from tyres damages aquatic habitats
Particles of rubber worn off vehicle tyres on roads
could be damaging aquatic habitats, killing off the organisms that
live in waterways, according to new research in the US.
Alison J Draper, an assistant professor of chemistry
at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania, has been investigating the
effect on the environment of tyre particles containing heavy metals
such as zinc and cadmium, hydrocarbons, latex and sulphur-containing
By leaving tyre particles in samples of water for
10 days and then filtered off, Draper created a 'leachate'. All organisms
that were exposed to the leachate in the laboratory, including algae,
duckweed, daphnia, fathead minnows and snails, died.
Draper is currently working on determining the levels
of rubber chemicals in water that cause sub-lethal effects such as
reproductive problems in snails and pre-cancerous lesions in minnows.
Although all of Draper's work has so far been conducted
in the laboratory, there is good evidence that tyre rubber has similar
effects on organisms living in real waterways along roadsides, she
Draper previously worked on diesel exhaust, and has
found that rubber particles from tyres can have a similar affect on
respiration, aggravating problems such as asthma or allergies.
27.11.02: "Dam decisions"
put Spain in the hotseat (WWF pressrelease)
Valencia, Spain At the close of the Ramsar Convention
on Wetlands (COP8), WWF welcomed Spain's commitment to take concrete
actions towards sustainable water management following a week of controversy
over its Spanish National Hydrological Plan, a highly damaging water
transfer scheme. The Plan's 118 dams and associated infrastructure
will destroy the Ebro Delta and many of Spain's richest wetlands.
This commitment was documented in a formal resolution at the meeting,
binding Spain to properly evaluate impacts on all wetlands, not just
designated Ramsar sites - wetlands of international importance - under
the Convention. WWF and partner NGOs have been putting pressure on
the European Union countries during the meeting to urge Spain to reconsider
"WWF will continue to call on Spain to honour its commitment
to the Convention and to consider alternatives to the Plan,"
said Jamie Pittock, Director of WWF's Living Waters Programme. "Proceeding
with a flawed Plan when alternatives exist and when long-term damages
to ecosystems and EU taxpayers' pockets are well-documented would
simply be unacceptable."
WWF is also pleased that the Convention ended with
a clear commitment to reduce bureaucracy by integrating its plans
and guidelines with programmes such as aid agencies' requirements
on water and poverty eradication around the world. This is a significant
step after the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held
in Johannesburg last August, which will allow more time and resources
to be focused on implementation. At present, countries often concentrate
resources into developing parallel sustainability plans under different
environmental programmes and treaties rather than implementing them.
In addition, WWF is happy that the meeting focused more on sustainability,
stressing that wetland protection is more than fencing off swamps
but also involves responsible decisions about managing all freshwater
resources. Broader issues such as water allocation, culture, and daily
livelihoods were tackled at the Convention.
"The Ramsar Convention is the oldest and most effective international
mechanism tackling freshwater issues, taking its place in the debate
on solving the global water crisis," said Mr Pittock. "Wetlands
management is directly related to clean water, enough water, and the
numerous raw materials that come from wetlands - the very things that
the SNHP jeopardizes."
Noting successes during the week, WWF lauds the Convention's
agreements to adopt a worldwide target to conserve 250 million hectares
of wetlands as 'Ramsar sites' by 2010, nearly a 150 per cent increase
of freshwater protected areas. In addition, Samoa and Palau officially
joined the Ramsar Convention during the meeting, reflecting strong
support from Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to protect marine
habitats as well as coastal wetlands such as mangroves, all incorporated
under the Ramsar Convention.
26.11.02: ENVIRONMENTAL NGOS PROTEST TO PRODI
OVER SPANISH WATER PLAN
Brussels, November 26
Five leading environmental umbrella organisations are calling on European
Commission President Romano Prodi to intervene over Spainís National
Hydrological Plan (NHP), which, according to the five, would contravene
EU environmental legislation, and could cost EU tax payers up to seven
billion Euros. The European Environmental Bureau, the Worldwide Fund
for Nature, BirdLife International, Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace
have sent a letter asking Mr Prodi to ensure that EU laws and procedures
are not violated by the Plan, and urging him to safeguard the trust
of European citizens in the Commission, as the "guardian of the EU
The five groups assert that the Spanish plan not only contravenes
the EUís Sustainable Development Strategy, but also the Water Framework
Directive, several articles of the EU Treaty, and several pieces of
the environmental Acquis, as well as overall EC/EU commitments under
International Conventions, including the Aarhus Convention. Numerous
complaints to this effect have already been lodged with DG Environment.
