Tag: poverty

Prison for Plastic? Indian City Initiates Harsh Penalties for Using Plastic Bags

By Nina Bai | January 20, 2009 4:19 pm

slumsIndia’s capital city has issued a ban on all non-biodegradable plastic bags, effective immediately, although enforcement will be gentle initially. In time however, plastic toters in New Delhi will face up to five years in prison and up to 100,000 rupees ($2,034) in fines. The ban prohibits the “use, storage and sale” of all polyethylene bags of any size, shape, and thickness.  If these punitive measures seem particularly harsh, officials say laws already in place that ban all but the thinnest plastic bags have been—like jaywalking laws in New York City—largely ignored in a city that generates about 10 million plastic bags per day.

But still, should plastic pollution be a top priority for a country where more than a quarter of the population live in abject poverty (the poverty threshold as defined by the Indian government is $0.40/day)? One hopes that the fines will be targeted to those who can afford them, shoppers at the new sprawling shopping malls and foreign tourists, for example, and not those who live in the slums where much of the plastic rubbish accumulates.

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So Simple It's Brilliant: A Machine that Makes Drinking Water from Air

By Boonsri Dickinson | November 26, 2008 3:33 pm

water1.jpgAt a time when only one in six people on the planet have access to water and bottled water is not always the most practical (or environmentally sound) option, inventors are busy trying to turn just about anything into water. If you thought astronauts drinking water from urine was a bit gross, then drinking water made from air might sound like a far more appealing option. And now, the Canadian company Element Four’s Water Mill has determined a way to take moisture from the air and turn it into drinkable water.

The machine is the size of a large golf ball cut in half , and it runs off the “electricity of about three light bulbs.” It works by pumping air through filters to get rid of dust and other particles, and then cools the purified air until water starts to condense. Then the condensed water goes through a UV light unit to clean it so bacteria won’t get in it and cause infections or disease.

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