30 September 2007

Aqua-motoring in Manly - an Accident Waiting to Happen

The aquatic space is used the same way as the terrestial space – just a space to rev motors along. Just as the asphalted Earth is becoming too congested to get anywhere, the little bays, coves and even beaches become race-courses to blow the abundance of fossil fuel away. Problem is, there are these pedestrians and wildlife 'cluttering up my road'. In the blue waterbodies and oceans, swimmers take the fun out of 'having a good spin'.

Whatever takes place on the roads, is taking place on the water. Out of control, under the influence of alcohol these motors are being steered into bodies. Here a child is being hit by a jet ski on their rubber duckie, there another gets their face shaved off by boat propellers. Another gets 'mangled' by a speedboat while swimming. Speeding jet skis on Narrabeen Lagoon endanger the life of people, as well as eliminating swans and pelicans. They even insist to race The Big Dry Murray.

In Manly the season for mixing water & petrol is truly open. At Manly Beach the fumes of the speeding 'life-saving' boats are breathtaking. The proximity to swimmers of all boats is a great danger to people in the water, at Shelly Beach and Manly Beach.

Robbing the public of walkways and green space

The land-grabs of foreshore Sydney is on everywhere. The small strip of green along East Esplande, Manly Cove is being conquered with the help of 4 WDRs and a lot of semi-commercial boating gear. Both the green strip and the pedestrian strip are being regularly squatted and people are excluded from using it. No one there to enforce the right of people walking (in the very few spaces set aside for them) and enjoying the Cove.
What would happen if one of these SUVs ran over a person on the 10 km/h
Why is the public excluded from using the green strip and their walk-way?
Watch them make an aqua-car park out of Manly Cove and the jetties swallow up the blue harbour. Count the boats...
Image: Manly Cove aerial shot via Google Images, 0807

28 September 2007

Convenience & Garbage at Manly Beach

Update at the end of the day at Manly Beach. Garbage all over the beach, overfull bins, smashed glass and flies everywhere, as every year. Such a convenient life style... (Flies via DotAtelier)

Plastic foods, cheap thrills & sensory deprivation

Stuck in the congested poodle-pram-parade at Manly Beach beach today. Double and triple decker prams, often with dogs in harness and undivided attention to their mobile.

Should the unmanageable brood get noticed, then their mouths get stuffed with highly processed and packaged food, or anything out of plastic. Drink and food come out of plastics for baby or toddler. The sugar and preservative rich diet makes the kids crazy and unmanageable, if the sheer number of kids per person is not manageable in the first place. Tantrum toddlers can all be put back in place in their restraining vehicles and pushed (ideally) away from oneself.

This highly nutritious life-sustaining diet is usually cooked up by many caring cooks. It is the processing and not even the cost of transport, that leaves a huge footprint on the environment. The impoverished and degraded Earth will later bestow a hot and life-less future on these offspring.

Should there still be any (hyper)-activity, then plastic toys or sedatives might do the trick. At lunch carers feast in eateries, while the kid is still restrained in its baby 4x4 isolation chamber. Keeping the 'kid busy' might be done by other restaurant patrons.

The food provided later on at school time is found to bedisgraceful by an food expert. Government sponsored educational campaigns to get parents not to feed them 'fizzy drinks and bags of chips' failed. Mums defied the program and are supplying junk food to (their) school children, it developed into a flourishing business to subvert that "low fat rubbish".

“...Reports of child abuse in Australia have doubled in the last five years ... That translates to one new case every two minutes.Restraining the development of motor skills, the age appropriate development of the CNS, language development and inappropriate foods would have to qualify as a form of abuse too.

Young babies can use visual clues to pick up on the community of language users if they are given a chance of face to face interaction. The jogging parent on their wearable, checking out the pack of dogs, is usually pushing the pram away from their gaze. The child/ren at the bottom of the double deckers has a very limited impression of the world. The ones seeing nothing but a black plastic gauze for the first bit of their life, might be 'in the dark' for some time.

