When you arrive at Kigali International Airport or any other border of Rwanda, you might get surprised when you see that your plastic bags are confiscated if you have some items packed into plastics bags. Since 2008, Rwanda has established a law regarding the prohibition of the importation and usage of polyethylene bags, and set heavy fines to anyone trying to import or use them. Plastic bags were replaced by paper bags. However, there are some situations where plastic bags are needed, such as in the health and agriculture sector, so there was a need to come up with an innovative solution to avoid environmental damage that can be caused by those plastic bags.
Industrialization has put a strain on our environment due to pollution, deforestation and loss of biodiversity. The right technologies can help us develop our economies without damaging the environment.
Nick Boerema is the Facilitator for Engineers Without Border’s Sanitation in Challenging Environments project and is based in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Nick’s role includes providing technical advice on sanitation solutions and facilitating collaborative efforts to promote knowledge dissemination, innovation and adoption of best practice for sanitation in challenging environments. Nick previously worked in Australia as a project engineer for Vast Solar, managing the development and demonstration of low-cost concentrating solar thermal technology for power generation. Cleanleap's Angela McClowry recently interviewed Nick to better understand some of the challenges in sanitation and ways in which we can 'cleanleap' over existing issues.
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD) launched the Green Bond Impact Report in June 2015, with detailed information about the environment and social results expected from projects supported by its green bonds. The report provides an update on the progress of the 100 green bonds (US$8.4 billion) that have been issued to support projects aiming for low carbon and climate-ready growth in IBRD’s member countries.
In Cameroon, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, there is a growing number of entrepreneurs who are turning rubbish into innovation by making paving tiles and building materials from plastic waste. Pierre Kamsouloum, an entrepreneur from the Northern region of Cameroon was pioneering the technology. Pierre joined forces with Living Earth, an international NGO, and has travelled across Cameroon and to Nigeria and Sierra Leone to train others.
A local entreprenuer in Tanzania has devised a solution that seeks to eliminate all the problems associated with unsafe/unclean water and sanitation. It will help locals avoid related diseases. What's more is that his solution is low-cost and requires no power compared to other water treatment technologies. It is also made from local materials, recyclable, and versatile in that it can be tailored to treat water in vartually any location/area. The nano-filter combines nano-filtration technologies with sand-based water filtration techniques. It has already been rolled out in the market and is gaining ground.
The traditional plastic bottle is associated with high carbon emissions, and that is set to change with the onset of a PET bottle made of 100% plant materials. The bottle was launched earlier this month by Coca Cola, and is set to help the company eliminate dependency on fossil fuels for production of PET bottles. Coca Cola has, through the previous PET bottle made of 30% plant material, achieved substantial cuts on global emissions and the new development to produce a 100% plant bottle is a key to sustainable packaging.
Africa is rapidly upgrading its digital television infrastructure. This isn’t just about enabling more people to watch their favorite shows – it’s a big move that will help spur economic development through an improved mobile and internet communication infrastructure. As covered previously on Cleanleap, analysis shows that improved internet connectivity in Africa could lead to a $300 billion contribution to GDP by 2025.
The Kenyan Meteorological Service with the TU Delft/Oregon State University are working on a project Trans-African Hydro-Meteorological Observatory (TAHMO) to develop a solid network of automatic weather stations in Kenya. The project intends to create a technological solution through a cost effective network of hydro-meteorological measuring stations that will map and predict water and weather in the region.
We are producing an ever increasing amount of waste, including a large amount of plastic waste that is going straight in our oceans. A recent study estimated plastic waste produced by 192 coastal countries in 2010 was around 275 million metric tons (MT), with 4.8 to 12.7 million MT of this waste entering the ocean. Can our oceans absorb all our CO2 as well as this much plastic? Recycling plays an important role, both in conserving our precious resources and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill.
At the bottom of our oceans and buried deep beneath permafrost surrounding the arctic circle is a vast store of methane – a natural gas produced by the anaerobic decomposition of millions of years of organic matter. Estimates vary but even conservative figures suggest there may be over a thousand gigatonnes of methane precariously stored as ice crystals under high pressure and low temperature.