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UN-backed ocean cleanup to remove 1.8 tr plastic debris

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The 600 meter long floater from the Ship deployed to clean up plastic wastes in Pacific Ocean

The 600 meter long floater from the Ship deployed to clean up plastic wastes in Pacific Ocean

A UN-backed ocean cleanup vessel aiming at cleaning up 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the Pacific Ocean has left San Francisco on its first voyage.

The vessel, which was deployed in San Francisco, consists of a 600-meter long floater that sits at the surface of the water and a tapered three-meter deep skirt attached below which catches plastic debris.

The cleanup system, designed by a 24-year old Dutch inventor and ‘UN Environment Champion of the Earth’, Boyan Slat, would undergo some trials before travelling 1,000 nautical miles to what is known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

The huge mass of marine debris, situated in the North Pacific Ocean halfway between the Californian coast and Hawaii, is estimated by Slat’s Ocean Cleanup organisation to measure 1.6 million square kilometres – three times the size of France – and contains 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic.

That amounts to 250 pieces for every person on the planet, the organisation said.

The long-awaited launch of the first deployable model of the marine litter collection system, named “System 001,” took place on Saturday at the Golden Gate Bridge following four years of research and adjustments.

The system is carried by the ocean’s currents and waves, passively catching plastic debris along the way.

Ocean Cleanup’s research indicated that a scaled-up fleet of 60 such systems could eventually clean up 50 per cent of the patch in the next five years.

The trials are taking place 240 nautical miles into the Pacific Ocean and once they are completed, the devices would be sent the remaining 1,000 nautical miles out to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Slat founded Ocean Cleanup when he was 18-years-old and he was named a ‘Champion of the Earth’ by UN Environment the following year in recognition of his quest to find a solution to the ever-growing global problem of plastic debris in oceans.

‘Champions of the Earth’ is the UN’s highest environmental honour, celebrating outstanding figures from the public and private sectors and from civil society organisations whose actions have had a transformative positive impact on the environment.

Every year, at least eight million tonnes of plastic leak into the oceans, and besides washing up on beaches and shorelines, plastic marine debris accumulates in five garbage patches around the world.

Of the five garbage patches, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest.

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate change

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UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change

UN wants Africa to prepare for effect of climate Change


The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has called on international community to evolve measures to prepare the African continent for the ravages of climate change.

Ms Ahunna Eziakonwa, Director of UNDP’s Africa Bureau, who made the call at the 24th Conference of Parties (COP24) climate conference, in Katowice, Poland, said preparing Africa for the reality of climate change “cannot be an afterthought.”

Eziakonwa said: “Taking reactive approaches to food security and disaster recovery costs the people of Africa billions of dollars in lost GDP, and syphons off government resources that should be dedicated to education, social programmes, healthcare, business development and employment”.

According to a new report launched by the UNDP, Africa is at a “tipping point” as global warming increases, and urgent action needs to be taken across the continent now to mitigate risks and safeguard a decade of social and economic gains.

For two weeks, the COP24 has brought together thousands of climate action decision-makers, advocates and activists, with one key objective: adopting global guidelines for the 197 parties of the 2015 Paris Agreement.

At the Paris Agreement, countries committed to limiting global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade – and as close as possible to 1.5 degrees centigrade – above pre-industrial levels.

Ahunna noted that in spite of major structural inequalities, nations across the continent have achieved “impressive economic, political and social growth in recent decades.”

She, however, argued that “climate change, droughts, floods, changing rainfall patterns and conflict have the potential to unravel efforts to reduce hunger and achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

The UNDP study shows that, should the world fail to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees centigrade, families will find it hard to feed themselves, and the risk of famine and increased poverty will rise along with temperatures.

Higher levels of poverty would further limit the capacity of communities to manage climate-related risks, according to the report.

The report warned that failure to mitigate climate-related risks could translate into more risky migration patterns, serious epidemics such as the 2014 Ebola outbreak across West Africa, and greater political instability.

Drawing on years of data from projects geared to enabling communities to adapt to a changing climate and build resilience, the report shows that as emissions continue going up, support for climate adaptation initiatives must be increased urgently and accelerated across the continent, especially across the 34 African least developed countries.

However, measures to enable communities to adapt to the changing climate is a costly matter that would require creative financial mechanisms and substantial engagement with the private sector to meet.

It would also require developed nations to make good on their 2015 Paris Agreement commitments to dedicate $100 billion annually to supporting climate action in developing nations.

The report analyses a number of noteworthy successes in climate change adaptation in Africa over the past decade, including projects aimed at improving food security in Benin, Mali, Niger and Sudan.

It also analysed supporting governments in having improved climate information and early warning systems to save lives from fast-acting storms; and empowering women to be effective climate action champions.

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Ukraine demands release of seized ships, crew from Russia

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Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk

The Ukrainian authority has protested Russian’s armed attack and capturing of its navy ships “Berdyansk” Nikopol and the tug boat `Yana Kapu’ as well as injuring of the crew members.

Ukrainian Ambassador to Nigeria Dr Valerii Aleksandruk who said this in a statement in Abuja said the country demanded for immediate release of the seized vessels and crew members.

Aleksandruk said Russian forces opened fire on a group of Ukraine ships in the Black Sea off the coast of the Crimean Peninsula late on Nov. 25th.

The envoy said the country also protested striking of two warships and wounding of two crew members before seizing the vessels along with a Ukrainian Navy tugboat.

He said that the attack on Ukrainian ships was carried out during a sea crossing from the port of Odessa to the port of Mariupol.

“The attack, in accordance with the provisions of all effective multilateral and bilateral international treaties and navigation rules, is nothing but another act of armed aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine

“It is against Article 2 of the Charter of the United Nations and the provisions of UN General Assembly Resolution 29/3314 of 14 December 1974 on the definition of aggression.

“Russia has de facto expanded its military aggression against Ukraine to the sea.

“Kremlin’s criminal regime has today once again demonstrated that it won’t stop its aggressive policy and is ready for any acts of aggression against the Ukrainian state,” he said.

According to him, Ukraine also requested for urgent medical assistance to the wounded and to ensure their immediate safe return home.

“Ukraine also demands to return the captured navy ships and to compensate for the damage caused.

“It is Kremlin’s regime who bears full responsibility for further aggravation of the situation in the Azov and Black Seas and for undermining the peaceful settlement of the Russian-Ukrainian armed conflict.

“Ukraine urges its allies and partners to take all necessary measures to deter the aggressor, by applying new and strengthening existing sanctions

“Ukraine also urges its allies to provide military assistance to protect its territorial integrity and sovereignty within the internationally recognised borders,” he said

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CNN sues White House for barring reporter

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CNN sued Donald Trump’s administration on Tuesday, alleging the White House violated journalist Jim Acosta’s rights under the constitution by revoking his press credentials following a heated exchange with the US president.

“The wrongful revocation of these credentials violates CNN and Acosta’s First Amendment rights of freedom of the press, and their Fifth Amendment rights to due process,” the news network said in a statement announcing the lawsuit. “We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process.”

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