Well, at the end of the day it is time to hose the many plastic toys down, give the dog a spin on the beach, pack the pram, plastic bikes, dogs etc into the 4WD and drive into a hot turbulent future.
Life in a pram with a fit mum
Global food crisis looms as climate change and population growth strip fertile land

27 September 2007

More on Sydney Water, Health and Pollution

Sydney water news:
A lot of googling for Sydney water, gastroenteritis, diarrhea and food poisoning.
The pond we are drinking from has a thick algae mat (HABSs) stretching 58 kilometres now. 75 % of Warragamba Dam is covered in this slimy growth. We put, so to speak a straw down the murky pond and suck. They have found "levels of microcystins, toxins that could cause skin irritations and stomach upsets in large doses." "The results are below the National Health and Medical Research Council guidelines."

Interesting news on water pollution (eutrophication) just out. Pouring our waste into the waterbodies leads to algae growths, this in turn leads to parasites, these enter amphibians and cause severe deformities. "What we found is that nitrogen and phosphorus pollution from agriculture, cattle grazing and domestic runoff have the potential to significantly promote parasitic infection and deformities in frogs."

Previous information on Water, Health and a dead World:
Sydney Drinking Water & Healthy Water Bodies II
Drinking water security, sewage and emerging bugs III
On the Use of Water - or the Creation of Dead Zones
Sick seals, sick ocean, sick people
Water, Food & Restaurants in Sydney

26 September 2007

Ivanhoe Park/ Manly Oval as source of noise pollution

The privatisation and intensification of public spaces is racing ahead in most urban places. Industrial commercialisation seeks out urban places (with infrastructure) where people aggregate. It relieves them of their money and is a 'block-buster' for the adjoining residential community.

Popcorn -Yoo Hoo!
Manly already has lost a lot of public space to sectional interests. At this stage Manly Council “has given its provisional supportto allow late night open-air movies in Manly Oval/ Ivanhoe Park. This small 'green space' already hosts a variety of sport, childcare and alcohol-related activities.
The impact of such a 'movie', blasting advertisements and films over the block would constitute noise trespass for the adjacent residents. Parking and traffic congestion, light spill/glare, littering, garbage, smashed glass and increased vandalism are sure to follow. The pumping noises of the large inflatable screen would further add to the outdoor noise pollution.

24/7 open air entertainment
The issue of noise is a serious health concern for people who live in this area. The strategies are not to prevent noise, but to manage, “regulate” it to acceptable noise intrusions in homes. Initial 'recommendations' , 'restrictions' and practices will find their way to a 24/7 open air entertainment in the end.

Noise kills
Noise complaints already have risen dramatically in the last few years. People do need a place to recuperate and sleep. The suburbs are already very loud and noise simply kills. If you don't like it, you might resort to complain. You can ring till your fingers are numb, if there is a response, then be ready for a bungle of noise experts and the muddle of the decibel haggle and a lot of silent buck-passing. There is no shortage of laws, regulations etc.

Vibrant Manly – Luv it or...
With the degradation of an 'residential area' the most sensible thing is probably to pass on the rest-less 'home' to the “vibrant community” that never sleeps, needs commercial entertainment 24 hrs and only lives off alcohol (and other stimulants). Then Manly is THEIR place!.

What's a park good for anyway?
And there is the poor park, already so built over and ruined by foreign water-loving pansies. It was once renowned for its beautiful native flora. More and more birds and possums get flattend on busy Raglan St. Many people might have moved there, because of the 'quite green space'.The authorities will probably do a professional flora and fauna impact study before further developing the 'park'.

EPA, Noise Management, NSW
EPA, Noise Guide for Local Governmnt
WHO, Noise & Health, EU
Noise and Health Journal
Noise concerns expressed at North Sydney ,0507(pdf)
'Acoustic Management Strategy' example for “Open Air Entertainment” 0807 (pdf)

24 September 2007

Plants of Manly

A rare climbing orchid, Erythrorchis cassythoides (image) is still in Manly, getting its carbon supply via root fungi.

