LIFE VESTS ON LESBOS
The refugee crisis in Europe is not only wreaking havoc socially, culturally and economically, but also environmentally. The Greek island of Lesbos, where some 400,000 refugees landed last year, is strewn with life vests, which cannot be recycled on the island, while shipping them to the mainland is prohibitively expensive. Two of Lesbos’ 85,000 residents have started to collect and burn the vests and other debris, but it will take a lot more to conquer the problem. There is a plan to send the life vests to Africa for the benefit of Lake Victoria fishermen, 5,000 of whom drown in the lake annually. In the meanwhile, volunteers are teaching the refugees how to turn the vests into bags and purses.
ZIKA, named after the African forest where it was first found, is a flu-like viral disease spread by mosquitos and linked to serious birth defects, particularly microcephaly, which causes babies to be born with abnormally small heads and brain abnormalities.
The disease has become an epidemic in South America, posing an additional problem for Brazil, site of the 2016 Olympics. The Brazilian government is now developing a multi-language smartphone app by which visitors to the Olympic Games can see which areas are high-risk, check for symptoms and, if any are found, be guided to the nearest health facility for treatment.
The WHO has also developed a ZIKA app, geared more toward health workers. This WHO app is already available available for Apple devices at the iTunes store and for Android at Google Play.
Although the Brazilian ministry of Health admits that the situation is worrisome, it points out that the Games will be held during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter season, when mosquito populations are relatively low.
One case of ZIKA has now also been reported in South Korea, involving a man who was infected on a trip to Brazil.
Breaking news: the first case of ZIKA in Arizona has been reported in Maricopa County.
In inner Mongolia, temperatures have dipped below -50 degrees, twice colder than normal and thick snow makes many places inaccessible other than by horse. The cold snap comes after an exceptionally dry summer in a weather pattern known as the ‘dzudh‘. In the last dzudh, some 10 million heads of livestock were lost. Things have not gotten that bad yet, but it is not over yet and the Mongolian government is poised to declare an emergency and request international aid. Some international humanitarian organizations have already pledged assistance.
Locally, the UA’s Institute of the Environment and Office of Sustainability has added a new green guide to the ones already in existence. This one focuses with up-to-date searchable listings for green courses and on- and off-campus jobs specifically related to environment and sustainability, as well as tips for living more sustainably and creating a successful green project.
RUMBA RECYCLED ART
Tucson Clean & Beautiful will display entries in its RUMBA recycled Art contest at the SAHBA Home Show at the Tucson Convention Center from Friday, April 8, through Sunday, April 10th.
GIVE SOME GREEN
KXCI’s spring membership drive is in full swing. Please support your local community radio by putting some green toward it. You can donate on line at KXCI.org or by phone at 623-1000.