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The Gap Year Blog

Frontier Environment News of the Week - 29/10/2018

29 Oct 2018 15:30 PM

Photo Credit: Flickr

Edited with permission by Frontier

Two thirds of pumpkins in UK wasted every Halloween

New research has found that around 58% of people who buy pumpkins around Halloween will only use it to hollow out and carve, whilst only a third of people bother to cook the leftover insides. 

#PumpkinRescue, an annual campaign hoping to raise awareness on the waste, has found that the consumerism involved around Halloween carving is causing a massive waste problem when the pumpkins are discarded.

Over half of consumers bin the flesh on the inside of the pumpkin; edible food which is completely safe to cook or compost. 

The study by waste charity Hubbub and commissioned by massive German food brand Knorr shows that of the 10 million pumpkins grown in the UK, 95% are used to create lanterns, and only the mere 5% rest is used for food. 8 million of this grown will be binned as soon as Halloween is over.

The festive fun is adding masses on top of the UK waste problem, growing landfills and subsequently adding to the list of problems associated with dramatic climate change issues. 

Due to the weather events of the year, including this summer’s global heatwave, farmers have been harvesting pumpkins much bigger than usual. 


Hawaiian island swallowed up by intense hurricane

After Hurricane Walaka hit around the Hawaii area earlier this month, the 11-acre East Island has been entirely submerged.  

The island which was between one to two thousand years old  and the second largest island in the French Frigate Shoals, a group of protected marine areas in the north-west of the Hawaiian Islands, was drastically affected by the category 5 hurricane.

Aerial footage shows the shocking consequences of the remote on top of a coral reef, when the heavy storm swept through the ground. Heavy rains and 125mph winds hit just towards the west of the island when the hurricane happened at the start of October It is uncertain whether the island will ever arise again.

It is thought that because of the intense climate change ongoing, the rains and winds were far more intense than previously expected, and as a result has raised concerns about the remaining life of Hawaii. 

A space known for being inhabited by a multitude of wildlife such as the Hawaiian monk seal, Green sea turtles and albatrosses, was an important space for ecosystems where many species are threatened and may have now been wiped out. 


Cuadrilla fracking forced to stop after creating several earthquakes

For the second time this operation, fracking company Cuadrilla has had to put a halt on its work due to an earthquake which surpassed the regulatory threshold of seismic activity.

There have been 17 small earthquakes due to the shale gas drilling, but one on Friday the 19th was enough to put work at a halt for 18 hours. Fracking continued the next morning, but another tremor was felt less than 24 hours later on Saturday morning.

Near Blackpool, the Cuadrilla fracking site is the only site in the UK which is currently active in drilling. The operations have faced much criticism, including protests and campaigners hoping to put a stop to the action.

Cuadrilla fracking was originally suspended in 2011 where tremours of a 2.3 magnitude lead to a concern in the welfare of the environment due to the seismic shifts. The “red” event which put operations to a stop in the new fracking work was only at a 0.8 magnitude. 

Fracking by the company was restarted in a controversial move which gave the goahead and resumed in Lancashire on the 15th October.

To be claimed a “red” tremor, the magnitude of the quake must go above 0.5 which requires the fracking to stop injecting water into the system and report monitoring of the area.

Many quakes have been felt, and it is uncertain how many more “red” events will happen with the fracking initiative. 


Uber adds extra 15p to London rides with clean air fee

Taxi rides in London will be getting 15p more expensive from 2019 with Uber’s new initiative to add a clean air tax in hope of encouraging greener vehicles in the company.

By raising prices and adding an extra fee of 15 per mile to go towards helping the cab drivers switch to eco-friendly transport like electric cars or other green campaigns. 

After losing their London licence to operate in the capital city at the start of the year, the company have put in efforts to prove the efficiency of their services to Transport for London, which has given them a probationary licence for the time being. 

The company says it plans to be fully electric by 2025 whilst hoping half of all the 45,000 drivers will be electric by 2021. Using a clean air levy, Uber hopes to raise over £200m in funds to encourage the system.


Quick fire

By Caitlin Casey - Online Journalism Intern

Frontier runs terrestrial & marine conservation, community, teaching and adventure projects in over 50 countries - join us and explore the world!