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Can the World Afford Cheap Water? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network

Can the World Afford Cheap Water? | Observations, Scientific American Blog Network | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
More people in India have access to cellphones than to basic sanitation. Meanwhile, more than 7,000 villages in the northwestern part of the country suffer drinking ...

That means extending clean water to the poorest people who still lack it will become an even bigger challenge in future. Columbia’s Modi suggested that an investment of as little as $300 per family could extend water systems to many if not all of those without today. “I think it’s within reach of the governments of the world,” he argued. “If you make that investment, then even the poorest are willing to pay for maintaining that system.

But keeping that water clean may prove the hardest challenge of all. “More people in sub-Saharan Africa have cellphones than have electricity,” Modi added. “Electricity is the next challenge but, even harder than electricity is water, and even harder than water appears to be sanitation.”

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Overfishing causing global catches to fall 3x faster than estimated ("lack of respect for oceans")

Overfishing causing global catches to fall 3x faster than estimated ("lack of respect for oceans") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Landmark new study that includes small-scale, subsistence and illegal fishing shows a strong decline in catches as more fisheries are exhausted

Global fish catches are falling three times faster than official UN figures suggest, according to a landmark new study, with overfishing to blame.

Seafood is the critical source of protein for more than 2.5 billion people, but over-exploitation is cutting the catch by more than 1m tonnes a year.

The official catch data, provided by nations to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), rarely includes small-scale, sport or illegal fishing and does not count fish discarded at sea. To provide a better estimate, more than 400 researchers around the world spent a decade finding other data to fill in the gaps.

The results, published in the journal Nature Communications, show the annual catches between 1950 and 2010 were much bigger than thought, but that the decline after the peak year of 1996 was much faster than official figures.

The FAO data indicated a catch of 86m tonnes in 1996, then a decline of 0.4m tonnes per year. In contrast, the new research estimates the peak catch was 130m tonnes, but declined at 1.2m tonnes per year afterwards.

“Our results differ very strongly from those of the FAO,” said Prof Daniel Pauly, at the University of British Columbia in Canada and who led the work. “Our results indicate that the decline is very strong and is not due to countries fishing less. It is due to countries having fished too much and having exhausted one fishery after another.”

Bert Guevara's insight:

Our oceans are not unlimited sources of fish. If we don't respect sea-life, it may be gone sooner than we think.


"Global fish catches rose from the 1950s to 1996 as fishing fleets expanded and discovered new fish stocks to exploit. But after 1996, few undiscovered fisheries were left and catches started to decline. “It was never really sustainable,” said Pauly. The decline since 1996 has largely been in fish caught by industrial fleets and to a lesser extent a cut in the number of unwanted fish discarded at sea."

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Study: Deep Ocean Waters Trapping Vast Store of Heat ("the missing heat was undersea - no hiatus!")

Study: Deep Ocean Waters Trapping Vast Store of Heat ("the missing heat was undersea - no hiatus!") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
New measurements reveal that climate change is heating up even the deep parts of the oceans.

More than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas pollution since the 1970s has wound up in the oceans, and research published Monday revealed that a little more than a third of that seafaring heat has worked its way down to depths greater than 2,300 feet (700 meters).

Plunged to ocean depths by winds and currents, that trapped heat has eluded surface temperature measurements, fueling claims of a “hiatus” or “pause” in global warming from 1998 to 2013. But by expanding cool water, the deep-sea heat’s impacts have been indirectly visible in coastal regions by pushing up sea levels, contributing to worsening high-tide flooding.

“The heat’s going in at the surface, so it’s getting down pretty deep,” said Glen Gawarkiewicz, a Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution scientist who was not involved with the study. “With 35 percent of the heat uptake going below 700 meters, it really points out the importance of continued deep ocean sampling. It was a surprise to me that it was that large of a fraction.”

The researchers concluded that half of overall ocean warming has occurred since 1997 — a date that they noted in their paper was “nearly coincident with the beginning of the observed surface warming hiatus.”
Bert Guevara's insight:

The decade long suspicion is now confirmed. The lost heat is way down under the ocean.

 

"More than 90 percent of the heat trapped by greenhouse gas pollution since the 1970s has wound up in the oceans, and research published Monday revealed that a little more than a third of that seafaring heat has worked its way down to depths greater than 2,300 feet (700 meters).

"Plunged to ocean depths by winds and currents, that trapped heat has eluded surface temperature measurements, fueling claims of a “hiatus” or “pause” in global warming from 1998 to 2013. But by expanding cool water, the deep-sea heat’s impacts have been indirectly visible in coastal regions by pushing up sea levels, contributing to worsening high-tide flooding."

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The Flint water crisis explained ("polluted water became drinking water when gov't saved money")

The Flint water crisis explained ("polluted water became drinking water when gov't saved money") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
For almost two years, there has been a water crisis in Flint, Mich. The problem has been gaining more and more attention over the past few months, and on Jan. 16, President Obama declared a state of emergency for the city.

Many people in this Rust Belt city have been consuming tap water contaminated with lead, which is a powerful neurotoxin. Lead poisoning can produce lifelong health effects, and developing children who are exposed to lead even at low levels are at risk of brain damage, behavioral problems and learning disabilities.

The issue stems from a money-saving measure for the impoverished city, where 41 percent of the 100,000 residents live at or below the poverty line. A state-appointed emergency manager was put in place in 2011 to help save money, and one solution was to find a cheaper water source. Flint had been purchasing Lake Huron water through Detroit. Plans were made to join a new regional water system that would supply tap water from Lake Huron at a better price, however, that project wouldn’t be completed until 2016. So, in April 2014, the city was switched to the local Flint River as a temporary water source until the regional water system was finished.

There were complaints right away: The water smelled, tasted and looked funny. Soon, some Flint residents developed rashes, hair loss and other health ailments. Officials consistently assured residents that the water was safe to drink.

