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Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Seagrass: a solution to many problems

A new study has measured the importance of the role that seagrass plays in reducing the coastal erosion that is becoming an increasingly severe problem with sea level rise. What’s more, that’s only one of the benefits of the plant – claims the article published on the MIT website.

Environmental engineer Heidi Nepf and doctoral student Jiarui Lei performed experiments using artificial models of the plants and used mathematical models to determine magnitude of the role that meadows of underwater seagrass play in various environmental conditions as dampers of waves and thereby protectors of sandy beaches or the integrity of seawalls and other protective structures.

Through a more accurate estimate of the potential benefits and costs, their research has lent new impetus to efforts to create and restore seagrass meadows.

That would be a happy consequence because it would prevent the organic deposits accommodating along the shoreline to be washed back out to sea and cause the algal blooms that result in deteriorating living conditions for other creatures.

Coastline protection is only one of the ecosystem services that humanity receives from the areas covered in seagrass. A previous study estimated the total value of those services at 4 billion dollars. The plants improve water quality, serve as a habitat for many species, and their ability to sequester carbon is astonishing: area for area, seagrass can store three times the carbon as rainforest.

The leaves of common seagrass are 20-50 centimetres long and 3-12 millimetres wide Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: MIT News

Using sunlight to clean water

Researchers at the University of Szeged are working on a nanotechnological water treatment device. Their innovation may provide clean water for millions worldwide in the future.

Leonardo DiCaprio helps create new environmental alliance

Leonardo DiCaprio, the Hollywood star famous for his environmental activism, has joined billionaire investors and philanthropists Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Sheth to found a new non-profit world organisation for environmental protection.

World’s largest floating solar park to be built in Singapore

Solar farms installed in agricultural areas and solar panels fitted to the roofs of buildings are no longer a rarity these days. Their efficiency, however, is not optimal, and occupying crop land isn’t a very practical solution, either. In China and Singapore, attempts are being made to maximize the production of renewable energy by using waterborne, floating photovoltaic power generation systems.

The UN Secretary General urges immediate action to avoid a climate catastrophe

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, UN Secretary General António Guterres emphasised that the process of climate change is happening faster than predicted.

The worst ocean polluting countries to join the effort to eliminate waste

The ten members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) are set to adopt a joint declaration to combat marine plastic waste.

DiCaprio sends the message again: we are still on track to destroy our world

Only a few years after the brutally honest documentary Before the Flood, a new film has been made, featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, about the shocking consequences of global warming. Ice on Fire seeks to find out whether we can still reverse the impact of climate change.

Costa Rica sets an example

The Central American country has been a paragon of environment-friendly governance for decades. It has set the ambitious goal of phasing out fossil fuels altogether by 2050.

Global temperature may rise by as much as 3 degrees

Due to the insufficient commitments of governments so far, global temperature may increase by twice the tolerable amount, 3 degrees Celsius, by the end of the century relative to the preindustrial period, warned UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa.

Extensive cooperation to stop marine pollution

At their meeting in Japan, the environment ministers of G20 countries agreed on a global framework for the introduction and application of measures to tackle the issue of marine plastic waste pollution.

German cities declare climate emergency

During environmental and climate emergencies, local decision-makers must place an even greater emphasis on the principle of ecological sustainability in their decisions.

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