Eucalyptus camfieldii also still there, a few older trees.

Helichrysum elatum (White Paper Daisy) at the end of the flowering season.

Who needs all this impoverished monoculture of lawn and pink pansies?

21 September 2007

Birds & Co in Manly

are in full swing in Manly

Reducing risks when eating out

The right to know.. What's in the stuff, where is it from?
Occasionally restaurants specify the origin or the quality of their produce.
Free-range eggs being the most commonly declared product in Manly. Most other ingredients, one has to trust, but one can not engage in informed consent. If one does not want to consume food with detrimental health effects, there is very little information provided.
In Australia alone, more than $1 billion worth of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides are applied each year.“ Part of food literacy might also be that one would like to know the origin and treatment of the food and the ecological footprint of the resource.
In various cities people eat local now, even restaurants offer locally produced foods.

Menus with imagination and consideration would be appreciated. Instead it often is the usual fish&seafood-mash up, platters full of lobster by the kg or just meat. Vegetarian dishes containing protein are as rare as organic vegetables on the menus.

Bugs in food and water can cause sickness and death - Sydney 'Gastro'
“In Australia, there are an estimated 5.4 million cases of food-borne illness every year In Queensland for example it has “...caused an estimated 10 deaths and 750 hospitalisations in the state every year.” In Sydney, customers do not seem to have a right to know which eateries did not pass as “ the names were best kept secret as revealing them could damage the businesses unnecessarily.“

Over 80% of foodborne gastroenteritis due to ‘known’ pathogens is caused by pathogenic E.coli, norovirus, Campylobacter and non-typhoidal Salmonella. 32% of all gastroenteritis may be transmitted via contaminated food. Foodborne gastroenteritis results in about 1.2 million people visiting the doctor, 300,000 prescriptions for antibiotics and 2.1 million days of work lost each year.” (pdf) Water as well as food is of course a medium of possible transmission.

Hygiene – as infrastructure and practice

A measure for good hygiene in eateries (or anywhere) are the bathrooms. Facilities and updated cleaning are essential. There seems to be a general decline in the tradition of washing hands (properly, video), often the infrastructure to do so for staff and clients is also lacking.
Recently it was
overheard in Manly that a small boy wished to wash his hands after a pee. His male carer convinced him that it is not important. With eateries that do not offer a lavatory one is forced to use the public ones which are in dubious states.
Having (lap-)dogs on seats or eating off dishes is common and a health hazard.

Olfactory assaults
As most bathrooms lack windows some businesses offer 'air freshner sprays' in
each cubical. This practice seems more hazardous (pdf) than the previous fumes, the artificial volatile chemical vapours have been distributed into the small confined space. Some of the effects of Volatile Organic Compounds are: ”Eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches, loss of coordination, nausea; damage to liver, kidney, and central nervous system. Some organics can cause cancer in animals; some are suspected or known to cause cancer in humans

More cocktails to inhale
Other ambient pollutants in Manly are of course air and noise pollution from motor vehicles, which often gets topped up with gas/fire heaters (even unflued inside). Occasionally 'romantic' candles add to the cocktail of pollutants. “ Paraffin-based candles.. tend to use wicks which are made with a metal core like zinc or possibly lead." Passive smoking is still an issue, while trying to smell and taste your food. As reported before, most eateries reserve the fresh-air area for people polluting the air. Just where the air is to enter the premise, the combined toxic fumes of the smokers enter the 'non-smoking part' and accumulate there.

Mental spam pollution – while having a drink
Apart from many neon-lit 'convenience' places springing up, another new form of enforced attention grabber has sprung up. Huge screens peddling 'solid state spam', unwanted and unwelcome messages "

It would be advisable to have ecological and ethical audits for businesses, as well as for municipalities, to encourage an open transparent communication with their clients that is sustainable and reciprocal.