Local and state officials acknowledged the crisis in October 2015, and Flint returned to using water from Detroit. The Michigan National Guard arrived to help distribute bottled water, filters and testing kits, but the damage had already been done to the people and the pipes.

Bert Guevara's insight:

This is what happens when the water pollution that man causes goes back to him, through his drinking water!


"There were complaints right away: The water smelled, tasted and looked funny. Soon, some Flint residents developed rashes, hair loss and other health ailments. Officials consistently assured residents that the water was safe to drink.

"The Flint River water is extremely corrosive, and the older water service lines in Flint contain lead. As a result, the caustic water leached lead off of the pipes and into Flint households. According to federal regulations, the water should have been properly treated with an anticorrosion agent, but it wasn’t."

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India: 'World’s wettest place' suffers water shortage ("natural resources can't be taken for granted")

India: 'World’s wettest place' suffers water shortage ("natural resources can't be taken for granted") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Climate change, population increase set off water shortages in what was once the wettest place on earth.

For those recently debating climate change at the global summit in Paris, the coinciding deluge in India's southern city of Chennai seemed a powerful illustration that the gathering urgently needed to succeed in its aims.

While flooding hit the south, an increasing lack of water in Cherrapunji, a northeastern town which was once the world’s wettest place, is causing growing concern among residents.

Both Indian examples point to the vicissitudes of climate change on our planet in a country where a rising population always creates huge pressures on the environment.

In 1861, Cherrapunji, known to locals as Sohra, created a world record with 22,987mm of rainfall in a year.

More than 150 years later, and experiencing an average annual rainfall of 11,430mm, it is still the second wettest place in the world.

Mawsynram, a village just six kilometres away and boasting an average annual rainfall of 11,887km, is now considered the dampest place on the globe.

However, the current rainfall in Cherrapunji, located in Meghalaya state, is just one third of what it was in the 1970s.

The reasons for the dramatic decline in rainfall are disputed. 

Residents blame events beyond their control for the problems they face - the place is hotter, drier and shorter of water than even before. 

"We never had very large forests around Cherrapunji. Those that were there were sacred to us and we did not cut a branch," says Millergrace Symlieh, a senior member of the Sohra Science Society.

"We are affected by what's happening all over the world," he told Al Jazeera.

"This hot weather and less rain here is not due to huge deforestation or massive industrialisation. We only have a cement plant near here."



Bert Guevara's insight:

If this kind of dryness can occur in such a wet place in India, where people expected water to come naturally, then we in the Philippines should learn from their experience. 

There are projections that Visayas and Mindanao will start to experience drier weather in the coming decades. Water management should begin now.


"The place still gets much rain, but with very few trees still standing, all the water just washes away downhill," says Borah.

"There is no culture of rain harvesting here, as residents never felt it was necessary.

"So Cherrapunji suffers acute water scarcity when the rainfall starts to drop sharply from November until March." 

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How satellite technology is helping to fight illegal fishing ("the phil. needs this technology")

How satellite technology is helping to fight illegal fishing ("the phil. needs this technology") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
A new initiative is arming coastguards with satellite intelligence that allows them to target their search for pirate fishing vessels in remote marine areas

Pirate fishing vessels plundering fish from the world’s marine reserves, such asthe one around Ascension Island announced on the weekend, can now be watched, tracked and brought to justice using satellite technology.

Despite a proliferation of huge, publicly lauded marine reserves, actually stopping fishing in many remote areas has previously been almost impossible.

Fishing vessels are required to carry a transponder that tracks their movements and allows authorities to monitor their behaviour. But illegal fishers simply switch off the machine, disappearing from the system.

A UK-funded initiative, developed by Satellite Applications Catapult (SAC) and the Pew Charitable Trusts, uses satellite radars to track these “dark targets”. Now, instead of blindly patrolling vast areas of ocean, coastguard vessels use the satellite intelligence to target their search.

“We don’t put a cop on every corner 24 hours a day. So let’s at least know what the situation out on the water is [before sending boats to investigate],” said Bradley Soule, senior fisheries analyst for SAC. Satellite radar has traditionally been used by the military and law enforcement agencies. But the cost has dropped dramatically, opening up the data for private companies to use.

“It is definitely a big deal,” he said. “[The global satellite tracking] gives you a sense of the scope ... It is a wide-ranging problem.” Roughly one in every five fish landed around the world is caught illegally.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The task of marine conservation to revive our depleted marine resources needs an effective monitoring system. This satellite technology will come in handy as soon as it is available.


“The reality is that if you want to have places in the ocean where you’ve got the really impressive wildlife spectacles, where you’ve got intact ecosystems, where you’ve got the big old individuals that we know are more resilient and have better quality of eggs to reseed areas [then you need no-take areas]. When you have a fishery, you lose them,” he said.

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Why are Southeast Asia’s mangroves being destroyed? Hint: it may be your diet ("unsustainable practice")

Why are Southeast Asia’s mangroves being destroyed? Hint: it may be your diet ("unsustainable practice") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
A new study finds that 2 percent of Southeast Asia's mangroves were lost during the past decade, owing primarily to aquaculture, rice, and palm oil.

Mangrove forests ring the coasts of many tropical and subtropical areas around the word. They act as the interface between land and sea, providing vital habitat to many creatures and important ecosystem services to human communities. They are also sequester some of the highest densities of carbon in the world.
However, mangroves are under threat from both sides as sea levels rise and people move in. A new study published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) looked into the impacts of land use changes on Southeast Asian mangroves. It finds that 2 percent of the region’s mangroves were lost during the past decade, owing primarily to aquaculture, rice, and palm oil.
Mangroves are important for a plethora of reasons. They act as fish nurseries, providing for marine food chains that in turn supply income and sustenance for human communities. Mangroves stabilize coasts, reducing erosion and the damaging effects of hurricanes and tsunamis. And research indicates they store four times as much carbon as other tropical forests. In total, scientists peg the monetary worth of the world’s

mangroves at $194,000 per hectare every year.

