Bedbug Solutions

While some pesticide fanatics are urging the return of DDT to fight bedbugs, an insane solution from an environmental perpective, CNN has published a useful article identifying some non-chemical or low-risk solutions for dealing with infestations of bedbugs. Entitled Bedbugs: Bring ‘em on!, the article provides information about seven small businesses in the US that have developed a range of bedbug solutions. Some of the companies provide a service in a region of the USA while others provide products. Even if the products or services are not provided where you are located, the article may provide some ideas to help you deal with a bedbug infestation in a more environmentally sound way whenever and wherever you have a problem.

The article is located at  http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2011/smallbusiness/1104/gallery.bedbugs_business/

Please not that Gallon Environment Letter (GL) does not endorse the products and services mentioned in this article. GL’s parent company does provide an environmental review of products and services on payment of appropriate fees. See http://www.cialgroup.com  for more information.

Companies in India must have Eco Policy

The Ministry of Environment and Forests of the Government of India has issued a directive that all large corporations and public sector projects must have an environmental policy in place.

Companies will be required to:
(i) Adopt well laid down Corporate Environment Policy;
(ii) Ensure, as a part of this Policy, adherence with the environmental
clearances and fore
stry clearances wherever applicable, granted to the Company;
(iii) Ensure that inter-alia the Company functions in conformity with
the Policy;
(iv) Ensure that deviations, if any, from this Policy and cases of
violations of environmental
and forestry clearances conditions that have
been found by this Ministry or other public
authorities should be
duly reported to its Board of Directors and desirably reflected
thereafter
on its website and its Annual Report;
(
v) Identify and designate responsible person(s) at all levels of their
hierarchy for ensuring
adherence to this Policy and compliance with
Environmental Laws and Regulations.

The policy will apply to companies and projects in the following sectors:
(i) All Central Public Service Undertakings
(ii) All Major Projects
• Coal Based Thermal Power Plants with capa city of 500 MW and above
• Integrated Steel Plants with capacity of 1 MTPA and above and
• Cement Plant with capacity of 3 MTPA and above
• Petroleum Refining Industries
and may be applied to projects in other sectors on a case by case basis.

The policy appears to apply equally to foreign companies operating in India as to domestic companies.

Wikipedia provides what it claims to be a current List of public sector undertakings in India at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Public_Sector_Undertakings_in_India

The policy directive itself may be found at http://moef.nic.in/downloads/public-information/corporate-env-res.pdf

Water quality an up and coming issue

The US administration announced this week that it is moving to tighten regulation of water quality. The new rules are likely to have greatest impact on those discharging directly or indirectly to the oceans or to major rivers and lakes. In the US jurisdiction over water quality is a major political issue.

The new US Environmental Protection Agency initiative is only one among many water quality initiatives that can be expected over the next five years. In Canada, within the next five years Gallon Letter expects provincial environment ministries to require additional pre-treatment of water before it is discharged to surface waters. Municipalities are toughening allowable discharges to sewers, in part to reduce treatment costs, in part to protect crumbling wastewater collection infrastructure, and in part to improve the quality of sludge and make it easier to dispose of it. Unfortunately, a willingness to accept environmentally undesirable industrial discharges may, in the short term, become a competitive factor among municipalities eager for industrial development.

Bearing in mind the priority now being given to water quality, we suggest it would be wise for companies expanding plants or building new facilities to incorporate as much movement towards zero discharge of contaminated wastewater as is economically viable within a ten year time frame.

for detail of the new US commitment visit http://yosemite.epa.gov/opa/admpress.nsf/0/2AB54D0018C3478A8525787F005B91FD

Addressing diesel vehicle emissions

An article in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives reinforces the need for owners of diesel vehicle fleets to address black carbon emissions. Black carbon particles from diesel engines, cookstoves used in developing countries, and open burning have been identified as a significant contributor to global warming, falling into a category of agents known as Short-Lived Climate Forcings. New research suggests that SLCFs may be as important as agents of climate change than carbon dioxide.