See also: Manly Restaurants and Eateries - a Wishlist

-"...Three-quarters of the world's fish stocks have been over-exploited, mainly by commercial fishing"
- Disclosure on industrially 'farmed fish'
- Choosing sustainable seafood, ca
- Food, Mindfully
- Public rating of restaurants, web 2.0
- One Los Angeles menu boasts dishes where 90 percent of the ingredients were raised within 400 miles.

14 September 2007

Bits - Australia, Biodiversity & Human Rights

Australia as champion in eradicating life of Earth
Life on Earth is being eradicated by human action. Winners in this 'hall of shame' are: Australia, Brazil, China and Mexico.
People, either directly or indirectly, are the main reason for most species’ decline. Habitat destruction and degradation continues to be the main cause of species’ decline, along with the all too familiar threats of introduced invasive species, unsustainable harvesting, over-hunting, pollution and disease. Climate change is increasingly recognized as a serious threat, which can magnify these dangers... Our lives are inextricably linked with biodiversity and ultimately its protection is essential for our very survival."
via Science Daily
2007 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species report

Australia opposes human rights declaration
Indigenous people's rights to self-determination and human rights are guarded by the United Nations. “ Indigenous peoples say their lands and territories are being threatened by such things as mineral extraction, logging, environmental contamination, privatisation and development projects, classification of lands as protected areas or game reserves and use of genetically modified seeds and technology....Indigenous advocates note that most of the world's remaining natural resources - minerals, freshwater, potential energy sources - are found within Indigenous peoples' territories.“ (abc)Images: Weedy Sea Dragon, Manly sculpture and one of the dead ones at Manly Beach 2007

13 September 2007

The world as a car park - hot and oozing toxins running into our water streams

A growing amount of the Earth is sealed with non-absorbent surfaces to ease the flow of automobiles. The result is warmer urban temperatures and polluted water ways.

Bryan Pijanowski found that in a mid-size shire “...parking spaces outnumbered resident drivers 3-to-1 and outnumbered resident families 11-to-1”. Car parking spaces were “...larger than 1,000 football fields, or covering more than two square miles. Car parks “... turn out about 1,000 pounds of heavy metal runoff annually. Leaking car batteries and airborne fumes all found their way to the impervious surface and then to the next water body.

The temperature in these areas is raised by '2 to 3 degrees Celsius'. The researcher reminds us that 'land is not unlimited ' and we should “ seek a lifestyle that requires less automobile use”.

Australian research has looked in detail at what is running down these hard surfaces to the beach and other waterways. “Roads make up about one-fifth of the urban land area”. They claim that the run-off is a cocktail of toxic waste. Rain or any other liquids then wash these poisons into the water bodies. “ The dust then enters the waterways, silting up creeks, ponds and wetlands.”

They found 20 chemicals on Sydney's road surfaces, such as:

Authorities are focused on the immediate risk to humans from sewage contaminating stormwater systems, and the immediate risk to waterways from nutrients.It is of urgency that they would have to manage these new types of contaminants (PAHs).

Convention on POPs

Antarctic Seals on Sydney Beaches - “ The anatomy of a sea lion is not too dissimilar to the human anatomy”

Pack-ice animals in Sydney?
The arrival of seven 'debilitated' sub-Antarctic Leopard Seals on the coast of NSW is unprecedented. Two Leopard Seals, malnourished, injured and near death, were washed on to Sydney's beaches (Wattamolla, Clovelly Beach) recently. Scientists are 'baffled' about the “seven animals in the last two months” which are out of their habitat. Living on Antarctic ice shelves normally they are 'out of place'. ”If they get this far north, they are very sick.” said a NPWS wildlife management officer.
The Leopard Seal (Hydrurga leptonyx) inhabits Antarctic pack ice as most of the time as a top predator catching Penguins, Squid and Krill. Antarctic Krill makes up 45 % of its diet, for which the species has specially adapted teeth.

Inhospitable coasts – nowhere to rest
Seals in distress, being marine and terrestial are in need of rest. On a densely populated coast, 'real estate' for seals only remains in name as 'Seal Rocks'. Authorities implore the public to allow animals to rest ("hauling-out") on the foreshore and not allow their dogs to savage and harass them. A fur seal also had to be disentangled out of a shark net recently. 'Fishing gear and plastic litter' are the other human-made hindrances for these marine mammals.

