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The Gap Year Blog

Frontier Environment News of the Week 24/09/2018

24 Sep 2018 15:50 PM

Photo Credit: Chris Packham

Edited with Permission by Frontier

Thousands parade through London for Chris Packham’s #PeoplesWalkForWildlife  

Chris Packham’s initiative the People’s Walk for Wildlife was held over the weekend, where thousands of people supported by walking through London, in aid of raising awareness of the declining British wildlife. 

Speaking to Frontier, Packham expressed his concern with the decreasing wildlife figures. He claimed the British wildlife was experiencing “a 95% decline in turtledoves, a 97% decline in hedgehogs [...] There’s nothing normal about that at all. The impact that this is having and will have is a disaster.“

In the build up to the walk, Packham released the People’s Manifesto for Wildlife last week, compiling a series of concerns of ideas from 18 ministers and experts with 200 ideas to help save the British environment. Heading towards Downing Street, Packham passed on the manifesto in hope to make a change. 

According to police, around 10,000 public members attended the drizzly day. From environmental speakers to dancing turtle doves, families, protesters and groups like the Green Party and the RSPCA joined together to march hand-in-hand through the city.

Read more about the walk in our interview with Chris Packham here.


Pixabay | SD-Pictures

Air pollution concerns increase with links to mental health and brainpower

Over the past week several reports on the concerns of air pollution were released, increasing worries over the effects on human development with concerns for dementia, children and intelligence.

It was released that air pollution could be a cause for dementia in cities where exposure to polluted atmospheres gives a 40% higher chance of developing the condition. In the research, over 130,000 patients were studied for over seven years in search for an explanation of dementia rates over the capital. 

As well as a higher risk of dementia in pollution heavy cities, children all over the UK are also at risk with toxic air in school. Where school-runs before and after school create traffic of highly concentrated air, children are inhaling the tiny black particles of carbon every day, creating serious life-term issues for their health, even from something as simple as sitting in a classroom. 

Where toxic air is creating problems for city-goers and the youth physically, it may also be having an impact on our mental health, lowering our brain intelligence. The results to this new report conducted in China are dire, where breathing in the air adds up to as much as losing a whole year of school education and harms our cognitive performance.

Where these three new reports have developed, the stories alongside the consequences of air pollution have been building up, and the matter of toxic air is now harrowing our society. 

Pixabay | Alexas_Fotos

Supermarkets put plastic in the sack with new initiatives

Market leaders such as Lidl and Co-op are changing their use of plastic bags and packaging and replacing them with compostable materials in hope to offer eco-friendly alternatives. 

From wonky veg and the 5p plastic tax, supermarkets have been under fire as influencers in attitudes of consumers. Now, new ideas have developed to support a green initiative and change the plastic war. 

Co-op is now beginning to bring out new biodegradable bags to replace the single-use plastic carrier bags often found in the shops. These new bags have been in development since 2014 and will be implemented into over 1,400 stores, being compostable and reusable for biodegradable bags for food waste. 

German leader Lidl has also made an improvement by promising to rid of the non-recyclable black plastic in the UK, saving an estimate of 50 tonnes of waste. Often seen in fresh produce packaging, black plastic packaging in the UK cannot be detected by recycling systems and will be replaced with more eco-friendly plastics.


The Guardian | David Hecker/EPA

First hydrogen powered train launched in Germany

Forget hydrogen powered cars, Germany have now created hydrogen powered trains which will operate over 62 miles in the north of the country. 

As an alternative to the polluting diesel trains often used in the country, French train maker Alstom have moved to hydrogen, implementing this scheme over the German landscape. 

The bright blue trains, known as Coradia iLint began their travels last Monday, and will be in use throughout Bremerhaven, Cuxhaven, Bremervoerde and other Northern German cities. 

Hydrogen-powered trains in these states are in hope to lower the pollution from the fuels normally used on the transport by using electricity instead. Using hydrogen will create zero-emissions and Alstom hopes to increase the demand by producing 14 more trains by 2021 to the Lower Saxony state.

Quick Fire News

By Caitlin Casey - Online Journalism Intern

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