The plan is also likely to lead to infringement of the Birds and Habitats
Directive, the letter adds.
"This is a crucial test of the European Commissionís commitment to
Sustainable Development," said spokesman Stefan Scheuer, on behalf
of the five. "President Prodi needs to give the NHP dossier the highest
possible priority within the Commission, and make sure that an evaluation
process is carried out in a fully transparent and consultative way.
The Commission must also ensure that public participation and access
to environmental information are upheld in Spain on this matter, according
to EU law and international conventions." There was a complete lack
of consultation about the NHPís effects on the environment before
its approval by the Spanish government.
The plan proposes the building of multiple dams and reservoirs across
the country to redirect water from the north of the country to the
south, in order to increase water-intensive agriculture and tourism.
Spain intends to obtain EC funding for at least 30% of the investments
required to develop the projects making up the NHP, and Community
money has already been indirectly used to build some of the dams and
reservoirs. Further information from: Stefan Scheuer, EEB water coordinator,
firstname.lastname@example.org ; tel: +32 2 289 1304 / fax 289 1099.
The letter sent by the five organisations to Commission President
Prodi can be found on www.eeb.org
, together with additional background information about the Spanish
National Hydrological Plan.
see also our
Webpages on the PHN in english and french
25.11.02: China: a gigantic
water transfer project
By Associated Press
November 25, 2002, 10:12 PM EST
BEIJING -- China has approved a multibillion dollar
project to pump water from its verdant south to the arid north in
a plan that would be China's largest water diversion effort.
State media on Tuesday quoted Water Resources Vice
Minister Zhang Jiyao saying the construction was ready to begin and
an initial segment could be finished by 2005.
"The south-to-north water diversion project is
a mega-project that is strategically aimed at realizing the optimal
allocation of water resources," Zhang was quoted saying in the
English-language China Daily.
The project aims to relieve growing demand for water
in Beijing and other key northern cities that are home to about half
of China's population and important grain growing and industrial regions.
An idea credited to communist China's founder Mao
Zedong, the plan would build three massive north-south aqueducts to
pump water from the Yangtze, the world's third-largest river. Together,
the three channels would pump 48 billion tons of water a year -- enough
to fill New York City's taps for a quarter century, according to a
comparison with New York state figures.
In the first phase, Yangtze water will be pumped to
parched Shandong province by 2005, the official Xinhua News Agency
said. Yangtze water will reach Beijing by 2010, it said.
The scale of the project has raised questions about
possible negative effects on the environment, as well as the economic
strain it will place on China's developing economy. China says the
first two of the three man-made rivers will cost more than $18 billion,
while the total expenditure could exceed that of the Three Gorges
Dam, which is expected to cost $24 billion.
Illustrating the difficulty of building the third
diversion route, which would pass near mountains on the Tibetan plateau,
the entire project won't be completed until 2050, China Daily said.
Critics said China's leaders have been too keen to
adopt grand, landscape-altering mega-project when smaller scale water
works and improved management could solve much of the problem.
Copyright © 2002, The Associated Press
23.11.02 : extraits interview de M.
Delmar Blasco, Président de la Convention Ramsar, lors de la
8ème Conférence de Valencia.
M. Delma Blasco rapproche la préservation
des zones humides avec l'éradication de la pauvreté
Il s'oppose à la redistribution des ressources hydriques pour
éviter les dégâts environnementaux.
d'infos (more infos in french and spanish)
23.11.02 : Présentation d'un
projet du transfert du Rhône jusqu'à Barcelone par canalisation
sous-marine. Celle-ci pourrait éventuellement servir au
transfert d'eau en direction des îles Baléares et descendre
plus bas encore vers le sud du pays.
Plus d'infos (more infos
20.11.02 : Le Président
du Gouvernement Valencien (la Generalitat Valenciana), José
Luis Olivas, se montre préoccupé par le financement
européen des ouvrages prévus dans le Plan Hydrologique
National (PHN), suite à la décision d'élargir
l'Union Européenne à de nouveaux pays.
Il a reçu hier une délégation de chefs d'entreprise
des régions de Valence, Murcia et Almeria qui ont constitué
un consortium pour défendre et accélerer la réalisation
du PHN. M. Olivas souhaite que les travaux commencent le plus rapidement
possible afin de ne pas perdre le financement européen. Soit
environ 30% des 4 200 millions d'euros nécessaires à
la construction de la canalisation de déviation de l'Ebre de
la Catalogne jusqu'à Almeria.