Krill- the stuff that feeds most
Krill are the keystone species of the food web for many, such as Leopard Seals, whales, penguins, squid and fish. The bioluminescent Antarctic Krill grazes on drifting algae and small zooplakton. “ Most krill species display large daily vertical migrations, thus feeding predators near the surface at night and in deeper waters during the day.” Like a lawnmower, they also “scrape the green lawn of ice -algae from the underside of the pack ice.”

Human induced changes on the planet:
Human activities heating up the planet, deprive the inhabitants of these extreme cold regions, of their habitat. The melting ice and associated higher temperatures are a threat to the fauna.

Effects of a changed globe:
The 'Death March of the Penguins' in the Antarctic continues, numbers are dwindling. “As cracks, gaps and relocated chunks appear, it becomes harder and harder for penguins to forage under the ice for Krill or make their way quickly to the water.“ Landlocked animals cannot reproduce. Where penguins interface with human dwellers (Tasmanian coast) and their pets, the outcomes are predictable: “Dogs are capable of killing a penguin just by closing their jaws on the penguin's skull… A few years ago, 50 to 60 penguins were killed by dogs in one night."

At the Earth's northern region: the Arctic
Seals are running out of ice lairs for their pups, both polar bears and indigenous hunters will get to feel their absence as a direct effect of the warming.

With the disappearance of the sea ice, walruses are out of solid ground. ”Pinnipeds are carnivorous aquatic mammals that use flippers for movement on land and in the water. All pinnipeds must come ashore to breed, give birth and nurse their young. That platform has been shrinking.”

'Skinny' Grey Whales - warmer temperatures and vanishing sea ice are forcing them to find non-customary food sources.” But switching food could expose them to parasites that contribute to their emaciated condition

Bering Sea wildlife species are threatened by an array of complex problems, including commercial fishing, global climate change and pollution ”. 12 % of all vertebrates are at risk.

Homeless beings, out of food and rest get sick
Malnourished seals, whales and penguins, struggling to reproduce also have to live in water bodies saturated with pathogens and toxins. A weakened immune system is more susceptible to pathogens.

The case of toxic algae and bacteria pandemic killing seals
There has been “... a steady upswing in beach strandings and mass die-offs of whales, dolphins and other ocean mammals on U.S. Coasts...More than 14,000 seals, sea lions and dolphins have landed sick or dead along the California shoreline in the last decade. So have more than 650 gray whales along the West Coast. ” It was found that seals had ingested toxic algae bloom accumulated in anchovies and sardines. “ The surge in mortality has coincided with what Florida wildlife pathologist Greg Bossart calls a "pandemic" of algae and bacteria...” Fuelled by human waste and other nutrients of coastal areas the 'bad bugs' explode. “Toxic algae thrive on the same elements that turn lawns green and make crops grow — nitrogen, phosphorus and iron

One bug, Pseudo-nitzschia, covering '155 square miles of coastal waters produces' a potent neurotoxin. Anchovies and sardines eat the red tide organisms unharmed, but if they in turn get eaten by seals, they get the accumulated toxic dose. The domoic poisoning disorients the animals and they lose orientation. “Some swam hundreds of miles out to sea and were never seen again, bizarre behavior for creatures that spend their lives in coastal waters.” Usually, they are emaciated , disoriented, suffer seizures, and finally the hippocampus becomes severely atrophied. One is reminded, that “ The anatomy of a sea lion is not too dissimilar to the human anatomy.”

The displacement of the inhabitants of the Antarctic and Arctic might be a sign that the Earth is being turned into a hot and in-hospitable place for all, a primordial atmosphere.