To better understand how quickly Southeast Asia’s mangroves are disappearing and what is driving it, researchers at universities in Singapore and the UK analyzed satellite-gathered data and identified land use changes in the region. They found that more than 100,000 hectares of mangrove forest were lost between 2000 and 2012, amounting 2 percent of Southeast Asia’s mangrove cover. Spread out over the study period, this equates to a loss of around 0.18 percent per year, which is less than previous estimates. The authors say this is due largely to today’s higher-resolution satellite imagery.

The biggest mangrove deforestation “hotspots” were in Myanmar, Sumatra, Indonesian Borneo, and Malaysia. Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines showed comparatively lower rates of loss.

Bert Guevara's insight:

While trying to feed the world, mangroves are being destroyed. The Philippines is not among the top culprits, but is still in the negative.


"The biggest drivers of mangrove deforestation turned out to be aquaculture, rice, and palm oil production. Of these, aquaculture – the farming of fish and other aquatic commodities – won out, amounting to 30 percent of the region’s mangrove displacement. In Indonesia, nearly 50 percent of mangrove clearing was driven by aquaculture. The authors also highlight high levels of rice production in Myanmar, which drove around 88 percent of the country’s mangrove deforestation."

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Study Shows Climate Change Rapidly Warming World’s Lakes (0.34 deg-C temp rise every decade!")

Study Shows Climate Change Rapidly Warming World’s Lakes (0.34 deg-C temp rise every decade!") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Climate change is rapidly warming lakes around the world, threatening freshwater supplies and ecosystems, according to a new NASA and National Science Foundation-funded study of more than half of the world’s freshwater supply.

Using more than 25 years of satellite temperature data and ground measurements of 235 lakes on six continents, this study -- the largest of its kind -- found lakes are warming an average of 0.61 degrees Fahrenheit (0.34 degrees Celsius) each decade. The scientists say this is greater than the warming rate of either the ocean or the atmosphere, and it can have profound effects.

As warming rates increase over the next century, algal blooms, which can rob water of oxygen, are projected to increase 20 percent in lakes. Algal blooms that are toxic to fish and animals are expected to increase by 5 percent. Emissions of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide on 100-year time scales, will increase 4 percent over the next decade, if these rates continue.

“These results suggest that large changes in our lakes are not only unavoidable, but are probably already happening,” said lead author Catherine O'Reilly, associate professor of geology at Illinois State University, Normal. Earlier research by O’Reilly has seen declining productivity in lakes with rising temperatures.

“Combining the ground and satellite measurements provides the most comprehensive view of how lake temperatures are changing around the world,” he said.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Since inland water bodies are smaller, they tend to warm faster than oceans. To date, research shows that lake temperatures have warmed 0.34 deg-C each decade! 


"Previous work by Hook, using satellite data, indicated many lake temperatures were warming faster than air temperature and that the greatest warming was observed at high latitudes, as seen in other climate warming studies. This new research confirmed those observations, with average warming rates of 1.3 degrees Fahrenheit (0.72 degrees Celsius) per decade at high latitudes.

"Warm-water tropical lakes may be seeing less dramatic temperature increases, but increased warming of these lakes still can have significant negative impacts on fish. ..."

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Water ("check out the urgent issues confronting our most prized resource")

Water ("check out the urgent issues confronting our most prized resource") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Growing cities and increased demands for food and energy are putting unprecedented pressure on our lakes, rivers and aquifers. We...

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

For those who are seriously monitoring the state of our water resources, here are well written reports for reference.

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6 Lessons for Effective Science-based Ocean Conservation ("thoughtful, targeted, and inclusive")

6 Lessons for Effective Science-based Ocean Conservation ("thoughtful, targeted, and inclusive") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Ocean conservation is hard. You fight the challenges of “out of sight, out of mind,” of largely unregulated high seas, and of waters so vast people find it hard to believe humans could actually ove…

The ocean is indeed in deep deep trouble due to overfishing, climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction, and good science is needed to turn that around. This science doesn’t need to be fancy, expensive, or complicated. Rather, it needs to be thoughtful, targeted, and inclusive.

Here are six lessons I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) during my first decade of studying and working in ocean science and conservation that I wish I’d known from the very beginning.

 

1. It’s not about what *you* want

 

2. Don’t forget about the social sciences

 

3. “It’s the economy, stupid”

 

4. Keep it simple

 

5. It’s not just about protected areas

 

6. Tell people about the science

Bert Guevara's insight:

The ocean is indeed in deep deep trouble due to overfishing, climate change, pollution, and habitat destruction, and good science is needed to turn that around. This science doesn’t need to be fancy, expensive, or complicated. Rather, it needs to be thoughtful, targeted, and inclusive. 6 lessons:

1. It’s not about what *you* want

2. Don’t forget about the social sciences

3. “It’s the economy, stupid”

4. Keep it simple

5. It’s not just about protected areas

6. Tell people about the science

 

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Marine Animals Facing Food Chain Collapse: How Climate Change Affects Oceans : SCIENCE : Tech Times

Marine Animals Facing Food Chain Collapse: How Climate Change Affects Oceans : SCIENCE : Tech Times | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The warming of the Earth's climate is expected to cause the acidification of oceans, with far-reaching repercussions on fish and other marine life that fisheries industries highly depend on. A new study from the University of Adelaide in Australia explores the potential effects of climate change on oceans.

The adverse effects of the continued warming of the Earth's climate may no longer be limited to just terrestrial species. A new study conducted by the University of Adelaide in Australia has found that carbon emissions are placing a deadly stranglehold on fisheries and ocean ecosystems as well.

