Wednesday, December 30, 2009

An argument on the Titanic?

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of December 10, 2009.

Santa leaves carbon footprint

Cartoon from the Manawatu Standard of December 9, 2009.

Tough times for polar bears

Tom Scott's cartoon from the Dominion Post of December 2, 2009.

New Zealand's (largely invisible) pollution

It's amazing how successful New Zealand has been in marketing its "clean, green" image, when one considers the reality. In an article headlined Manawatu River Gets Black Mark for Pollution, dated November 26, 2009, TVNZ had this to say:

The Manawatu River has been rated as one of the most polluted in the western world.

According to new research by a Nelson science institute, the waterway is heavily fouled with treated sewerage and farm run-off.

Cawthorn Institute says the Manawatu is now near the top of a list of 300 rivers and streams across North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand when it comes to detrimental changes in oxygen levels.

Dirty dairying practices and poor sewage treatment are considered the culprits for the alarming ranking.

In May this year a prominent Manawatu businessman and farmer, Ken Thurston, was fined nearly $200,000 for polluting the river.

In 2007, the Horowhenua District Council pumped five millions of litres of partially treated waste, including tampons and condoms, directly into the river for 48 hours.

Health officials now fear the water is so dirty it will make swimmers sick.

Horizons Regional Council is proposing to clean it up by regulating the amount of effluent farmers can discharge into the river.

"We know that for the Manawatu while it's not safe all year round for swimming, it is for the most of the time. Inside 20 years, our target is to give the people complete confidence that it's in the right type of place," says council spokesman Greg Carlyon.

And the council is rejecting accusations that it is not doing enough stop the pollution.

"It'd be a great news story if it was true but it's not, what Horizons did is commission the research that's been commented on in the media and is telling us that around dissolved oxygen particles for water quality we had some really elevated levels," says Carlyon.

Farmers say the council-commissioned research will now be used to stage further attacks on their livelihood, with Horizons due to implement new stricter regulations next year.

That, say farmers, will further impact their earnings.

"They need a consent to farm for a lot of these farmers and some of the costs involved will put them out of business...for others it's just a cost that could have been spent directly to do the work instead of just playing the bureaucrats," says Federated Farmers spokesman Gordon McKeller.

The full Cawthorn report will be formally presented to the regional council next month.

(Tom Scott's cartoon is from the Dominion Post of December 1, 2009.)

Christians deny global warming

I assume Messrs Barrett and Salt are Christians, as I don't think non-Christians read the New Zealand Christian newspaper Challenge Weekly. Their views certainly accord with the view of many Christian fundamentalists that God is in charge of the planet, which he has given to us as a glorified playground, and that we don't really have to worry about its future.

Click on the above image to enlarge it.

Maori holding NZ back, say letter writers

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