big question in the formation of the Earth is when this depletion occurred,” says paper co-author Richard Carlson of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, D.C. “That’s where silver isotopes can really help.” Continue reading