Water Regulations in the UK

 

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In recent years, the United Kingdom has strengthened their water regulations. Their standards follow strict requirements with the EU Drinking Water Directive. To ensure water quality, it’s mandatory for “monitoring and analysis, public reporting of data, use of treatment chemicals and materials in contact with water, and action that must be taken if a standard is exceeded” (Drinking Water Quality, water.uk). For the UK, it was put into law for Northern Ireland in 2007, Scotland in 2014, England and Wales in 2016. Their strict regulations as of 2016 have resulted in 99.83%-99.96% drinking water quality compliance among the four.

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If water companies don’t meet regulations or endanger the public, then they will be met with consequences. Thames Water is “UK’s largest water and wastewater services company”. They are responsible for water supply for people across London and Thames Valley. Also, they are responsible for the treatment of water waste (Thames Water). In March of this year, they were fined £20,361,140.06, which is 25496219.58 in US dollars. “These offences were caused by negligence and led to the death of wildlife and distress to the public.” that had dated back to 2012. They “fail[ed] to react adequately to thousands of high priority alarms used to alert them to the serious problems. This wasn’t the first time they were fined. In 2015, they were fined £250,000 or $313050 for polluting a nature reserve. This amount wasn’t much to them, but with the most recent fine, I believe that it will cause them to make sure that they’re making the right decisions when it comes to people’s safety.

References

http://www.water.org.uk/policy/drinking-water-quality/water-quality-standards

https://corporate.thameswater.co.uk/about-us/our-business/our-supply-area

http://utilityweek.co.uk/news/court-of-appeal-upholds-250000-thames-water-pollution-fine/1137802#.WPGdx4WcG3A

 

Innovation in the Sky…

Technology is a solution to a problem. The current world’s population is 7.3 billion and according to United Nations, by the year 2050, the population is expected to increase to 9.7 billion. Their urbanization trends of 2014 say that 66% that population is expected to live in urban areas. With the growing fast rates, this will pose problems for cities; they will become more polluted, congested, and industrialized. Now, people are taking innovation to the next level with biomimicry. It’s “biologically inspired engineering, [which] is the study and imitation of nature’s best ideas to help solve human challenges” (Eco-efficiency at Airbus).

Airbus, who manufactures commercial air crafts, is based in France. It is a global company, having a worldwide presence in places like the UK, Spain, India, China, and the in U.S. They use multiple innovations inspired by nature and continue to do so. The new Airbus A350XWB was inspired by the seabird.

movable wing surface

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Seabirds have the ability to sense gust loads in the air with their beaks and react by adjusting the shape of their wing feathers to suppress lift. The nose of the new Airbus A350XWB contains probes which can detect gusts and deploy moveable wing surfaces for more efficient flight. This helps reduce fuel consumption and emissions (Eco-efficiency at Airbus).


They also use the lotus effect, which improves hygiene on the aircraft. Less water needed means the aircraft weight is reduced, and also carbon emissions. They use this in the bathrooms and looking to incorporate this innovation on the seat fabrics and carpets. Another example is the use of bionics. Butterflies and bees skeleton are lightweight and Airbus has considered mimicking this for aircrafts in the future. The aircraft would be able to adapt to its environment and most importantly, it will reduce the weight, which reduces emissions as well.  The World Economic Forum named some urban problems linked to electricity and water. Cutting out the demand of these with things inspired by biomimicry “can significantly limit the burden on financial and natural resources” (Top Ten Urban Innovations, WEF).

http://www.airbus.com/company/ecoefficiency/biodiversity/biomimicry/

http://www3.weforum.org/docs/Top_10_Emerging_Urban_Innovations_report_2010_20.10.pdf

https://esa.un.org/unpd/wup/publications/files/wup2014-highlights.Pdf

http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/news/population/2015-report.html

http://www.airbus.com/company/worldwide-presence/

Behavioral Health

 

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          There has been a direct correlation between accessibility and behavioral health. In Chicago, people experience more psychological distress if they live in low-income communities. Primarily, it’s because these communities have little to no access to resources needed to be informed and diagnosed properly.

According to Healthy Chicago 2.0 Report, “[p]eople living in high poverty neighborhoods had double the Chicago rate” of serious psychological distress…“one third of youth reported prolonged periods of sadness…25% higher among young girls” (40). The Illinois Children’s Healthcare Foundation says that “six of twelve mental health care facilities have been closed down by the state, including facilities in the heart of the city’s’ African American community on the South Side”. With poverty, residents may not have the means to travel in order to get screened. In order to reverse this trend, there are plans that could be put into place.

This can be done through preventative and proactive means. Under resourced neighborhoods usually have higher rates of diseases, so educating the public is always needed. Building green facilities not only would decrease the amount of cases, but have a positive impact on the minds in the community.  

References

https://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdph/CDPH/HC2.0Plan_3252016.pdf

http://www.ilchf.org/images/Mental_Health_Stats.pdf

 

 

Fast Food Packaging

Timeline: 1-2 years

Budget: $1 million

It is common knowledge that fast food is damaging to our health, but to find out that the packaging is also, raises more cause for concern. According to the Environmental Science & Tech. Letters Journal, one-third of fast food packaging contains PFASs, which are fluorinated substances. CNN says that this study had collaboration from scientists from five different institutions, which gathered over four hundred samples of “fast food packaging from 27 leading US chains” (Tinker). What they found was staggering. Fifty-six percent of bread wrappers, thirty-eight percent of sandwich and burger wrappers, and twenty percent of paperboard packages contained fluorine(Fluorinated Compounds in U.S. Fast Food Packaging). PFOSs and PFOAs are linked to conditions such as thyroid problems, reproductive issues involving fertility, and kidney and testicular cancer. Also, children’s immune responses could be decreased. These are longer chains of PFASs and over the years been phased out. What’s concerning is that PFASs hasn’t thoroughly tested and studied (CNN, Tinker).

I believe that one million dollars would be sustainable for a food chain to begin the  early stages of chemical free packaging. According to the USDA, US Department of Agriculture, as a whole we spend 2.5 cents on the packaging. Fast food is not in the category of healthy foods, but in order to go in that direction start to reduce chemicals that are causing the harm to our health. If fast food chains start to use packaging that doesn’t contain chemicals, they start to reduce their carbon footprint. Also, bringing awareness could set off a chain reaction where other fast food chains will fall behind.

 

 

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References

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/01/health/fast-food-packaging-chemicals-pfas-study/

http://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00435

https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/chart-gallery/gallery/chart-detail/?chartId=58354