On the Use of Water - Or the Creation of Dead Zones
Drinking Water & Healthy Water Bodies Pt II
Drinking water security, sewage and emerging bugs III

- Altered Oceans, Kenneth R. Weiss, Usha Lee McFarling and Rick Loomis (Toxic algae that poison the brain have caused stranding and mass die-offs of marine mammals — barometers of the sea's health.)
- Penny Chisholm,
Video: The Invisible Forest: Microbes in the Sea
- Earth Observatory, NASA

10 September 2007

Drinking water security, sewage and emerging bugs III

Growing population centres and the inefficient use of water is “the greatest threat to waterways”. Mega cities, such as L.A., are “growing too fast for its water resources”.

With the advent of agriculture, and its associated urbanisation people exchanged their produce as well as “parasites and infectious diseases.” (J.Diamond) Dense aggregation of people, changed water and land scapes aiding disease transmission. Road construction projects are the 'highways for diarrhea' as such.” When fecal-oral pathogens meet human poverty and dislocation, diarrheal diseases are a predictable outcome.”

Today sewage infrastructure in Australia has not kept pace with the rapid sprawl on the dryest continent. Demand for drinking water outstrips supply. “If we keep taking more water, we're going to be looking at increased salinity, toxic algal blooms, fish killssome warn. Add to the algal blooms suburban sewage and one has fuelled the growth of microbial harmful agents. The security of drinking water and the health of the (coastal) population could be compromised.

Urban health, a main achievement of civilisation, was only made possible through modern sewage and water treatment systems. Back in the mid 19th century an amateur scientist found the connection between contaminated drinking water and sewage bacteria in Europe. The cholera (Vibrio cholerea ) epidemic was transmitted to humans by water. “...An outbreak of the disease is evidence that people have been drinking each other’s feces. Much of modern civilization has been geared toward making sure that this doesn’t happen.” The 1854 epidemic of London was “killing more than ten percent of the population there in a matter of eight days”. Many of the people who lost their lives were well known.The source of the contaminated drinking water was traced to a street pump. The disease thriller The Ghost Map tells us of the mash up. In many ways, the story...is all about the triumph of a certain kind of urbanism in the face of great adversity, the power of dense cities to create solutions to problems that they themselves have brought about (video)

In some developing countries today, such as in China “...more than half the country's population of 1.3 billion people, including 278 cities, live without any form of sewage treatment.Access to uncontaminated drinking water, in developing and OECD countries might not be guaranteed in the 21 century. Ailing or non-existent sewage infrastructure might compromise the health of the global mega city. Here are some random recent examples:

In the small, historic bay settlement of Apulia (Italy) they just had a resurgence of waterborne disease.“ The outbreak of viral gastroenteritis (norovirus)... is probably the largest one associated with drinking tap water in Italy.

At the moment " We are seeing a wave of multiple outbreaks that is already spreading across Australia....Noroviruses have accounted for a five-fold increase in infectious gastroenteritis cases in recent years.” The virulent strain norovirus 2006b occurs especially in places where people aggregate densely. (Nursing homes, hospitals and child-care centres and cruise liners.) ” Transmission of caliciviruses is generally by the fecal-oral route, but they can also be transmitted via the respiratory route.”

Acute gastroenteritis (AGE) is now a global phenomena. Other water bugs, such as cholera, typhoid etc can spread under unsanitary conditions to infect water. The diarrhea enters the drinking water via the ground water supply. V. cholerae, lives in water bodies on plankton...”Coastal cholera outbreaks typically follow zooplankton blooms.Eutrophication fuels the thick carpets floating on the world oceans, a rich nutrient culture for (re-)emergent microbial diseases.

Matching infrastructure with population growth, systemic security of drinking water, hygiene, OHS in an informed society could 'buy' another century of health. Treating the world's water bodies sustainably as a treasure would add to the water-security and food-security by simultaneously guaranteeing biodiversity. In cases of epidemics or pandemics, systemic and individual preparedness guarantees survival. In Australia “the water supply and sewage are a user-pays system that operate under a corporation”. Expert 'marketised scientific opinion' guide systemic decision-making.

Meanwhile huge chunks of water bodies are being distributed to 'water' coal mines and cotton fields. The 'privatisation bonanza' goes into full speed to 'finance big infrastructure plans'. The horse industry gets '110-million dollars compensation ' for the virus they had to endure.