Source : article de F. RICÓS.Las Provincias
Absence du Ministre de l'Environnement espagnol lors de l'ouverture
de la 8ème conférence de la Convention RAMSAR.
Les organisations écologistes critiquent
l'absence du Ministre de l'Environnement espagnol, Jaume Matas, lors
de l'ouverture de la 8ème Conférence de la Convention
Ramsar à Valencia. Ce manque d'attention du Gouvernement espagnol
pour cette réunion internationale, organisée par et
dans son pays et réunissant des délégations de
plus de 100 pays pour la protection des zones humides, serait du à
la volonté d'éviter un débat contradictoire sur
le Plan Hydrologique National espagnol (PHN), lors d'un forum de dimension
18.11.02 : Artur Mas, le numéro 2
du Parti Convergencia y Unio au pouvoir en Catalogne, va faire mardi
19 novembre, la demande du transfert du Rhône auprès
du gouvernement central de Madrid. Cette demande
ne semble pas passer par le Parlement Catalan et n'aurait donc aucun
caractère officiel pour l'instant. Elle aurait lieu lors de
la journée "L' Eau des Alpes pour la Catalogne" ("Aigua
dels Alps per a Catalunya") organisée à Barcelona
le 19 novembre par l' EuroCongrès et la Fondation Occitanie-Catalogne.
Site de l'EuroCongrès
2000 et de la Fondation Occitanie-Catalogne
- D'autre part, le Conseil exécutif
de la Généralitat Catalane doit approuver ce mardi 19
novembre le projet du transfert du Rhône pour l'envoyer à
Madrid pour qu'il soit inclus dans le Plan Hydrologique National.
Mais le Parti Convergencia y Unio (CIU) se retrouve très isolé
dans son appui à ce projet. Même le Parti Popular Catalan
semble rejetter celui-ci, préférant la solution du transfert
de l'Ebre et le maintien ferme du PHN. Le Parti Popular du gouvernement
central rappelait récemment clairement sa position par la voix
de Jaume Matas, le Ministre de l'Environnement, qui déclarait
que le transvasement de 1 050 hm3/an de l'Ebre est "irréversible".
Le transfert du Rhône est également mal vu par les partis
de gauche. Le Parti Socialiste Catalan a déclaré qu'il
ne souhaitait ni le transfert de l'Ebre, ni celui du Rhône.
Pour le porte-parole de la Plataforma en Defensa de l'Ebre(PDE), Manolo
Tomás, "si ce transfert était
réalisé, on perdrait une opportunuité historique
de lancer une gestion de l'eau en accord avec les intérêts
réels de la société."
18.11.02 : Artur Mas, the number 2 of the
politic party "Convergencia y Union" at the head of the
Cataluna region, will ask tomorrow, tuesday november 19, the Rhone
water transfert, near of the central government of Madrid.
This demand doesn't seem to be official, because it
won't be made by the Catalan Parliament. It will be made during the
meeting day "The Alps Water for the Cataluna", organised
tomorrow in Barcelona by the EuroCongres2000 and the Foundation Occitany-Cataluna.
Website of Eurocongres
2000 and of the Foundation Occitany-Cataluna.
17.11.02 : MARCHE DE L'EBRE et DU RHONE
: 17 000 marcheurs à l'étape de Tortosa (Delta de l'Ebre).
L'étape du dimanche 17 novembre de la Marche
de l'Ebre et du Rhône s'est déroulée ainsi :
de Xerta à Roquetes, 200 marcheurs sur 12 kms,
de Roquetes à Tortosa, 17 000 marcheurs sur quelques kms.
Maria Lloveras, de la POT catalane (Plateforme d'Opposition aux Transferts)
et Christophe Tomati, de ERN, ont pris la parole pour dénoncer
le transfert du Rhône en Catalogne, au nom du bassin cédant
et du bassin récepteur.
MARCHA OF THE EBRO AND RHONE : 17 000 walkers during the stage of
Tortosa (Delta of Ebro).
The stage on sunday november
17 of the Ebro and Rhone Marcha was also :
from Xerta to Roquetes : 12 kms made by 200 walkers.
from Roquetes to Tortosa : few kms made by 17 000 walkers.