A team of marine experts from Adelaide, led by Professor Sean Connell and Associate Professor Ivan Nagelkerken, carried out the first international analysis of marine responses to increasing CO2 emissions from human populations.

They discovered that the projected acidification of the oceans and the warming of the climate could potentially lead to a significant reduction in the diversity and populations of marine species, which are vital to the balance of ecosystems in different parts of the world.

Nagelkerken said that the "simplification" of the world's oceans will likely produce severe repercussions on people's current way of life, especially for those living in coastal areas and populations that depend on the food and trade that the oceans provide.

"Until now, there has been almost total reliance on qualitative reviews and perspectives of potential global change."

Connell added that their study combines data collected from different experiments in order to identify the impact of multiple stressors on communities as a whole, such as interactions between species and various response measures to the changing climate.

The marine experts discovered that the acclimation of aquatic life to warmer temperatures and ocean acidification could possibly occur in a limited scope.

Only a small number of marine species will be able to avoid the adverse effects of increasing levels of CO2, which would result in a large-scale reduction in the diversity and abundance of species all over the world.

The researchers believe the only marine creatures that will not be affected by this event are microorganisms, which experts believe will grow in diversity and population.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Why should you care about ocean acidification? Most of our favorite seafoods may be gone sooner than we think.

 

"The results of the study suggest that, in the event of warming water temperatures or an increase in acidification or even both, habitat-forming species such as mussels, oysters and corals would be the ones most affected.

"It is believed that even the slightest changes in the health of marine habitats would already cause a far-reaching impact on a multitude of species living in reefs."

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Scientists say a dramatic worldwide coral bleaching event is now underway - The Washington Post

Scientists say a dramatic worldwide coral bleaching event is now underway - The Washington Post | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The total loss could amount to 5 percent of the world’s corals in 2015 alone.

For just the third time on record, scientists say they are now watching the unfolding of a massive worldwide coral bleaching event, spanning the globe from Hawaii to the Indian Ocean. And they fear that thanks to warm sea temperatures, the ultimate result could be the loss of more than 12,000 square kilometers, or over 4,500 square miles, of coral this year — with particularly strong impacts in Hawaii and other U.S. tropical regions, and potentially continuing into 2016.

The event is being brought on by a combination of global warming, a very strong El Nino event, and the so-called warm “blob” in the Pacific Ocean, say the researchers, part of a consortium including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as XL Catlin Seaview Survey, The University of Queensland in Australia, and Reef Check.

“This is only the third time we’ve seen what we would refer to as a global bleaching event, an event that causes mass bleaching in the Indian Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Atlantic-Caribbean basin,” said Mark Eakin, who heads NOAA’s Coral Reef Watch. The prior events, Eakin continues, “were in 1998 and 2010, and those were pretty much one year events. We’re looking at a similar spatial scale of bleaching across the globe, but spanning across at least 2 years. So that means a lot of these corals are being put under really prolonged stress, or are being hit 2 years in a row.”

The total loss could amount to 5 percent of the world’s corals in 2015, according to Eakin. That’s not as bad as the loss in 1998, but there’s a fear that if the event continues into 2016, the losses would grow.

“We’ve been hearing worrying reports of bleaching from various places, and now the bad news is officially here, with worse news likely yet to come with the strengthening El Nino,” says Nancy Knowlton, an expert on coral reefs with the Smithsonian Institution, of the news. “No reefs that experience unusually warm waters are likely to escape unscathed, but reefs already suffering from overfishing and pollution may have a particularly rough time recovering, based on what we have learned from past bleaching events.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

The planet has a fever!!! Coral reefs are in danger.


"The event is being brought on by a combination of global warming, a very strong El Nino event, and the so-called warm “blob” in the Pacific Ocean, say the researchers, part of a consortium including the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as well as XL Catlin Seaview Survey, The University of Queensland in Australia, and Reef Check."

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Climate Change threatens local aquaculture industry, says scientist | The Manila Times Online

Climate Change threatens local aquaculture industry, says scientist | The Manila Times Online | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Rising water temperatures as a result of climate change could threaten the country’s aquaculture industry and fish production in general, a scientist based in Iloilo province said on Friday.

“There is a threat to aquaculture production,” said Dr. Felix Ayson, the chief of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

“And we are just looking at the temperature itself but we know that our oceans will become acidic as well. So we still have to factor that in,” he said during a press briefing here when asked about the impact of changing weather conditions on aquaculture.

Noting that he does not want to sound alarmist, Ayson said that despite the gloomy picture that climate change will bring, there are still ways to overcome these challenges.

Organisms can adapt to new temperatures but it will take time, he said, adding that the industry cannot afford to stop fish production to address the country’s food needs.

“If the organisms cannot adapt, we have to have some alternative,” Ayson said.

For instance, he said, if there is a spawning problem in bangus (milkfish) due to higher water temperature, producers could put up a controlled facility just for the embryo, so that the bangus eggs could hatch.

But the implication is that it will raise the price of bangus as a result of additional inputs, Ayson said.

“We need to provide this data to our policymakers for them to plan. It is our role as a research organization to provide this scientific data to our policymakers,” he said.

Ayson reported that they did a 10-month study on a locally known fish specie called Malaga, conducted under higher water temperature. This fish is also called samaral batuhan (scientific name Siganus corallinus).

He said they found that the Malaga spawned at 33 degrees Celsius but it also had very weak embryos that would not survive. The embryos, which were supposed to hatch and become larvae after 24 hours, perished.

Bert Guevara's insight:

“There is a threat to aquaculture production,” said Dr. Felix Ayson, the chief of the Aquaculture Department of the Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center (SEAFDEC).

“And we are just looking at the temperature itself but we know that our oceans will become acidic as well. So we still have to factor that in,” he said during a press briefing here when asked about the impact of changing weather conditions on aquaculture.

Noting that he does not want to sound alarmist, Ayson said that despite the gloomy picture that climate change will bring, there are still ways to overcome these challenges.