On the Use of Water - Or the Creation of Dead Zones
Drinking Water & Healthy Water Bodies Pt II
Antarctic Seals on Sydney Beaches - “ The anatomy of a sea lion is not too dissimilar to the human anatomy”

Norovirus updates, EU
Norovirus, CDC
Cholera, Textbook

Sick City, Maps and mortality in the time of cholera, Steven Shapin, The New Yorker
Dr. Eisenberg studies infectious disease epidemiology with a focus on waterborne and vectorborne diseases.
Proper hand washing procedure
Neglected diseases
Safe Drinking Water is Essential, National Academy of Sciences
The 1832 cholera epidemic in East London
web 2.0, diy health sousveillance:
Health Map, outbreaks and epidemics by country and disease
Flue wiki
Disease alert, Googlemap
Who is Sick?, map web 2.0
Mobile preparedness

07 September 2007

On crossing roads in Manly and surviving it

For most of our centuries, walking was our primary means of locomotion. With the advent of motorised transport our known planet became restructured to suit the flow of these auto-mobile devices. People underwent a century of reprogramming their central nervous system in tune with the flow/jam of the 'traffic'. Children (video) and adults (video) were being instructed to fit in to motorised society.

In the meantime, the-to-be-negotiated-space is more akin to a war-zone. Armoured urban tanks ram places, plough into people and houses, mount curbs and pin pedestrians to the wall. Raised, with metal roo-bars they conquer every cm of the urban territory. Council attempts to stud pedestrian zones with iron posts. On the roads "The pedestrian remains the largest single obstacle to free traffic movement."

So it you do wish to cross a road with traffic lights in Manly, here is an instruction that might increase your chances of survival:

  • Wait till the traffic lights turn green for pedestrians, not breathing too much
  • Do not cross!
  • Check for cars, 4WDs, (especially the black ones with tinted black windows), because they might just want to go in spite of any lights.
  • Remember, they just throw in their weight.
  • If all seems clear and the lights haven't changed to red.
  • Run – looking right/left simulaneously.
Pedestrian Council of Australia
Perils for Pedestrians, videos
The End of Suburbia
Video via Endofsuburbia, "We're literally stuck up a cul-de-sac in a cement SUV without a fill-up" - James Howard Kunstler
Update 110907 Urban planner concludes:
"..Sydney's roads, footpaths and traffic light configurations all conspired to favour the car... They were a product of traffic engineering that was refined in the 1960s and '70s but never reviewed. Sydney pedestrians can spend as much time waiting to cross the street as they do on the move because the car has ruled the city unnecessarily for 30 years. Measures to alter the balance between drivers and walkers range from the radical - doubling tax on fuel - to the subtle - altering the configuration for turning left and right off thoroughfares."

04 September 2007

Drinking Water & Healthy Water Bodies Pt II

Sydney's drinking water,we are being told 'is no public health risk'.
"A, there is nothing we can do about it;

B, it's a perfectly natural phenomenon which is a response of lots of nutrients being washed into the water;
C, it's not toxic”.
The 'non toxic' growth of blue-green algae expanded over the weekend from 14 to 26 km (image) in Warragamba Dam. Daily 'water quality results' do not show up any 'blooming'.
While industry and government representatives are being instructed on 'water quality management and health risk reduction' the public is ensured that Microcystis aeruginosa (pdf) species is only 'potentially harmful', but you ”may notice a change in taste and odour.

Australia's Water Quality and Treatment states the following in its 'Blue Green Algae Guide (pdf)

Blue-green algae produce three main types of toxin:

Endotoxins are thought to produce allergic reactions, skin rashes, irritation of the eyes, and gastroenteritis.
Neurotoxins damage nerves and can cause muscle tremors, especially in the muscles animals and people need to breath.
Hepatotoxins damage the liver. They may also increase the risk of certain types of cancer.

