Welcome to the July SCRAPLog – our occasional contribution through the SCRAP Website to the environmental debate and to update our own activities.
This month (24th and 25th) look out for us at the Mudgee Field Days where we will share the Reln stand to promote worms, worm farming and composting for waste reduction. At the same time we have been completing works at Norman Lindsay Gallery in Springwood where an underground, concrete tank will provide 68,000 litres of water for toilet flushing, gardening and fire fighting. Currently, a drought-proofing of the playing field at Tharawal PS is in progress, featuring the KISSS (Kapillary Sub-Surface System) for irrigation which saves up to 70% of water compared to surface irrigation. Unfortunately most of the funding for these terrific water saving measures is (excuse the pun) drying up and SCRAP is struggling to keep our fantastic Enviroplumbers (Glyn Lewis-Jones, Lance Luxford and Roger Bamber) working on these vital projects.
Across our desk came an article from Felicity Barringer of the New York Times (2.6.09) in which the links between tiny soot particles and premature death from cardiovascular diseases has been shown to be double the levels previously thought. The review by the Health Effects Institute and University of Ottawa showed that the highest levels of this type of pollution occurs in Los Angeles, Birmingham, Alabama, Atlanta, the Ohio River Valley and Pittsburgh. The sources are diesel engines, automobile tyres, coal fired power plants and oil refineries. People living near major industrial areas including ports and in low-lying suburbs of major cities carry the greatest risks according to the studies which extended over 18 years and gathered information from 350,000 people. Susceptibility to cardiovascular disease is often preceded by respiratory ailments which themselves are likely to result from the same pollution sources.
In Australia, we also suffer similar problems. The western suburbs of our major cities report very high rates of asthma while cardiovascular diseases and cancer rate among the highest killers of people in this lucky country.
Just another set of reasons why we need to plan now to stop burning fossil fuels and move into the cleaner, greener age of solar power. What immense savings are at hand if we can reduce the demands on the ever spiralling health budgets by restoring clean air to our polluted and usually poorer suburbs. While the Government ponders a massive rise in tobacco tax it would be well advised to contemplate the potential impacts of redirecting its many subsidies to coal and oil into building healthy, soot-free communities instead.
Below: The Solar Venti Cooling System at SCRAP – laying pipes in the ground and capturing cool air to pump into the building in summer (using a solar powered fan) means reduced air conditioning/evaporative cooling costs. The Solar Venti System also provides warm air in winter and hot water year round – see their website – www.ges.com.au