About 77% of the estimated 8,000 kilotons of black carbon emitted globally every year come from the developing world but developed country emissions are also important regional contributors. For example, North American diesel emissions are contributing to the melting of the Greenland ice pack.

One initiative that can help reduce black carbon emissions is the installation of particle filters on older diesel trucks, as has been mandated in California. However, the costs of doing this are high, averaging almost $6,000 per truck, and this is only one approach to reducing black carbon emissions. Another may be accelerated scrappage of older trucks. President Obama has recently cut  funding for truck retrofits and early retirement.

Gallon Environment Letter will  be following up with a more detailed article about SCLFs and climate change in a future monthly issue.

The EHP article is available at http://ehp03.niehs.nih.gov/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1289%2Fehp.119-a172

Gallon Environment Letter distributed today

The April issue of Gallon Environment Letter will be in emailboxes later today, if you are a paying subscriber, or tomorrow, if you are an Honoured Reader. The Honoured Reader edition  is our no-charge version with somewhat reduced content.

In this edition:
– analysis of party positions on the environment in this federal election campaign
– a summary of past Harper Government promises on climate change
– a review of the ‘open government’ issue
– the Canadian Index of Wellbeing
– Canadian Cancer Society joins the crusade against asbestos
– two letters to the editor, one on fuels and one correcting our mistake on toxic runoff in the Spring
– a review of the Ontario Environment Industry’s Still Ready to Grow report
– an overview of the Statistics Canada Households and the Environment Survey 2009
– cheap “environmentally-friendly” stone for drive and laneways creates a problem for users
– a funny story about a baby bullet!

As always, we welcome Letters to the Editor in response to any article or anything that should be an article.

The new issue of the Gallon Environment Letter will be posted at http://www.gallonletter.ca by the end of the month. If you would like to be on the Honoured Reader (free) subscription list beginning with the next issue send an email request to subscriptions@gallonletter.ca
Our online subscription order system is at http://www.gallonletter.ca/ and click on subscribe. 

US Post Office issues green stamps

Last week the United States Postal Service issued a set of first class postage stamps featuring simple ideas for people to reduce their environmental impact. The idea of using a frequently viewed label to increase social awareness of environmental issues and opportunities to reduce environmental footprints is one that Gallon Letter frequently recommends to brandowners and retailers.

The new US green stamps cover a range of issues:
– plant trees
– adjust the thermostat
– use public transportation
– buy local produce and reuse bags
– fix water leaks
– share rides
– turn off lights when not in use
– choose to walk
– compost
– dry washing on a line
– recycle more
– ride a bike
– plant trees
– insulate the home
– use efficient light bulbs
– adjust the thermostat
– maintain tire pressure
The overall theme. also on a stamp, is GO GREEN: reduce our environmental footprint USA .

USPS is something of a leader in corporate greening and is certanly setting an example for other companies. For more information visit http://www.usps.com/green/

More on Fracking Flap

The current issue of Gallon Environment Letter leads with a story on ‘fracking chemicals’, substances injected into the earth by oil and natural gas companies seeking to ‘fracture’ the rock so as to release oil and gas deposits contained within. Clearly there is a risk that the injected chemicals will contaminate groundwater reservoirs.

Now three Democratic Members of Congress have released a report on Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing. The report is a summary of information provided to the House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce by oil and gas companies.

Over a four year period from 2005 to 2009, the 14 leading oil and gas companies in the United States used 780 million gallons of hydraulic fracturing products, not including water added at the well site. According to the report, twenty nine of the chemicals used in fracking are known or suspected human carcinogens, regulated under the US Safe Drinking Water Act for their risks to human health, or listed as hazardous air pollutants under the Clean Air Act. The most widely used chemical was methanol, poisonous to humans and a volatile organic air pollutant.  Also widely used were benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene. These are commonly found in association with petroleum and petroleum activity: the first is a human carcinogen which the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment states has some probability of harmful effects on human health at any level of exposure and the remaining three are believed to have effects on the human central nervous system.