To put the toxicity of blue-green algae in perspective, Microcystis, one of the blue-green algae found in Australian waters, produces a toxin called microcystinLR. Microcystin LR is 200 times more toxic than cyanide.

Blue-green algal toxins are colourless, odourless,and can remain present in the water weeks after the blue-green algae have disappeared. They are not destroyed by boiling affected water.”

A town water supply was closed down due to cyanobacteria (HABs) some time ago in NSW. WHO recommends that " levels of 10 cells mLˉ" of cyanobacteria should not get in contact with humans. “The major route of human exposure to cyanobacterial toxins is the consumption of drinking water” (WHO, pdf) Unfortunately we are not told the levels of Sydney's bloom in the drinking water or the ocean.

In some places “the highly toxic algae Microcystis aeruginosa” threatens human health. “Health experts warn that even modest exposure to the toxin produced by the algae, called microcystin, can lead to skin rashes, vomiting, and diarrhea.” Various stakeholders believe that “ the regional water board not only has the authority but the mandate to protect the public from toxins like these in water bodies.”

Once HABs are present in the 'red surf' of the ocean, the sea breeze blows toxic aerosol over the coastal residents. “During the red tide, admissions for pneumonia, bronchitis, asthma, sinus infections and similar afflictions rose 54%.” Surf club's sign read: "Some Red Tide = Coughs. Sneezes. Dead Fishes." People wear masks.
A scientific consensus is emerging that commercial agriculture and coastal development, in particular, promote the spread of harmful algae. They generate runoff rich in nitrogen, phosphorous and other nutrients that sustain these microscopic aquatic plants. In essence, researchers say, modern society is force-feeding the oceans with the basic ingredients of Miracle-Gro.”
Industrial society is overdosing the oceans with basic nutrients - the nitrogen, carbon, iron and phosphorous compounds that curl out of smokestacks and tailpipes, wash into the sea from fertilized lawns and cropland, seep out of septic tanks and gush from sewer pipes.”

Domestic, industrial and agricultural wastes - 'cultural eutrophication' stimulate the growth of HABs. The list of causes via non point source or Nonpoint Source Pollution seems endless:

Toxic algae thrive on the same elements that turn lawns green and make crops grow — nitrogen, phosphorus and ironSickness and mortality (pdf) is brought on to marine mammals, fish and birds. Dogs and livestock have been know to drop dead within 30 minutes.

There is a growing public concern about the environmental quality of most major rivers, estuaries and coastal waters near Australia's large population centres where discharges of industrial, domestic and agricultural wastes are raising the nutrient levels in the water." Some areas of Australian coasts are so polluted, that it “can cause selective inhibition of phytoplankton species

The long-term solution is reducing the volume of nutrients by controlling sewage, fertilizers, industrial effluents and agricultural runoff." (pdf) Transparent, accountability for the management of drinking water, water bodies and the ocean. Standards and monitoring for toxins. Bottom up, concerned stakeholders.

Pt I, On the Use of Water and the Creation of dead Zone
Drinking Water & Healthy Water Bodies Pt II
Drinking water security, sewage and emerging bugs III
Antarctic Seals on Sydney Beaches - “ The anatomy of a sea lion is not too dissimilar to the human anatomy”

Interesting reading/resources:
- Altered Oceans, Kenneth R. Weiss, Usha Lee McFarling and Rick Loomis
- Cyanobacterial toxins: Microcystin-LR in Drinking-water, WHO, pdf
- Drinking water facts: providing scientific information about drinking water for Australian communities
- Tribe, Fishermen, Conservationists Sue California over Toxic Discharges to Klamath River Groups want state to regulate PacifiCorp’s Algal Toxins
- Marine phytoplankton communities in the Australian region: current status and the future threats
- An Algae’s Tale - Three Billion Years of Gas Bubbles,Oxygen and, More Recently, Dog Doo (easy reading)
- Red Tide Image, NZ, MIT
- Daily Drinking Water Quality Results, Australia

Images: Water, Skeleton Installation 'Habibi' by Adel Abdessemed, video by dotAtelier