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Why Are So Many Starfish Dying? - YouTube ("disease is killing millions of starfish; should we care?")

Sea stars (starfish) along North America's west coast have been dying at an alarming rate. A syndrome known as sea star wasting disease causes the animal to lose limbs and eventually disintegrate, leaving behind a pile of white goo. Scientists researching the disease have identified a likely culprit, a densovirus that weakens the sea star's ability to defend itself against microorganisms. This discovery, along with sightings of sea star hatchlings in the impacted areas, offer hope for the future of the species.

Bert Guevara's insight:

An epidemic is sweeping the ocean that kills starfish. The danger is that we don't even know what the disease is. A mass die-off can cause an imbalance in our eco-system. This is what happens when our ocean biodiversity is disturbed.

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Parts of Philippines may submerge due to global warming ("7.6 to 10.2 cm. per decade sea level rise")

Parts of Philippines may submerge due to global warming ("7.6 to 10.2 cm. per decade sea level rise") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Low-lying countries with an abundance of coastlines are at significant risk from rising sea levels resulting from global warming. According to data by the World Meteorological Organisation, the water levels around the Philippines are rising at a rate almost three times the global average due partly to the influence of the trade winds pushing ocean currents.

On average, sea levels around the world rise 3.1 centimetres every ten years. Water levels in the Philippines are projected to rise between 7.6 and 10.2 centimetres each decade.

The Philippines government has been forced to take this into consideration. A number of governmental and nongovernmental organizations have sprung up in recent years to address the issue. The Department of Environment and National Resources has its own climate change office, which has set up various programs to educate communities in high-risk areas. One program, for example, teaches communities to adapt to rising sea levels by ensuring that public spaces, such as community halls and schools, are not built near the coast.

But soon, adaptation on a local level won't be enough. Policy makers need to convince governments to curb their emissions on a global level.

Their analyses showed that business-as-usual would have an enormous and effectively irreversible impact on ocean ecosystems and the services they provide, such as fisheries, by 2100.

Bert Guevara's insight:

We Filipinos should enjoy our local beach-fronts while they are still there. Real property owners along coast lines should reconsider their long-term prospects.


"On average, sea levels around the world rise 3.1 centimetres every ten years. Water levels in the Philippines are projected to rise between 7.6 and 10.2 centimetres each decade."

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Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O ("when clean water runs out")

Self-Filling Water Bottle Converts Humid Air into Drinkable H2O ("when clean water runs out") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
A portable gadget known as Fontus is designed to convert humidity in the air into drinkable water.

Kristof Retezár, a designer based in Vienna, invented a device that can extract humidity from the air and condense it into drinkable water. The handy gadget, dubbed Fontus, can be attached to a bike so that cyclists can generate water during long-distance rides through the countryside, where pit stops may be few and far between.

Fontus works using the basic principle of condensation, which can be easily demonstrated by taking something out of a refrigerator (for instance, a can of soda) and leaving it on the kitchen counter for a bit. Eventually, you'll notice moisture collecting on the sides of the object. 

"This is simply condensation of the humidity that is contained in the air," Retezár told Live Science. "You always have a certain percentage of humidity in the air, it doesn't matter where you are — even in the desert. That means you would always potentially be able to extract that humidity from the air."

When water is scarce, why not pull it out of thin air? An industrial designer in Austria is hoping to do just that (well, sort of).

The solar-powered device consists of a condensator (which functions like a cooler) that is connected to a series of hydrophobic surfaces that repel water. As the bike-mounted gadget takes in air, and these surfaces get cold, you're left with condensation, Retezár said.

"Because they're hydrophobic, they immediately repel the condensed water that they created, so you get a drop flow [into the bottle]," he explained. "Basically, you're taking air in a vapor state and converting it into a liquid state."


Bert Guevara's insight:

When the wells run dry, the water can be harvested from the air.


"The idea was to solve a global problem: water issues in areas of the world where there is very little groundwater but very high humidity," Retezár said. "My intent was to invent a machine or device that would be able to filter the humidity in the air and turn it into drinkable water."

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Shocker: Govt. Scientists Admit They Deceived the Public about Fracking's Impact on Drinking Water

Shocker: Govt. Scientists Admit They Deceived the Public about Fracking's Impact on Drinking Water | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Five years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was commissioned by Congress to undertake a study on the impacts of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) on drinking water. This newer method of oil and gas extraction involves the pumping of highly pressurized water, sand and chemicals into underground rock formations. Fracking has driven the boom in U.S. oil production and contributed to the steep drop in gasoline prices, but the environmental impacts of this relatively new technique are not well understood.

The EPA’s draft study—released in June to solicit input from advisers and the public—found  that fracking has already contaminated drinking water, stating in the report:

“We found specific instances where one or more mechanisms led to impacts on drinking water resources, including contamination of drinking water wells…

Approximately 6,800 sources of drinking water for public water systems were located within one mile of at least one hydraulically fractured well … These drinking water sources served more than 8.6 million people year-round in 2013…

Hydraulic fracturing can also affect drinking water resources outside the immediate vicinity of a hydraulically fractured well.”

Despite these findings, and EPA’s own admissions of “data limitations and uncertainties” as well as “the paucity of long-term systemic studies,” the agency stated in its conclusion that “there is no evidence fracking has led to widespread, systemic impacts on drinking water resources.”

Industry hacks and their MSM cheerleaders took this line and ran with it, proclaiming that “the science is settled” on fracking and any further concerns are just crazed environmental activists pursuing an agenda.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Time to exercise sustainable business sense. Why continue to risk polluting drinking water for cheaper fuel, at a time that there is an oversupply of oil in the world? Once contaminated, underground water is gone!

