Report urges Kenya to ban plastic bags

Wednesday, March 9, 2005 

They are cheap, useful, and very plentiful, and that is exactly the problem, according to researchers. A report issued on Feb. 23 by a cadre of environment and economics researchers suggested that Kenya should ban the common plastic bag that one gets at the checkout counter of grocery stores, and place a levy on other plastic bags, all to combat the country’s environmental problems stemming from the bags’ popularity.

The new report was a result of work by Kenyan government, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Kenya Institute for Public Policy Research and Analysis. It evaluated the state of waste management in the country with particular attention to plastic bag pollution, and recommended that bags less than 30 microns in thickness be banned, a levy be placed on suppliers of thicker bags, and a number of programs be developed to encourage people in the country to not litter, but to recycle and use alternative or reusable bags for their shopping needs instead.

On one hand, the bags are often better than the alternatives, and are getting better. The Society of the Plastics Industry (SPI) in the United States quotes the University of Arizona Garbage Project’s report that plastics are getting more compact and take up less space in landfills. Plastic bags compare favorably with paper bags which require more energy to produce, generate more waste and burn less cleanly, according to the SPI.

But on the other hand, the bags have gotten so thin as to be barely reusable and recyclable: grocers will frequently double-bag heavy produce, and the bag weighs so little that a great number of bags have to be collected to create an effectively recycled mass of plastic. The light-weight bags are easily picked up by wind, and end up escaping open trash bins and refuse heaps. By littering the landscape, plastic bags become a choking hazard for cattle; in the sea they hurt marine mammals. In Bangladesh, plastic bags were banned after they were blamed for blocking storm drains and causing flooding. Even if they do enter the landfill successfully, the bags take up to 1000 years to bio-degrade.

Plastic bags in Kenya are an especially acute problem. According to the report, waste management in the country isn’t very effective, due partially to a lack of municipal trash pickup in squatter settlements and satellite towns outside the cities’ boundaries. Less than 25% of the solid waste generated daily gets processed by a combination of public and private efforts.

Sometimes plastic bag litter can have even further consequences. According to 2004 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Kenyan Professor Wangari Mathaai, discarded bags fill up with rainwater and become perfect breeding grounds for malaria-bearing mosquitoes. Malaria is Africa’s most deadly infectious disease in children, and over 50% of all hospital visits in some areas are malaria-related. Social costs of plastic litter add up as well: countries lacking comprehensive waste management often sprout underground economies of ragpickers — typically children who wander refuse heaps and collect potentially recyclable materials for sale to shady businessmen operating from official dump sites. The ragpickers in developing countries struggle with plastic bags, preferring thicker materials that require fewer items to be picked up for the same weight.

The problem with bags is that they are victims of their own success: they are so very cheap to manufacture that, at a cost of US$0.01 per bag, retailers often absorb the price of bags into the price of merchandise they sell. This makes the bag appear free to the consumers, who in turn do not value it, and toss the bag away with little reuse. In a vicious circle, the low cost of the bags drives down the amount of material used to manufacture them, creating bags that are flimsy and not easy to reuse.

The report places an emphasis on learning from the successes and failures of other countries’ approaches to regulating the plastics industry. Several European countries introduced legislation that deals with plastic bags. In Ireland, a surcharge on plastic bags decreased their use by 90%. A similar move in Denmark saw the bag use drop by 66%. Australia and New Zealand have also considered or implemented some plastics regulation legislation. South Africa’s plastic bag problem reached a climax in 2003 — plastic bags littered the street to such an extent that they earned the nickname “national flower”. The country introduced regulations similar to those proposed in Kenya, and within less than a year a reduction in plastic litter was already apparent, according to the report.

The report also recognizes that policies require tradeoffs, and incorporates this into their recommendations. For example, the suggested policy of banning thin bags in favor of thicker ones seems counterintuitive: after all, the thicker ones contain more material that is the cause of the pollution. Furthermore, a ban on thin bags will decimate the industry producing those bags, likely resulting in job losses for Kenyans, as was the case in South Africa when that country introduced similar legislation. However the report notes that this will be offset by increases in production of alternative bags, or in the recycling industry.

The manufacture of plastic bags is a sizable industry. In the United States alone the film, sheet, and bag portion of the plastics industry produces more than $26 billion in sales in one year. The sheer number of plastic bags used are staggering, too: in Hong Kong more than a quarter of a billion bags get used every year, in San Francisco over 50 million, and almost 300 million in Kenya. The SPI — the parent organization of the Film and Bag Federation — claims that more than 80% of consumers reuse plastic bags as trash can liners or for similar purposes, but that’s misleading even when restricted to the United States, as the number of bags used is still very high on a per-capita basis. According to the Worldwatch Institute, an independent environmental organization, Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year, with only 0.6% of the bags being recycled.

The bag manufacturer association in the United States — the Film and Bag Federation — appears aware of environmental issues surrounding their products. The Federation’s web site explores some environmental concerns, mainly recycling and reuse. But the issue of plastic bag overuse or excessive littering in developing countries is not addressed directly on their site.

