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Weekly Environmental Updates
Flint residents received free faucets and installation from volunteer plumbers last week. 400 plumbers, including 300 union plumbers, traveled to Flint from various parts of the US to donate their time. Residents with older homes needed the faucets in order to attach new filters provided by the state in an attempt to mitigate the contamination of their drinking water.
A disease linked to the fast spreading, mosquito-borne Zika virus has been declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organization (WHO). The infection, which is now known to be transmitted by sexual contact as well as mosquitos, poses a risk of microcephaly to the babies of pregnant women and has affected more than 4,000 babies in Brazil alone since last October. The virus, which generally produces few or no symptoms, is expected to spread explosively across al of the Americas.
In related news, The American Mosquito Control Association offers advice to residents in the Southeast and Mid Western U.S., home of two species of mosquitos that can carry the Zika Virus. Residents are urged to eliminate sources of standing water where mosquito eggs are laid, such as cans and discarded tires. They also recommend avoiding bites by wearing long-sleeved clothing and using repellents such as DEET and oil of lemon and eucalyptus. Pregnant women should avoid traveling to countries where there are known active infections. (American Mosquito Control Association newsletter)
Compact fluorescent bulbs (CFLs) are going extinct in the U.S for General Electric customers, thanks to a phase out only a few years after consumers were encouraged to switch to the energy-saving bulbs. The move is now toward LED lighting, which has become less expensive, offers better light quality, and is more environmentally friendly. GE says that it will stop producing CFLs at the end of this year.
GMO fruits and vegetables get a bad rap from some, but itŐs a fact that scientists have long used selective breeding to produce the familiar items on grocery shelves today. The shrunken, barely recognizable native versions of bananas, eggplants, watermelons don't bear much resemblance to the lush products we enjoy today. Click on the above link for then-and-now examples of some of our favorite foods.
Dutch police in the Netherlands are using specially trained bald eagles to take out wayward drones. Trained by the company known as Guard From Above, the birds not only attack and disable the drones, but also retrieve them. The eagles reportedly see the drones as an invasion of their territory and are able to use their keen eyesight to avoid being injured in the process.
2/6/16
Roman Hills