Cape Sugarbird

31 October 2011

This juvenile Cape Sugarbird (Promerops cafer) was also in attendance at the weekend flower shows in Franschhoek!

Cape Sugarbird (Photo: Bill Harding)

Photo: Bill Harding

Most common view! (Photo: Bill Harding)

Water scarcity becomes an issue in Alberta

31 October 2011

La Rive, Franschhoek, South Africa (Photo: Bill Harding)

Droplets has been quiet for a couple of days as we have been away at the Open Gardens show in Franschhoek. Read more »

Blue-green algal toxins threaten eider ducks

28 October 2011

Eider duck (Source: Wikipedia)

Monitoring in Sweden has shown a 100-fold reduction in eider seaduck nesting during the past 30 years.  One of the reasons for this has been attributed to cyanobacterial toxins. Read more »

European Commission takes Luxembourg to court over wastewater

27 October 2011

The European Commission is referring Luxembourg back to the European Court of Justice for poor treatment of urban waste water. The Court previously ruled in November 2006 that Luxembourg was failing in its obligation to treat and dispose of urban waste water in an adequate manner. Nearly five years after the Court’s ruling, four agglomerations in Luxembourg do not yet comply with EU legislation, including the capital. On the recommendation of Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik, the Commission is asking the Court to impose fines, suggesting a lump sum of 11 340 EUR and a daily penalty payment of 1 248 EUR until the obligations are fulfilled.

These don’t seem like punitive amounts given the length of time the problem has been going on?  Maybe its retrospective? Read more »

Patience is a virtue

27 October 2011

Waiting patiently... (Photo: Bill Harding)

Patience pays dividends (Photo: Bill Harding)

Oysters and abalone may disappear

27 October 2011

Increasing acidification in coastal waters could compromise the ability of oysters and other marine creatures to form and keep their shells, according to a new study led by University of Georgia researchers.  They determined the combined effects of fertilizer runoff carried by the Mississippi River to the northern Gulf of Mexico and excess atmospheric carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels result in an unexpected increase in the acidity of Gulf waters. Read more »

New Zealand local council won’t stop harmful discharge

27 October 2011

Palmerston North City Council claims

it has ”no choice” but to continue pumping harmful wastewater which is killing off aquatic life into the Manawatu River.  Horizons Regional Council served an abatement notice on its city counterpart earlier this month, requiring it to cease any discharge from its sewage treatment plant that was harming the river.  The city council has breached its consent 11 times since 2003, according to Horizons.  Its data shows a ”significant reduction” in the river’s insect life downstream of the plant, as well as increased algae growth, which is reducing the spawning habitats of native fish. Read more »

South Africans don’t understand, or don’t care about, fracking

27 October 2011

A TNS South Africa survey has revealed that a significant proportion of South Africans don’t have a clue what fracking is about.

While less than a quarter of urban South Africans are in favour of fracking in the Karoo and 30% against, a survey released on Wednesday shows that the other 46% appeared not to know what fracking was or did not have an opinion, as they gave a “don’t know” response.

So, either they have not heard about it, or they have and have not bothered to find out more.

This is pretty typical, though.  South Africans are not passionate (enough) about the environment and in matters related to water, for example, hopelessly uninformed.  The problem is exacerbated by abysmally-poor quality of reporting on environmental matters, apart from big-hype stuff like rhino poaching, and journalists simply do not take the time to do investigative research into issues such as water quality threats.  Excessive and unbalanced reporting on single issues, such as Acid Mine Drainage (AMD), has not helped!


Aquaculture breakthrough: Floating islands provide fish spawning habitat

27 October 2011

Proof of concept! (Source: FII Montana)

Floating Island International, represented in South Africa by DH Environmental, has recently made breakthroughs in the innovative use of BioHaven floating islands to create fish spawning habitat for various species of fish.  The floating artificial stream and the suspended spawning platform are two such examples. Read more »

BioHaven Floating Islands launched in South Africa!

26 October 2011

Part of the audience at today’s BioHaven launch outside Cape Town (Photo: TheSquashedTomato)

Today saw the well-attended launch of the BioHaven floating island concept in South Africa.   16o people turned up and were treated to a morning of interesting events and a buffet lunch kindly sponsored by Klein Joostenberg Bistro.  The audience were provided with details of this “concentrated wetland effect” technology and the benefits it offers.   Many left with a new and invigorated understanding of how wetlands work.

Read more »