Donna Dempsey, the Executive Director of the Film and Bag Federation, said in an email to a Wikinews reporter that “there are better ways in Kenya and other places to reduce the amount of bags used, such as re-educating the grocery bag checker not to double bag products and on the amount of groceries one bag is made to carry”. She said that members of the association — companies in the United States and Canada — are investing millions of dollars into “bag to bag” recycling programs, which use material from recycled plastic bags to create new plastic bags, as well as programs that buy back recycled bags and turn them into plastic decking.

The government of Kenya has signaled that they support solutions to problems caused by plastic waste. At the opening speech of the UNEP Governing Council/Ministerial Environment Forum on Feb. 21, 2005, Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki said: “In our major cities, plastic bags are used in large quantities at the household level. However, these bags are not disposed of in ways that ensure a clean environment. My country welcomes initiatives to address this problem.”

Prof. Wangari Maathai, who is the country’s deputy environment minister, supports the effort from her official position. She promotes the 4-Rs — Reduce, Recycle, Re-use, Repair — and encourages the use of locally-made cotton or sisal bags. Yet as the authors of the report write policy action must be fairly swift to be effective, so should the government commit to the report authors’ recommendations it will have to quickly match political action with their words of support.

Plastic bag pollution has been a contentious issue with the people of Kenya for a number of years. Six years ago, the Wildlife Clubs of Kenya organized a campaign march to urge the government to regulate the bag producers. But not everyone is optimistic about the plans to regulate plastic bags. Dave Jones from Nairobi believes that the way to control pollution is to have clear policies on land ownership: “No single land owner would allow his property to be polluted by others” he writes in a letter to Kenya’s daily newspaper, the Daily Nation. In South Africa after the bag regulations were implemented negative reactions included concerns that the poor already re-used the flimsy bags as source materials in producing home-made items such as hats or purses — occupations made impossible by the ban.


Athletes prepare for 2012 Summer Paralympics at the Paralympic Fitness Centre

Monday, August 27, 2012 

London, England — As Paralympians ready for the Games which are set to open later this week, they have access to a world class fitness center inside the Paralympic Village which is designed to maximise their pre-Game preparations.

According to volunteers staffing the center, instead of being a single large room, as in Beijing, the building has numerous rooms. It, along with the adjacent Village Services Centre, is designed to be converted into a school after the games conclude. Rooms have been structured as a gym, an auditorium, and science laboratories.

Gym equipment is supplied by Technogym, an Italian firm that has supplied gym equipment for the Olympics since 2000. Equipment has been provided not just for for the Fitness Centre, but for gyms at all the Olympic venues. The newest equipment is oriented toward maximum flexibility, allowing athletes to exercise the particular muscles that they most require for their sport.

In addition to the equipment, the Fitness Centre also provides instructors trained in the use of the equipment, the likes of which athletes from many countries have never seen before. There are also a number of instructors available to provide motivational training.


UK Government announce same-sex weddings to start from March 29

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 

The British government announced today that marriages in England and Wales between members of the same-sex will be conducted from March 29 of next year. The change follows the passage of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act earlier this year.

The equalities minister Maria Miller said: “Marriage is one of our most important institutions, and from 29 March 2014 it will be open to everyone, irrespective of whether they fall in love with someone of the same sex or opposite sex. This is just another step in the evolution of marriage and I know that many couples up and down the country will be hugely excited that they can now plan for their big day and demonstrate their love and commitment to each other by getting married.”

The government have not given details of how couples already in a civil partnership will be able to convert to a marriage. The government are also working on arrangements for those who wish to change their legally recognised gender while married. Miller said arrangements on both of these issues would be in place by the end of 2014.

Ben Summerskill from the gay rights group Stonewall said: “This historic step will mean that, for the first time, every gay person in England and Wales will finally enjoy exactly the same rights as their heterosexual friends and family.”

The deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, said on Twitter that it was “great news”.


Windshield Replacement Why It Is Important

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By Todd Nash

When you notice a crack on your windshield, it is prudent to take it to the nearest auto dealer immediately. Instead of waiting for the crack to get bigger, you should get windshield replacement Bedford, Tx or repairs done on time. Your dealer will be helpful in spotting the crack and fixing it on time. Windshield replacement is an expensive task, but is not a reason to hold back from getting it done. Your safety should be of utmost important. Here is some information on windshield replacement and why it is important.

When is it necessary to get the windshield replaced?

You can opt for repair or replacement based on the intensity of the damage and the location of it. While certain damages can be taken care of with just repairs, some bigger cracks need you to get the auto glass replaced. Here are some circumstances under which windshield replacement Bedford, Tx becomes necessary.

1. If there is large fracture on the auto glass, you cannot repair it. Big cracks are harmful to the integrity of the glass structure. In case of a collision, the auto glass will shatter due to the crack and can lead to harmful effects.

2. If a crack, small or big is blocking the driver’s view of the road, it is time to get the windshield replaced. This kind of crack, when not taken care of, can lead to dangerous collisions. A slight oversight due to the crack can be the reason of an accident.

