Eco News – September 2021

Here’s the top eco-news of the month!


UK Becomes First Nation to Ban the Shark Fin Trade

The British government recently announced that it will prohibit all importation and exportation of detached shark fins, in addition to all and any products containing the Shark Fin, such as Shark Fin Soup. Finning involves the removal of fins, sometimes while still alive. Frequently, fishers discard the rest of the shark. It’s cruel, wasteful, and incredibly bad for the environment. The UK banned shark finning in its waters back in 2013, but some defects in the legislation left room for the shark fin trade to continue. Overall humans have decimated approximately 70 per cent of the world’s shark and ray population in less than five decades. We continue to kill up to 7.9 per cent of the world’s existing sharks every year. Banning Shark Fin Trade is a great step-forwarded to protecting all endangered species.

World’s Largest Carbon Capture Plant Begins Running in Iceland 

This new Plant in Reykjavik (Iceland) sucks out the Carbon Dioxide from the air and turns it into rock. The plant, named Orca, after the Icelandic word “orka” meaning “energy”, consists of four units, was construct ted by Switzerland’s Climeworks and Iceland’s Carbfix. When operating at full capacity the plant will draw 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) out of the air every year. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), that equates to the emissions from about 870 cars.

To collect the carbon dioxide, the plant uses fans to draw air into a collector, which has a filter material inside. Once the filter material is filled with CO2, the collector is closed and the temperature is raised to release the CO2 from the material after which the gas can be collected. The CO2 is then mixed with water before being injected at a depth of 1,000 metres into the basalt rock where it is petrified. Overall, these technologies can become a major tool in the fight against climate change.

India announces a ban on single-use plastics by 2022  

The government of India has announced a ban on the manufacture, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items including plates, cups, straws and polystyrene. Specifically, they will put into force a three-phase plan. On September 30, 2021, non-woven plastic carry bags (made of virgin or recycled plastic) must be at least 60 GMS or 240 microns thick, excluding compostable plastic carry bags would be exempted.

In Phase 2 and 3 they will begin banning Single-Use Plastic Commodities. Hence, on January 1, 2022, India will ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of certain single-use plastic commodities. Lastly, as of July 1, 2022, India would ban the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of additional single-use plastic items (including items made with polystyrene and expanded polystyrene). As the world’s second-most populous country, this is a big step towards responsible consumption. 

Severe floods in south-west France after two months’ rain in 24 hours 

On the 14th of September, Southern France was hit by a deluge of rain and floods. The water had reached up to two metres high in some areas after a record amount of rainfall. Evacuations took place but no injuries have been reported.  Residents were evacuated and car drivers rescued after the town of Agen, Lot-et-Garonne, experienced record flash flooding last night, after two months worth of rain fell in under two hours. More than 300 firefighters and emergency services personnel were deployed overnight, with 130 call-outs. An earlier red weather alert for the Gard was eventually lifted and was replaced with an orange alert for thunder, rain and flooding – which remains in place. 

Manchester City to trial edible coffee cups as part of new food and drink offering which includes craft beer and vegan food 

The introduction of these edible coffee cups is part of an initiative to lessen their carbon footprint and environmental waste by the football club. Moreover, they are introducing 100 per cent recyclable and zero plastic beer cups as part of Manchester City’s commitment to cut down on plastic waste with the club aiming to eliminate all single-use plastics at the stadium.  

As for the edible coffee cup, Manchester City has confirmed that fans will also have the option to place the cups into composting waste streams if preferred. The cups are made of wafers that will remain crispy for at least half the duration of the game and are leak-proof for up to 12 hours. To prevent the bottom of the edible cup from touching any questionable surfaces, the lower half of the cup is wrapped in a recycled paper label that can also be recycled after the cup has been eaten.