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How to Reduce Water Management Expenses with Green Infrastructure · Environmental Leader

How to Reduce Water Management Expenses with Green Infrastructure · Environmental Leader | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

But while becoming increasingly recognized as solution to water management challenges, barriers to green infrastructure systems still exist, according to Green Infrastructure: Guide for Water Management, a collaborative efforts by the United Nations Environment Programme, UNEP-DHI Partnership – Centre on Water and Environment, International Union for Conservation of Nature, The Nature Conservancy and the World Resources Institute. The guide says one of the main barriers is a lack of awareness about green infrastructure solutions and the associated cost-benefits.

In addition to primary water management benefits — regulatory compliance, water quality regulation and extreme weather and flood mitigation — green infrastructure can generate significant co-benefits, the document says. These include provision of food, recreation and erosion control, as well as cost savings in operations and in avoiding costly investments in new or expanded grey water infrastructure.

Agricultural best management practices (BMPs) would help avoid sediment and phosphorus: 32 hectares of agricultural BMPs would need to be installed to remove 10 percent of sediment and phosphorus, Boccaletti says. “In other words, working on 3 percent of the cropland is sufficient to reduce sediment and phosphorus in the basin by 10 percent.”

Assuming a $360 per hectare per year payment to farmers to follow agricultural BMPs, the utility receives a payment of $12,000, he says: “Such an investment clearly seems like one with a positive return on investment for the utility: the benefits of conservation are almost nine times the costs.”

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Check out examples of green infrastructure that benefit water conservation.


"Green infrastructure employs elements of natural systems such as reed beds that treat industrial wastewater, green roofs and permeable pavements that allow water to infiltrate, be filtered and replenish groundwater supplies. Traditional gray infrastructure is man-made."

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Sea level rise at a glance; coastal cities under threat ("so little time left to make drastic action")

Carbon emissions causing 4°C of warming — what business-as-usual points toward today —- could lock in enough sea level rise to submerge land currently home to 470 to 760 million people, with unstoppable rise unfolding over centuries. At the same time, aggressive carbon cuts limiting warming to 2°C could bring the number as low as 130 million people. These are the stakes for global climate talks December in Paris.

Our analysis details the implications of different warming scenarios for every coastal nation and megacity on the planet, and our globally searchable Mapping Choices tool maps them. We are also publishing Google Earth fly-over videos and KML contrasting these different futures for important cities around the world, and printable high-resolution photorealistic images of select global landmarks. We have made these visualizations embeddable and downloadable. These are the stakes for global climate talks, in pictures.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The threat that won't go away easily. Watch the video.

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Sea Turtles Get the Spotlight in U.S.-Cuba Thaw ("marine conservation is beyond politics")

Sea Turtles Get the Spotlight in U.S.-Cuba Thaw ("marine conservation is beyond politics") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The State Department says the two nations are working together to protect the ecosystem along their marine border.

“With only ninety miles of sea di­vid­ing the United States and Cuba, col­lab­or­a­tion on mar­ine mat­ters is es­pe­cially im­port­ant,” writes Ju­dith Garber, a top State en­vir­on­ment­al of­fi­cial. Her post de­scribes the plan hatched this fall to col­lab­or­ate on re­search, edu­ca­tion and re­source man­age­ment in “mar­ine pro­tec­ted areas.”

The two na­tions are es­tab­lish­ing “sis­ter” pro­tec­ted re­gions, which ini­tially are the Flor­ida Keys and Flower Garden Banks Na­tion­al Mar­ine Sanc­tu­ar­ies on the U.S side and Cuba’s Gua­na­hacabibes Na­tion­al Park and the Banco de San Ant­o­nio, State said.

It’s part of broad­er ef­forts now un­der way to boost en­vir­on­ment­al col­lab­or­a­tion with Cuba on top­ics in­clud­ing cli­mate change and boost­ing re­si­li­ence to hur­ricanes and oth­er dis­asters.

Garber notes that mar­ine con­ser­va­tion and pol­lu­tion are top­ics that tran­scend na­tion­al bound­ar­ies — and that col­lab­or­a­tion on is­sues has broad­er re­per­cus­sions.  “Such en­gage­ment can cross polit­ic­al di­vides and is of­ten at the van­guard of broad­er agree­ments,” writes Garber, who is act­ing head of State’s Bur­eau of Oceans and In­ter­na­tion­al En­vir­on­ment­al and Sci­entif­ic Af­fairs.

Back to those very en­dangered and very cute turtles. Ac­cord­ing to the Na­tion­al Ocean­ic and At­mo­spher­ic Ad­min­is­tra­tion, the Carib­bean is home to one of the world’s largest pop­u­la­tions of the Hawks­bill, which get their name from the beak-like shape of their mouths.

Pro­tect­ing them is an im­port­ant way to safe­guard oth­er fea­tures of the shared U.S. Cuba eco­sys­tem too, and that’s due to their eat­ing habits, ac­cord­ing to State.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

Marine conservation should transcend politics. It's good that the U.S. and Cuba are doing the right thing in discussing these matters along with other concerns.

 

"Garber notes that mar­ine con­ser­va­tion and pol­lu­tion are top­ics that tran­scend na­tion­al bound­ar­ies — and that col­lab­or­a­tion on is­sues has broad­er re­per­cus­sions.  “Such en­gage­ment can cross polit­ic­al di­vides and is of­ten at the van­guard of broad­er agree­ments,” writes Garber ...

"Pro­tect­ing them is an im­port­ant way to safe­guard oth­er fea­tures of the shared U.S. Cuba eco­sys­tem too, and that’s due to their eat­ing habits, ac­cord­ing to State."

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Tallest trees first to be killed by drought in the Amazon ("bad news for thirsty forest")

Tallest trees first to be killed by drought in the Amazon ("bad news for thirsty forest") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Scientists have determined that it might very well be the tallest trees in the Amazon that die off first due to coming droughts.

Earlier this month, researchers said that 40 to 60 percent of the more than 15,000 tree species they studied in the Amazon meet the criteria to be listed as threatened on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List.

