Saturday, August 26, 2006

Electronics Regulation Expands Beyond EU

The EU's RoHS Directive prohibits import of consumer electronics containing lead (Pb), mercury (Hg), hexavalent chromium (Cr6+) or polybrominated biphenyl (PBB) and polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) at levels over 0.1%, or cadmium (Cd) at levels over 0.01%. EU's WEEE directive puts the responsibility for the disposal or recycling of consumer electronics back on the manufacturer.   China, Japan, and Korea have joined the European Union in expanding regulation of manufacturers and users of electrical and electronic products.  The U.S. again seems to be acting as a regulatory free-rider -- allowing stringent regulatory standards to be set by other countries -- and benefiting from those standards as multinational companies must respond strategically by international implementation of recycling and reuse programs.  For a description of Asian product-related environmental regulations, see Park Myth, Misunderstanding, Miscommunications and Mistakes - Fact and In-Depth Analysis of Product-Related Environmental Regulations on Electrical and Electronic Equipment in China, Japan and Korea Abstract

August 26, 2006 in Toxic and Hazardous Substances | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Water !!!

Check out Science's special issue on Freshwater Resources.  Oki and Kanae review current understanding of the hydrological cycle and how climate change affects freshwater abundance.  Other articles review freshwater resources in the Arctic, chemical contamination problems, progress in addressing water-borne infectious diseases and desalinization, large-scale water resources projects in China and India, and the politics of water resource management:

What's a Wetland, Anyhow?
Donald Kennedy and Brooks Hanson
Science 25 August 2006: 1019    Summary »    PDF »
News Focus:
HYDROENGINEERING: Going Against the Flow
Richard Stone and Hawk Jia
Science 25 August 2006: 1034-1037    Summary »    Full Text »    PDF »
News Focus:
HYDROENGINEERING: Controversial Rivers Project Aims to Turn India's Fierce Monsoon Into a Friend
Pallava Bagla
Science 25 August 2006: 1036-1037    Summary »    Full Text »    PDF »
WATER RESOURCES: For Our Thirsty World, Efficiency or Else
Sandra L. Postel
Science 25 August 2006: 1046-1047    Summary »    Full Text »    PDF »
Trajectory Shifts in the Arctic and Subarctic Freshwater Cycle
Bruce J. Peterson, James McClelland, Ruth Curry, Robert M. Holmes, John E. Walsh, and Knut Aagaard
Science 25 August 2006: 1061-1066    Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »    Supporting Online Material »
Global Hydrological Cycles and World Water Resources
Taikan Oki and Shinjiro Kanae
Science 25 August 2006: 1068-1072    Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
The Challenge of Micropollutants in Aquatic Systems
René P. Schwarzenbach, Beate I. Escher, Kathrin Fenner, Thomas B. Hofstetter, C. Annette Johnson, Urs von Gunten, and Bernhard Wehrli
Science 25 August 2006: 1072-1077    Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Waterborne Infectious Diseases—Could They Be Consigned to History?
Alan Fenwick
Science 25 August 2006: 1077-1081    Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Seeking Sustainability: Israel's Evolving Water Management Strategy
Alon Tal
Science 25 August 2006: 1081-1084    Abstract »    Full Text »    PDF »
Running Out of Water--and Time
John Bohannon
Science 25 August 2006: 1085-1087    Summary »    Full Text »    PDF »
Desalination Freshens Up
Robert F. Service
Science 25 August 2006: 1088-1090    Summary »    Full Text »    PDF »

August 26, 2006 in Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Stockholm Water Week blog | WaterAid

This is World Water Week in Stockholm.  Here are excerpts from the blog of Water Aid CEO Barbara Frost.  Link: Stockholm Water Week blog | WaterAid.

This week experts from 140 countries will address issues relating to water, environment, livelihoods and poverty reduction at the Stockholm World Water Week.

Day 3: Citizens' Action sparks action

23 August 2006

We were really pleased to see around 40 people attend our side event on WaterAid's Citizens' Action campaign. Citizen's Action helps poor people gain access to the water and sanitation services to which they are entitled by supporting them to hold their governments and service providers to account. 

