Last week our guest columnist on Cleaning up The Mess, architect DAVID FOJO, called indoor air pollution a silent killer. This week he focuses on Electro-magnetic pollution.
Electro-magnetic pollution is becoming a significant issue of the new millennium as the information age reaches full stride. In the last few years there have been numerous exposés on US national television, documenting the many ill effects attributed to these silent and now all-too-pervasive fields. Indoor air pollution is an even better documented health problem that is generally agreed to be a much worse problem than outdoor air pollution.
Last week our guest columnist on Cleaning up The mess architect DAVID FOJO, called indoor air pollution, a silent killer and said it was rated at between 7 and 70 times worse than outdoor air pollution. This week he gives us some basic hints on how to improve the quality of our indoor environment.
It is my view that electromagnetic pollution and indoor air pollution are significant contributors to many of our modern day epidemic diseases, such as allergies, insomnia, hyperactivity and cancer. As I sit here writing this article on the dangers of electromagnetic pollution on my laptop computer, I am faced with the same dilemma we face now in the building industry—how to strike a sane and practical balance between enjoying the marvellous advancements of modem technology without compromising, or better yet, while enhancing our health. We are just now discovering that many building technologies may have a deleterious effect on our health, but until scientific research proves something absolutely one way or the other, I recommend a course of prudent avoidance.
On September 17, the Energy Chamber of T&T joined hands with the Heroes Foundation to clean-up Quinam Beach and Vessigny Beach, as part of the International Ocean Conservancy’s Beach Clean-up campaign. Hundreds of volunteers from Energy Chamber member companies, members of their families and community groups turned up on Vessigny beach, La Brea, and Quinam beach, Siparia, early on Saturday morning to pick up garbage from the beach and the coastline besides the main beaches. For the Energy Chamber, this effort was part of our wider initiatives to promote the concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) amongst our members and the business community more generally. The beach clean-up reflects not just our objective of ensuring that companies have a positive impact on the environment, but also to encourage the spirit of volunteerism amongst our membership. We were especially pleased to partner with the Heroes Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that seeks to provide guidance and mentorship for young people in T&T.
Today’s guest columnist and in the upcoming series on Cleaning up The mess is architect DAVID FOJO, who holds a master’s degree in environmental design from Yale University. Fojo claims that indoor air pollution, a silent killer, is rated as between seven times and 70 times worse than outdoor air pollution.
Besides the very high exposure levels to EMFs that we are subjected to, we are also indecently exposed to many other toxins in our indoor environment, especially in our air and water and visually. With the “advances” of modem building technology, healthy fresh air in our homes has unfortunately become a rarity. Dozens of major studies have been done on the quality of air in modern homes by fairly reliable organisations such as the World Health Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency. Depending on which study you read, indoor air pollution is rated as between seven times and 70 times worse than outdoor air pollution, which as you know is bad enough to begin with.
Various factors including unplanned urbanisation have led to more frequent dengue outbreaks recorded between 1997 and 2010 in T&T. Studies conducted in T&T at the University of the West Indies and Carec reveal the incidence of dengue has not been controlled adequately because of a lack of resources, poor management practice in the dengue and vector control programmes and resistance to insecticides in mosquitoes. There are no vaccines available for dengue so only the control of the mosquito can lead to the control of dengue transmission and spread.
The dengue viruses (Den 1-4) are transmitted by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus mosquitoes. The female mosquito acquires the virus while feeding on the blood of infected humans. Infected humans are the source of the virus for uninfected mosquitoes. The mosquito lives in close association with humans in the urban and suburban environments. Therefore, dengue is generally considered a disease of urban areas, and its epidemiology is highly related to the biology of the mosquito vector, the environment and human behaviour.
This week’s guest columnist On Cleaning Up The Mess, Minister of Housing and the Environment Dr ROODAL MOONILAL, gives us the news that Cabinet has approved the policy of greening the Priority Bus Route and tells us exactly what this means for citizens.
T&T’s greenhouse gas emissions for the period 1990 to 2006 indicate that the energy, transportation and industrial sectors account for the bulk of carbon dioxide emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector alone have increased by 278 per cent over the period 1990 to 2006. As a small island developing state, Trinidad and Tobago is particularly vulnerable to the adverse impacts of climate change. Sectors that are likely to be impacted are agriculture, human health, human settlements, coastal zones, and water resources as well as cross sectoral socio-economic systems. Statistics from the Licensing Division of the Ministry of Works and Transport indicate that there are approximately 630,000 vehicles in the country and this amount is being increased by approximately 30,000 annually.
In this guest column Housing and Environment Minister Dr ROODAL MOONILAL touches on the pressing question of how a small island state, such as ours, that is heavily dependent on the oil and gas industry balances development with the preservation of coastal areas moving forward with an Integrated Coastal Zone Management Thrust.
In his guest column this week for Cleaning Up The Mess Dr ROODAL MOONILAL, Minister of Housing and Environment reveals that Trinidad and Tobago will be hosting the second regional workshop on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) between September 20 to 23 and tells us exactly what this will mean for T&T’s environment.
The CDM workshop is expected to be attended by 40 participants including representatives from member States of Caricom, Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, members of the Latin American sub-region and the UNs Environment Programme – Risoe Centre. The basic principle of the CDM is simple, developed countries can invest in low-cost abatement opportunities in developing countries and receive credit for the resulting emissions reductions, thus reducing the cutbacks needed within their borders. While the CDM lowers the cost of compliance with the protocol for developed countries, developing countries will benefit as well, not just from the investment flows, but also from the requirement that these investments advance sustainable development goals.
China’s economy is the second largest in the world after that of the United States. During the past 30 years, China’s economy has changed from a centrally-planned system that was largely closed to international trade to a more market-oriented economy that has a rapidly growing private sector. Some of the serious negative consequences of China’s rapid industrial development has been increased pollution, smog, and degradation of natural resources. Efforts to control China’s pollution problem have become a top priority of the Chinese leadership. Beginning in 2006, the Chinese government strengthened its environmental legislation and made some progress in stemming environmental deterioration.
This week we continue our environmental series Cleaning Up The Mess with an ongoing guest column by Minister of Housing and Environment Dr ROODAL MOONILAL who reveals how the changing face of the “make work” programme by CEPEP, is helping to mitigate the effects of flooding, among other environmental challenges, and is instead becoming a tool of national development.
CEPEP has traditionally had bad press and been associated with dependency, creating “make work” jobs. However, this Government is committed to changing the face of the programme by ensuring that workers impact positively on our country while learning skills that will make them employable in the long run. Last year, our Prime Minister, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar initiated a Clean and Beautify initiative which propelled our nation towards environmental awareness. Citizens came out in their thousands to join this environmental drive. The CEPEP company joined this cause with full force.