They arrived at that estimate after considering the impacts of historical and projected deforestation, but past studies have arrived at similarly dire conclusions after looking at how impacts of climate change such as increased droughts will affect the world’s forests.

In 2012, for instance, a study of the effects of drought on 226 tree species at 81 sites in different biomes around the world found that 70 percent of the species sampled are particularly vulnerable when faced with reduced water availability.

Now scientists have determined that it might very well be the tallest trees in the Amazon that die off first due to coming droughts.

A team of researchers with the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, who have just published the results of a 13-year study in the journal Nature, found that trees’ water transport systems break down under drought conditions, leading to their death.

The researchers are conducting one of the longest-running drought experiments of its kind ever attempted. They’ve monitored tree growth, sugar levels and performance of water transport systems to compile a decadal-scale data set on the effects of soil moisture depletion in tropical forests.

The experiment is being conducted on two one-hectare (about 2.5 acres) plots of land in Brazil’s Caxiuanã National Forest Reserve. On one plot, plastic panels and gutters were placed above the ground, in order to exclude about half of the area’s rainfall. A corresponding control plot was also included in the study.


Bert Guevara's insight:

The connection between forest trees and water reveals a threat to bigger trees due to drought. 


"Susan Laurance, a professor at Australia’s James Cook University who is conducting a similar drought experiment in the Daintree Rainforest, said that the implications of tropical forests’ tallest trees being the most vulnerable to drought are huge because big trees store so much carbon and provide food and shelter for so many animal species."

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No One Knows Why Alaska’s Sea Otters Are Dying ("here's why man should not tamper with biodiversity")

No One Knows Why Alaska’s Sea Otters Are Dying ("here's why man should not tamper with biodiversity") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
"It’s scary to know there’s something out there in the wild that we may or may not be able to do anything about."

Based on the symptoms of the otters that have been found, scientists believe something peculiar may be plaguing the animals. Preliminary tests suggest that toxins from harmful algal blooms and infections caused by bacteria might be contributing to the otter deaths; but given the spike in morbidity, another as-yet-unknown factor is also suspected.

“Something is hitting them harder and faster, in addition to the disease that we’re familiar with seeing, something else seems to be involved,” Marc Webber of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, told Alaska Public Media last month. “That’s just speculation, we don’t have any evidence yet, but that’s what we’re seeing on the beach.”

Compounding this mystery, reports say that while some dead otters were found emaciated, indicative of a long illness; some of them appear to have died suddenly at a healthy weight, which is “even more curious,”Alaska SeaLife Center veterinarian Carrie Goertz told Hakai Magazine. 

These seemingly healthy otters act paralyzed, or “seize” up just before death, reports Homer News.

Kachemak Bay is home to about 6,000 sea otters. Since the marine mammals play a critical role in their ecosystems, experts say the mass die-off is likely a sign that the entire ecosystem is being impacted by something harmful.

In October, the Alaska SeaLife Center and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced in apress release that a team of experts had launched an investigation into the spike in otter deaths in the area.

So far, scientists say they have a few ideas as to what’s causing the animals to fall sick; but nothing concrete has been determined.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Here is a humbling lesson to man's intervention in nature. Once things go wrong, he scratches his head and points to the air, without admitting that he is part of the problem.


“It’s scary to know there’s something out there in the wild that we may or may not be able to do anything about,” she said.

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Humans vs. Wildlife | Sustainable Cities Collective ("choices to be made on who needs water more")

Humans vs. Wildlife | Sustainable Cities Collective ("choices to be made on who needs water more") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is further complicating water management problems in the many states struck by drought. State water management bodies are increasingly coming into conflict with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), as these organizations add more species to the endangered species list.

Texas is just now recovering from years of drought, but if “El Nino doesn’t come through, we’ll be right back to where we were,” said Gulley. In its last session, the Texas state legislature agreed to put $2 billion into a fund to finance long-term water banking projects. These projects run the full gamut of efforts to enhance the water supply: all sorts of new technologies and private public partnership models will be tested. The goal is to dramatically increase the amount of water stored by aquifers, boosting reserves for when times are dry. But as Gulley explained, the “Endangered Species Act can be an obstacle to long-range water planning.”

Between now and 2017, the FWS will decide on whether 57 species should be added to the endangered species list, which gives them all sorts of protections. “Upcoming, there are decisions alone on 11 types of freshwater mussels found in every watershed in the state.” Water use in the state is seasonal. “When we need to use it in the drought season is just the time when the mussels will need it. This is a significant threat to water availability.”

And while the FWS investigates whether to give a local jurisdiction a permit to use water, water treatment or use can be put on hold. As FWS consultation processes can go on for years, “the ongoing consequences can be severe.” As an example, Gulley pointed to the city of Abilene, Texas, whose water supply was “almost cut off” due to the drought. The city is in ongoing consultations with the FWS on the possible impact of pouring brine, which is an output of their treatment process for reusing brackish water, into the community’s rivers. They can’t do it yet because the brine could possibly impact two endangered species. “The process is still ongoing.” In the meantime, the city’s ability to reuse water and plan for back-ups is hamstrung.

Bert Guevara's insight:

Who needs water more?

 

"For Sunding, an economist who consults with states on water resources, water conflicts around ESA are real and ongoing. California has just initiated a statewide 25 percent reduction in water use, with exemptions for farmers. While the measures will reduce wasteful water use for lawns, California, he argued, is having a “water management crisis, not a scarcity crisis.”

"While the drought is “causing a massive dislocation for other species,” the state’s faulty water management system is causing “conflicts between humans and other species to come to the foreground.”

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The race to fish: how fishing subsidies are emptying our oceans ("the race to fish is emptying oceans")

The race to fish: how fishing subsidies are emptying our oceans ("the race to fish is emptying oceans") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
Fish numbers are rapidly dwindling globally, and fishery subsidies are one of the key drivers behind this decline.