The event was expertly chaired by Piers Cross from WSP Africa, an international partnership to help the poor gain sustained access to improved water supply and sanitation services, and was set in motion with a presentation by WaterAid UK's Policy Officer Peter Ryan and WaterAid Ghana's Head of Policy Abdul Nashiru Mohammed. In the presentation they outlined the initiative, its challenges and its impact on West Africa.

I was very impressed by the depth of interest in Citizens' Action and the enthusiastic discussion that followed the presentation in which contributions were made by a number of participants including members of African governments and civil society as well as major private sector operators. Interest in setting up and supporting Citizens' Action initiatives was generated too, which was especially pleasing.

There was a fascinating example today of the use of film to highlight critical issues in water and sanitation. Film speaks a universal language and so overcomes many barriers. Plus, the first Stockholm World Water Week Film Festival attracted a vibrant crowd which all served to give us food for thought on using film in our programme and advocacy work.

There also has been plenty of debate around energising UN Water, the committee charged with coordinating UN activities in water and sanitation. This harmonising goal is one which we support; strange then that there is a clamour to house a 'body' in a number of EU member states, when the need is solely a small coordination function?

Find out more about WaterAid's Citizens' Action campaign.
Day 2: Pushing the agenda

22 August 2006

World Water Week probably appears like chaos in action to someone looking in from outside. The days are long and intensive and there is a constant swell of people moving between seminars, workshops and meetings. Much of our business is done in corridors where we take opportunities for chance meetings to advocate and disseminate our policy positions.

In the gender seminar today, we took the chance to push WaterAid's agenda on issues of accountability as it resonates strongly in this context. Holding service providers and governments to account for poor service provision should lie at the heart of women's struggle to break free from poverty and disease.

We came to Stockholm with the aim of engaging in the ongoing discussions about the future of the European Union Water Initiative (EUWI). Some advocate that the delivery of basic services, including those of water and sanitation, should be included within an infrastructure partnership.

However, we believe strongly that this would lead to the EU diverting its gaze from the overriding issues of getting water and sanitation to the poor and urge others to lobby for the creation of a separate mechanism in the EU to help deliver this.

The other main items of the day included the launch of the Water Integrity Network, which brings corruption to the forefront of the sector agenda, and whether decentralisation is a pre-requisite for sustainable service delivery. It is noteworthy that almost 100 percent of contributors in this session believed it is.
Day 1: Staying focused

21 August 2006

At the 2006 Stockholm World Water Week, WaterAid will discuss the real water crisis facing over a billion people every day, a crisis not simply of scarcity but, crucially, of inequality.

WaterAid will demonstrate how accountability, securing local funding and catalysing local governments' capacities are all key to achieving a world where everyone has access to safe water and effective sanitation.

Our arrival in Stockholm coincided with the end of an eight week long drought and unusually high temperatures. Swedish Water Minister Carin J�mtin remarked that while these had been a matter of discomfort to Swedes, they are a matter of life and death to many people in the developing world. This struck a particular chord with me, as it's easy to lose sight of the issues at the heart of the problems when striving for solutions.

It was interesting to hear this year's Water Prize Laureate Professor Asit Bitwas, a man known for challenging the status quo, not mincing his words about the plethora of such gatherings, and challenging whether or not the $205 million he estimated had been incurred in implementing the Fourth World Water Forum in Mexico in March this year had bought a single drop of safe water to those who don't have it.

For this reason our attendance at these events is always a matter of carefully weighing up the likely benefits against the costs and we shall continue to measure whether or not we have achieved our objectives in coming to these gatherings.

The good sessions today were those that were rooted strongly in the realities of people's lives, and not those where abstract and depersonalised presentation made them detached from the experience of poor people.

Find out more about the Stockholm World Water Week.

August 24, 2006 in Water Resources | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Immediate Fulbright opportunities to visit China/Taiwan

Late applications for lecturing awards in




are being accepted in a variety of fields--especially law, American history, American literature, and American politics--on a case-by-case basis.  For information on these awards visit Scholars interested in exploring this possibility should send an e-mail expressing their interest to David Adams, or call him at 202-686-4021.  Please include your current CV as an attachment to the message.  Applicants must be US citizens and have 3-5 years of university teaching experience.  A submission deadline will be negotiated.


August 23, 2006 | Permalink | TrackBack (0)