To Gallon Letter’s knowledge there has been no disclosure of fracking chemicals used in Canada that is at all equivalent to the admittedly incomplete information provided to the US Congress.

The complete report on Chemicals Used in Hydraulic Fracturing is available at http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Hydraulic%20Fracturing%20Report%204.18.11.pdf

A press release is at http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/index.php?q=news/committee-democrats-release-new-report-detailing-hydraulic-fracturing-products

The current issue of Gallon Environment Letter is available at http://www.cialgroup.ca/galloncurrent.htm

Toronto Green Living Show a worthwhile visit

Back in the ’80s and ’90s, Toronto offered several exhibitions specializing in environmental products. Most of those had disappeared by about the year 2000, in our guess because people go to a store to buy groceries, or cleaning products, or appliances, or gardening tools, rather than going to buy green products. We have become so accustomed to shopping in stores that specialize in a certain category of product that the idea of a store which specializes in greener products across a wide range of categories is somewhat challenging to us, especially when the range of greener products was still quite small. Even massive greener products exhibitions, such as Eco Expo in Los Angeles and some other cities in the ’80s and ’90s eventually died out for lack of interest.

For the last five years, the Green Living Show in Toronto has been trying to revive the idea of a greener product show and so far they have been having some success. The show has evolved since its beginning – for example, there are fewer large retailers and large pavilions, but for consumers interested in buying products with a lighter environmental footprint or learning more about the environment the show is still an interesting way to see a range of what is available in green products. The range of products exhibited is increasing and it seems that the number of unsubstantiated environmental claims is declining – not so much “greenwash” as there used to be.

The biggest attraction this year is probably the large number of hybrid and electric cars. Other highlights are renewable energy technologies and systems for homes, the always popular food displays, an ecological beer and wine corner with samples available for a small fee

In addition to exhibitor booths the Green Living Show offers a main stage with sessions on green jobs (noon – 1.30pm Saturday), toxic substances in beauty products (noon Sunday), eco fashion (1.00pm Sunday), renewable energy (2pm Sunday), and more sustainable food (3.45pm Sunday). There is a cooking stage with frequent presentations and other varied awards presentations during both remaining days of the show. An energy stage has frequent presentations on just about everything you might want to know about home renewable and alternative energy.

Allow at least two to four hours to visit the show, especially if you wish to sample some of the reasonably priced gourmet food products, and if it is a rainy day a family could easily spend a whole day taking advantage of the Green Living Show’s multitude of offerings.

The Green Living Show is open until 9.00pm on Saturday April 16 and from 10 am to 6pm on Sunday April 17th. Entry is $12 for adults and $9 for seniors and students but if you take some end-of-life electronics for recycling Samsuing will give you a ticket for free admission. For programs, more details about the show, and a list of scrap electronics that will get you in for free visit http://www.greenlivingonline.com/torontoshow/

Green MBA?

Canadian universities are not right up there with those offering a green MBA but opportunities do exist in the US and elsewhere. Among US universities offering a green MBA, an MBA which includes study of green environment and economic principles, are the following:

Alliant International University, California

Monterey Institute of International Studies, California

San Francisco State University, California

Stanford, California

University of Colorado at Denver

Colorado Technical University

Colorado State University

Yale University, Connecticut

George Washington University, DC

University of South Florida

South University, Georgia

Argosy University, Illinois

Dominican University, Illionois

University of Michigan

Antioch University, New Hampshire

Cornell, New York

New York University

University of North Carolina

Marylhurst University, Oregon

Portland State University, Oregon

Duquesne University, Pennsylvania

Green Mountain College, Vermont

University of Virginia

Bainbridge Graduate Institute, Washington State

Summary information and links are available at  http://www.greenmbaclasses.com

Other green MBA programs are available at some European universities and may be available at some Canadian MBA schools including York University’s Schulich School of Business, McGill University, and UBC.

We will be reviewing green MBA programs in a future issue of Gallon Environment Letter. Universities are encouraged to submit their green MBA program information to editor@gallonletter.ca for consideration.