Fish numbers are rapidly dwindling globally, and fishery subsidies are one of the key drivers behind this decline. In 2009, these subsidies totalled about US$35 billion, creating incentives for fishers around the world to increase their catch. But this short-term “race to fish” is jeopardising the long-term environmental, social, and economic security that fisheries offer us all.

Overfishing: a major issue facing our oceans

According to the recently released World Wildlife Fund Living Blue Planet Report, our oceans are in a bad state. Climate change, habitat destruction, and deep-sea mining are wreaking havoc on marine biodiversity.

But overfishing is in a league of its own.

The WWF report found that population numbers of utilised fish (those species used by humans for subsistence or commercial purposes) have fallen by half in the four decades from 1970 to 2010. A full 90% of fish stocks globally are now classified as either overexploited or fully exploited. Common seafood choices such as tuna, shrimp, whiting, and salmon are among the worst affected.

Only the very deepest parts of the oceans are currently safe from the pressure of fisheries. But how long this remains the case is yet to be seen. The demand for fish is growing the world over, driven by population growth, increased wealth, and the continued mass subsidisation of the fisheries industry.

The impacts of fishing subsidies

Although the direct impact of subsidies on fish resources depends on the health of the fish stock and the strength of management in place, fisheries management is rarely completely effective. In fact, there is evidence that subsidies alone can undermine efforts to manage stocks sustainably.

Commercial fishing enterprises are profit-driven, meaning the more profits that can be made the more fishing will typically take place. Because capacity-enhancing subsidies increase profits artificially, they are stimulating this “race to fish” within the industry. This is having disastrous consequences for many fish populations.

 

Bert Guevara's insight:

If there are subsidies for Big Oil, Big Coal and Big Mining, there is an equally destructive Big Fishing subsidy that is depleting our oceans.

 

"To make real progress in curtailing capacity-enhancing subsidies, it is important to develop and implement a multi-scale multi-stakeholder approach. Efforts must be made at the national, regional, and global levels of governance. Ultimately, these efforts should lead into a multilateral agreement at the World Trade Organization.

"At the local level, we need to build political will to tackle the short-sightedness of our economic and political systems."

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World's oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn | Environment | The Guardian

World's oceans facing biggest coral die-off in history, scientists warn | Environment | The Guardian | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
A third global bleaching of coral reefs is underway following a massive and persistent underwater heatwave

After widespread devastation was confirmed in the Caribbean this month, a worldwide consortium of coral scientists joined on Thursday to sombrely announce the third-ever global bleaching event – and warn of a tenuous future for the precious habitat unless sharp cuts were made to carbon emissions.

Since the early 1980s the world has lost roughly half of its coral reefs. Hoegh-Guldberg said the current event was directly in line with predictions he made in 1999 that continued global temperature rise would lead to the complete loss of coral reefs by the middle of this century.

The difference between this bleaching event and others before it is not just the extremity of sea temperatures, but how long they have persisted for. Corals can recover from bleaching if the temperature relents. But after a month or more the organisms that build these brilliantly coloured underwater cities die.

“This is not only a big event, but it’s more persistent than any of our past ones, including 1998,” said Eakin. In many areas the bleaching has now lasted far longer than the threshold month and in Hawaii, Guam, Kiribati and Florida there has been back-to-back bleaching events across the past two years.

Like rainforests on land, coral reefs are home to a riot of biodiversity. On just 0.1% of the ocean’s floor they nurture 25% of the world’s marine species. The impact of losing this would be devastating for the 500 million people who rely on coral ecosystems for their food and livelihood. These effects would not be felt immediately, but over the coming years as fish species move on or die off.

Bert Guevara's insight:

More warnings for the survival of our coral reefs. The 3rd Global (Coral) Bleaching Event is happening now!

 

“If we were to take strong action on the emission issue and we were to take strong action on the non-climate issues such as overfishing and pollution, reefs would rebound by mid to late century,” he said.

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Rio's sewage-filled waters a health threat for surfers, too - Yahoo Sports ("olympics not exempted")

Rio's sewage-filled waters a health threat for surfers, too - Yahoo Sports ("olympics not exempted") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
From Yahoo Sports: Rio's sewage-filled waters are not only a problem for next year's Olympics. Organizers of Brazil's stop on the World Surf League hope to move their event from a beach at Barra da Tijuca to a clean beach further west. The Rio suburb of Barra da Tijuca is the main venue area for South America's first Olympics.

Rio's sewage-filled waters are not only a problem for next year's Olympics.

Organizers of Brazil's stop on the World Surf League hope to move their event from a beach at Barra da Tijuca to a clean beach further west.

The Rio suburb of Barra da Tijuca is the main venue area for South America's first Olympics. Though surfing isn't an Olympic event, Rio's water pollution is also causing health concerns for the sport.

''I hope we can put on some pressure to fix this pollution,'' Rio event organizer Xandi Fontes told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

An independent study by AP published two months ago showed high viral levels from untreated sewage in all of Rio's Olympic water venues, where 1,400 swimmers, rowers, sailors, canoeists and triathletes will compete next year.

The surfing area near the Olympic venue was not studied by AP, but a nearby lagoon abutting the new Olympic Park is severely polluted because of chaotic urban planning and a lack of public sanitation that stretches back decades.

During the World Surf League event in May, top surfers like American Kelly Slater complained openly about falling ill because of the contaminated water.

Fontes said that planning to move the event started only a month ago. He said permits are needed and there could be stumbling blocks using the beach called Grumari, which is located in a nature reserve.

Bert Guevara's insight:

The Olympics is not exempt from the effects of water pollution. It cannot be business as usual.


''Rio's water pollution cannot go on like this,'' he said. ''Surfers love Rio. No one wants to leave. All they want is clean water.''

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