Environment

Jaguar released in Argentina to help endangered species

by Liliana SAMUEL Agence France-Presse BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AFP) – A jaguar named Jatobazinho was released into a national park in Argentina Friday as part of a program to boost the numbers of this endangered species. This was the eighth jaguar freed this year into Ibera National Park but the first adult male, said the environmental group Rewilding Argentina, which is behind the project. Jatobazinho weighs about 90 kilos (200 pounds) and has brown fur […]

EU moves to label nuclear, gas energy as ‘green’

BRUSSELS, Belgium (AFP) – The European Union is planning to label energy from nuclear power and natural gas as “green” sources for investment despite internal disagreement over whether they truly qualify as sustainable options. The proposal, seen by AFP on Saturday, aims to support the 27-nation bloc’s shift towards a carbon-neutral future and gild its credentials as a global standard-setter for fighting climate change. But the fact the European Commission quietly distributed the text to […]

Philippines lifts ban on new open-pit mines

MANILA, Philippines (AFP) – The Philippines has lifted a four-year ban on new open-pit mines, an official said Wednesday, in a bid to revitalise the country’s coronavirus-battered economy slammed by activists as “short-sighted”. The move sees the Philippine government reverse a ban imposed in 2017, when the then-environment minister blamed the sector for widespread ecological damage. Manila has since reversed course, encouraging mining investments to shore up government revenues as lockdowns and quarantine restrictions ravaged […]

‘A little aid would help’: Philippine typhoon survivors beg for food

by Ron LOPEZ Agence France-Presse SURIGAO CITY, Philippines (AFP) – Jennifer Vetonio stands on a road in the southern Philippines begging for money and food from passing drivers. A week after Super Typhoon Rai destroyed her house, she has not received a scrap of government aid. Hundreds of thousands of people are homeless after Rai cut a swathe through the vast archipelago last Thursday, knocking out power across entire islands and leaving desperate survivors pleading […]

Sea turtles return to Thailand’s shores during pandemic

by Sophie DEVILLER and Pitcha DANGPRASITH Agence France-Presse PHUKET, Thailand (AFP) – After laying eggs on a deserted Thai beach, a green sea turtle dives back into the turquoise-coloured waters of the Andaman Sea — a welcome sight for biologists who say the absence of tourists spurred the marine animal’s return. The turtle’s nesting was spotted in November by scientists. In about two months, the 100 eggs will hatch and babies will slide towards the […]

Cargo ship captain convicted over Mauritius oil spill

PORT LOUIS, Mauritius (AFP) – The captain and first mate of a bulk carrier that crashed into a coral reef off Mauritius, causing the Indian Ocean archipelago’s worst-ever environmental disaster, have been convicted of endangering safe navigation. The MV Wakashio, a Japanese-owned but Panamanian-flagged vessel, ran aground in July 2020, spilling more than 1,000 tonnes of toxic fuel into the pristine waters of Mauritius, coating mangroves, corals and other fragile ecosystems. The vessel’s Indian captain, Sunil Kumar […]

‘It’s no more’: Philippine surfing paradise wiped out by typhoon

by Ferdinandh Cabrera Agence France-Presse GENERAL LUNA, Philippines (AFP) – Resort and bar owners on a Philippine island popular with surfers and tourists were expecting a bumper Christmas holiday after Covid-19 restrictions finally eased. Then Super Typhoon Rai wiped them out. The strongest storm to hit the archipelago this year cut a swathe through Siargao, a tropical paradise known for its sandy beaches, big waves and relaxed vibe. Packing wind speeds of 195 kilometres (120 […]

Residents revolt against UK sewage dumping

by Martine PAUWELS Agence France-Presse BRIGHTON, United Kingdom (AFP) – Brighton, on England’s south coast, has been described as Britain’s hippest city, and is a haven for tourists, especially Londoners keen to escape the capital. But surfer Stu Davies says the waters off Brighton and along the Channel coast are less attractive, describing them as an “open sewer”. Human faeces, wipes and tampons are regularly discharged into seas and rivers, angering local residents who are […]

No mountain high enough: Study finds plastic in ‘clean’ air

PARIS, France (AFP) – From Mount Everest to the Mariana Trench, microplastics are everywhere – even high in the Earth’s troposphere where wind speeds allow them to travel vast distances, a study showed Tuesday. Microplastics are tiny fragments — measuring less than 5 millimetres — that come from packaging, clothing, vehicles and other sources and have been detected on land, in water and in the air. Scientists from the French national research institute CNRS sampled […]

Human cost of China’s green energy rush ahead of Winter Olympics

by Poornima WEERASEKARA Agence France-Presse BAODING, China (AFP) – Beaten, forced off their land, cheated out of money, and even falsely imprisoned — farmers in China say they are paying a heavy price as authorities rush to deliver on ambitious pledges to ramp up national green energy output. China has vowed the upcoming Winter Olympics 2022 will be the first Games to be run entirely on wind and solar energy, and have built scores of […]

Giant rubber whale helps Kiwi rescuers battle beachings

by Neil SANDS Agence France-Presse WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AFP) – A two-tonne rubber whale can take on a life of its own in the frigid shallows of a windswept New Zealand beach, particularly when a bedraggled group of would-be rescuers is trying to wrestle it into a harness. “Keep the blowhole clear… you’re too close to the tail, one swipe can do a serious injury to yourself and the whale,” an instructor yells as the […]

Sticky situation: Canada taps maple syrup reserves to meet soaring demand

by Anne-Sophie THILL Agence France-Presse LAURIERVILLE, Canada (AFP) – Pancake lovers, fear not. Strong demand for maple syrup after a poor Canadian harvest has created supply-side woes, but Quebec province is tapping its strategic reserves to keep the world awash in the sweet, sticky stuff. Experts are warning the shortages could be further compounded by climate change, which is already being blamed for last spring’s shorter and warmer sugaring season. To avoid shortages, the Quebec […]