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3. If there are multiple cracks on the windshield, you cannot go for repair. These cracks can spider around and form a bigger crack. This is not good for the integrity of the glass.

4. If stress cracks appear on your windshield, it is a signal for replacement. These cracks are caused due to wear and tear and indicate a weak glass. So get an OEM replacement under such circumstances.

5. If there are previous cracks that were not repaired, it is high time that you got the auto glass replaced. Dirt and debris accumulation on these cracks worsen the damage. They weaken the glass and this is not good for your safety.

Where should I get the replacement done?

There are many professionals from whom you can get the windshield replaced. You should select one based on your requirements. Here are a few of the options.

1. Auto dealer- The local auto dealer can be helpful when it comes to OEM replacements. You can get an Original Equipment Manufacturer seal on the glass and boost the resale value of the car. It is also possible to get a non- original equipment manufacturer replacement from auto dealers.

2. Mobile auto glass replacement- Some auto dealers sub-contract to mobile auto glass replacement services. They can come on-site and carry out the replacement efficiently. It is a smart idea to get their services if your auto glass has extreme damages on it.

Once you understand when windshield replacement Bedford, Tx is necessary, you can avoid many dangerous consequences of leaving big damages unattended to. Also, do not forget to get auto glass insurance with comprehensive coverage. Remember, if the damages are small and repairable, you don’t have to necessarily go for replacement. A simple repair can fix them.

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Stores drop game “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas” after given ‘Adults Only’ rating

Thursday, July 21, 2005 

The Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) changed its content rating of the controversial Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game from “Mature” to “Adults Only” on Wednesday. The ESRB change came after a investigation proved that sexual content in the game could be unlocked by anyone with the Windows version or with a modified console.

Graphic sex scenes in the game can be revealed if a user downloads a patch from the internet of the “Hot Coffee modification” or enters codes into a 3rd party modifier such as the game shark. This opens up a locked mini-game that depicts characters as having sex. The secret code as well as the patch is widely available on the Internet such as gamer sites, MoFunZone.com and Gamespot.

In response to this, Rockstar Games and its parent company Take-Two Interactive stopped making the version of the game with the sexual content and plan to release a “Mature”-rated title in the fall with the “Hot Coffee” content removed.

Game maker Take-Two says the ‘game mod’ is third-party software that violates the end-user license agreement of the company’s intellectual property rights. Citing what the company calls standard industry practice to create content that never makes it into the final version of a game, the sex scenes included in the software, “were never intended to be found.”

After the rating change, stores such as Wal-Mart and Target pulled the game off their shelves under their policies not to sell “Adults Only”-rated games.

This controversy has lead to major debate between execs and politicians whether the video game industry should continue to judge itself or not. Many of the watchdog groups were unaware that content like this is usually “locked away” instead of being deleted.


Herballife Things You Should Know About Herballife Herballife Mlm Tools

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Herballife – Things You Should Know About Herballife – Herballife MLM Tools

by

Hans Schoff

Herbalife – sometimes misspelled as Herballife – is “a global nutrition company that has helped people pursue a healthy, active life since 1980.” Their products are sold by appoximately 2.1 million distributors worldwide.

Though you now can see the company’s name branded on the front side of David Beckham’s LA Galaxy soccer kit, company founder Mark Hughes started selling the original program orginally from the trunk of his car.

Their product offerings now are protein shakes and snacks, vitamins and dietary supplements, energy and fitness drinks, skin and hair care products, which they say will help you live an active and healthy life when combined with exercise and a healthy diet.

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More importantly though – if you’re looking to earn a part-time income or pursue their business opportunity full-time as an Herballife (Herbalife) Independent Distributor – is what the company is able to do for you.

Herballife, just like every other company in the home business or MLM industry, makes money moving products. Rather than a storefront or retail locations, they choose to pay instead independent reps to market their products for them. This is a great model for the company as they only have to pay out when sales are made and can be good for the distributor if they’re efficient and smart at making sales.

This is where most people in Herballife or any other MLM or network marketing business struggle. They have the opportunity to make money but don’t have a system setup to achieve the kind of results they desire. This business – like any business – needs to have the correct MLM tools and systems in order to be successful, unless you don’t really care about making money…

Here’s what I mean: to make good money in Herballife or any other MLM business, you want to create a large, active MLM organization. This is exactly how the Top Earners make big money in Herballife. The larger your team and the more distributors in your group actively bringing in other team members which naturally creates sales volume, the larger and more frequently they’ll send you checks.

So to create a thriving Herballife team, you need a MLM advertising system with the right MLM tools so that you can produce enough leads on a consistent habitual basis to be able to have enough high-quality people to interview to join your team. The last thing you want to have to do is go around begging people to grow your team – you will never get to the top doing that, in spite of whatever you are selling!

Also, you need to be able to not only promote your Herballife business to generate leads, you need to be able to, you must get them educated and trained on this process, present the business opportunity to them, and train them how to be successful and duplicate you… And since time is your most important asset, you want to automate 95% of this process to leverage your time and create startling results like the Top Earners do. Treat your business like a million dollar business and use the MLM tools that will help you create those results.

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