Maria Lloveras, from the Catalan POT (Plataforma d'Opposicion als
Transferts) and Christophe Tomati, from ERN, spoke to denunce the
Rhone water transfert, in the name of the water sending basin and
the water receptor basin.
Hydropower Project: Alcoa, developing a $3 billion smelter, buys Icelandic-Norwegian
Friday, November 15, 2002
By Richard Middleton, Associated Press
REYKJAVIK, Iceland - Alcoa Inc., planning a US$3 billion
aluminum smelter project in Iceland, said Thursday it had bought an
Icelandic-Norwegian development company that had been considering
the feasibility of such a smelter.
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa, the largest aluminum producer in the world,
did not reveal the price it paid for the Reydaral company, but the
Icelandic daily Morgunbladid reported it was US$6.9 million.
"The sale of Reydaral gives us access to some
first-rate environmental research that was conducted and is an important
step forward," Alcoa spokesman Jake Siewert said. "However,
we still have a lot of work to do and to continue to consult with
the (Icelandic) ministries about how our plant will actually be designed."
Reydaral, previously owned by Haefi and Norsk Hydro,
had been assessing the feasibility for an aluminum smelter at Reydarfjordur
in east Iceland.
In July, Alcoa and the Icelandic government signed
a declaration of intent to build a power plant and smelter called
the Karahnjukar Hydropower Project in east Iceland.
The development is expected to provide 2,000 construction
jobs and up to 1,000 permanent positions in an area of Iceland that
suffers from high unemployment. The proposal, which is expected to
be finalized in the New Year, involves building 11 dams and a 22-square
mile (57-square km) reservoir north of the Vatnajokull glacier.
Despite protests by environmentalists, including the
mother of Icelandic pop diva Bjork, work has already started on building
access roads and tunnels for the scheme.
The area under threat is home to reindeer, rare geese,
and plants, and has glacial rivers, snow-covered volcanoes and deep,
Arni Finnsson, director of the Icelandic Conservation
Association, greeted the news of the Reydaral sale with dismay.
"It means that Alcoa is not listening to the
real concerns of Icelanders and that the company has no concern for
Icelands environment," he said. "The project will lead to
the destruction of perhaps the most important wilderness areas left
in Europe. It has to be stopped and our campaign goes on," said
Finnsson, who is also spokesman for the World Wildlife Fund in Iceland.
Copyright 2002, Associated Press
All Rights Reserved
Saumon : recherche, avenir et développement de la Salmoniculture
du Haut Allier
Lancé à l'occasion de l'inauguration
de la Salmoniculture du Haut Allier le 10 juillet 2001, le projet
de Fondation Saumon - représenté à ce jour par
une association de préfiguration - se fixe pour objectif premier
de sauver le saumon, ce notamment en garantissant la pérennité
de la salmoniculture (*).
Au-delà de cette mission de base, la Fondation
Saumon souhaite sensibiliser tous les publics aux enjeux environnementaux
- et plus particulièrement à l'importance de la qualité
de l'eau - et, à terme, développer une économie
durable autour du saumon. Le tout en valorisant l'image d'entreprises
partenaires soucieuses de la protection de l'environnement. Une structure
originale, qui bénéficie déjà de nombreux
soutiens, publics et privés.
Pour en savoir plus : http://www.sophie-benoit.com/saumon/dos01.html
09.11.02 : Espagne/France:
Marches (Marcha al mediterraneo) against water transfers are on their
way, on the Ebro and Rhône rivers, heading to Valencia for the
Ramsar Convention on November 24th.
The Ebro basin march started on October 30th et the
one from the Rhône river in France started today (November 9th)
All the marches will converge in the Ebro delta before
going together to Valencia for the Ramsar Convention on November 24th.
Theyr are organised by the Spanish NGOs COAGRET, la
Plateforma en Defensa del Ebre, WWF Spain, Ecologistas en accion,
in collaboration with ERN, the European Rivers Network.
More information on
30.10.02: Upgrading dams
could light 30 million US homes
USA: October 30, 2002
NEW YORK - While solar and wind power capture the fancy of environmentalists,
the hunt for new cheap, renewable sources of electricity needs to
look no further than existing dams.
According to Voith Siemens Hydro Power, campaigning to upgrade generating
equipment at the nation's hydropower projects, an additional 30,000
megawatts could be squeezed from those dams, enough to run about 30
30.10.02: The European Water
Framework Directive: An Approach To Integrated River Basin Management
Article by Dr Martin Griffiths, recently published on European Water
Management Online (EWMO).
