Your weekly roundup of environment and sustainability news in the UK.
This week I’m talking about the Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, EU renewable energy targets, recycling, antibiotic resistance and carbon dioxide emissions from sausage consumption at the World Cup (which is both the weirdest and best press release I’ve ever had). At the end of the video, I reveal the cities in the UK with the most dangerous levels of ambient air pollution.
The UK Government’s decision on the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon has been hit with another delay. A statement was expected this Wednesday but may now take another week. Meanwhile, the committee in charge of Wales Pension Partnership has backed the Swansea tidal lagoon as a potential investment. The endorsement by the the eight members of the Joint Governance Committee is the first step towards an investment if the tidal lagoon gets approval from the UK Government.
The EU is raising its target for the amount of energy it consumes from renewables to 32% by 2030, up from 27%. This was welcome news for the renewables industry, however green energy advocates argued that this was unambitious because member states were already on track to exceed it. Environmental groups said the increase did not go far enough and were critical of a decision to keep counting biomass as renewable energy.
Plastic recycled in the UK could supply nearly three-quarters of domestic demand for products and packaging if the government took action to build the industry, a new report from Green Alliance has revealed. The UK consumes 3.3m tonnes of plastic every year but only recycled 9% domestically, exporting a further two thirds to be recycled in other countries. The analysis said collecting plastic and sending it abroad for recycling does not solve the problem of the “global scourge” of plastic pollution.
The EU has scrapped plans for a clampdown on pharmaceutical pollution that contributes to the spread of deadly superbugs. Plans to monitor farm and pharmaceutical companies, to add environmental standards to EU medical product rules and to oblige environmental risk assessments for drugs used by humans have all been discarded, according to the Guardian. 700,000 people die every year from antimicrobial resistance, partly due to drug-resistant bacteria created by the misuse of antibiotics. The UK’s chief medical officer, Dame Sally Davies, warned that failing to act could lead to a post-antibiotic apocalypse, spelling “the end of modern medicine” as routine infections defy effective treatment.
Intelligent nutrition retailer nu3 has released data revealing the quantity of carbon dioxide emissions released due to sausages consumed at the World Cup. Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the study tells us that the average football match in the 2018 World Cup will produce 3,056.6 kg of CO2 due to the consumption of approximately 24,650 sausages. In total, sausage consumption throughout the entire football tournament will produce 195,433 kg of carbon dioxide emissions. It would take 1,934 hectares of Amazon rainforest one year to soak up the CO2 produced by sausage consumption from FIFA’s largest stadiums worldwide.
Want to know which areas in the UK have the most dangerous levels of ambient air pollution? Then you’ll have to watch the video!