The Water Framework Directive is the most significant piece of European
water legislation for over twenty years. It will update most of the
existing water legislation in Europe and was a feature of the key
water initiative at the World Summit in Johannesburg in August. The
concepts of river basin management have been central to the approach
taken by the UK Government, the Environment Agency, the UK water industry
and its predecessors. The paper will review the key principles of
the Directive, its implementation in the UK and its applicability
to other international river basins.
You may download the complete article at http://www.ewaonline.de/journal/2002_05.pdf.
Of Two Ramsar Advisory Missions To Doñana
Doñana National Park in southwest Spain is one of Europe's
greatest wetlands and one of its most prestigious protected areas.
It was designated as a Wetland of International Importance in 1982,
and is also a UNESCO
World Heritage site, a Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO MAB programme,
and an EU Special Protection Area.
Read more at http://www.ramsar.org/w.n.html
More and more dam removal in us: Oregon dam removals set stage for
new wildlife area
PORTLAND, Oregon, October 28, 2002 (ENS) - Two hydropower
dams will be removed from Oregon's Sandy River, opening unhindered
access for threatened salmon and steelhead from the Pacific Ocean
to the southwest slopes of Mt. Hood. Under an agreement between Portland
General Electric, Oregon Governor
John Kitzhaber and representatives from 21 other organizations, the
dam removals will help create a 5,000 acre wildlife and public recreation
area in the Sandy River Basin.
18.10.02: WWF: Spanish Government's
figures and data on National Hydrological Plan's Ebro Transfer benefits
are wrong and misleading
Brussels, Belgium - 3.5 billion Euros could be lost
if the Spanish National Hydrological Plan's (SNHP) Ebro river transfer
is allowed to go ahead, according to a new report released by WWF,
the conservation organisation today.
The WWF study - Analysis and Economic Valuation of the Ebro river
transfer in the Spanish National Hydrological Plan - shows data and
figures used by the Spanish government to justify the SNHP to be inaccurate,
and concludes that the actual costs of the Plan far outweigh the estimated
The SNHP's Ebro river transfer is proposed to reallocate 1,050 cubic
hectometres per year of water from the Ebro River basin to another
four river basins in the north, south-east and south of Spain. The
overall cost of the construction of the infrastructure of the overall
Plan across Spain has been estimated at 24 billion Euro (one third
of which will be paid by EU funds), of which the Ebro river transfer
will be 4.2 billion Euro.
But to form a realistic picture of the costs and possible benefits
of the Ebro river transfer, additional economic factors must be considered,
but to date have not been.
The cost of transporting water, desalinisation, and the potential
effects of climate change must all be taken into account. Considering
specifically the economic efficiency and return on investment of irrigation
in the transfer recipient regions, WWF data shows that even in the
high revenue intensively cultivated areas, over production of crops
and growing agricultural competition in the Mediterranean region will
greatly reduce profits and benefits in the future.
The WWF report shows that once these factors have all been calculated,
it is impossible to arrive at a positive cost benefit figure for the
SNHP, and the 3.5 billion Euro loss calculated by WWF is a conservative
WWF also questions the methodology and criteria used in the justification
of the Plan, and has shown that in the calculations of benefits to
both the donor and recipient regions of the water transfer, data has
been misrepresented in terms of wealth and income potential.
"The figures in the WWF report only serve to add more fuel to
the fire against the SNHP. The gap between the poor donor northern
regions and the wealthier southern recipient regions will only broaden
if the transfer is allowed to go ahead. It is time the European Commission
stopped months of indecision and came to a consensus on how to proceed
with the SNHP, taking into account not only the negative cost versus
benefits of the plan, but also the environmental and cultural damage
which the plan will cause across Spain" said Paloma Agrasot,
WWF SNHP Initiative Co-ordinator.
"To date there have been no concrete steps by the Commission
to resolve the SNHP issue, and this could potentially lead to the
setting of some dangerous precedents for unsustainable water management
in Europe in the future."
WWF believes with the evidence stacking up against the sustainability
and cost effectiveness of the SNHP, it is time for the Commission
to fully play its role as Guardians of the European Treaty and prevent
irreversible environmental and cultural damage.
For further information, photos, video material or interest in press
trips contact: Tania Paschen, Communications Manager, WWF European
Freshwater Programme, mobile: +33 680 73 70 33, email: email@example.com
Angelina Hermanns, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office, tel
+32 2 740 09 25, email: Ahermanns@wwfepo.org
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