South Africa, Gates Foundation to ‘reinvent the toilet’

first_img28 March 2014 South Africa’s Department of Science and Technology and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have announced a partnership to find innovative sanitation solutions for rural and peri-urban communities. SAinfo reporter Sanitation in South Africa, particularly in rural and peri-urban areas, remains a huge challenge, with population growth counterbalancing the significant strides made to reduce the sanitation backlog since 1994. “By applying creative thinking and innovative approaches to sanitation challenges, we can dramatically improve the health of women, children and communities,” said Chris Elias, president of the Gates Foundation’s global development programmes. “We believe that the pairing of South Africa’s governmental leadership with new business models and innovative sanitation solutions will dramatically increase the progress that has already been made in tackling the global sanitation crisis.”Global safe toilet backlog: 2.5-billion According to the foundation, an estimated 2.5-billion people around the world do not have access to safe toilets. This is harmful to the health and wellbeing of children, undermines women’s and girls’ dignity and safety, and hinders economic development and growth. In 2011, the foundation’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programme initiated the Reinvent the Toilet Challenge to come up with toilets that remove germs and parasites from human waste, recover energy, clean water and fertiliser, operate “off the grid”, without connections to water and sewer systems or electrical lines – and cost less than US$0.05 cents per user per day. The Department of Science and Technology has partnered with South Africa’s Water Research Commission to identify, develop and evaluate new technologies in the country. “In terms of rural school sanitation, the technologies will be demonstrated in the Cofimvaba district in the Eastern Cape as part of the Technology for Rural Education Development project,” the department said. “The technologies will also be demonstrated in the 23 district municipalities that have been identified by the government as critical in terms of service delivery.” This follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the department and the foundation at the second Reinvent the Toilet Fair in India last week. Searching for ‘non-sewer’ solutions The department said the aim was to fund the research, development and manufacturing of “alternative, non-sewer” sanitation solutions for South Africans without access to water-borne sanitation. Announcing the partnership on Monday, the department said it had committed R30-million to conducting field tests on technologies developed as part of the Gates Foundation’s global Reinvent the Toilet Challenge, with the foundation contributing US$1-million (R10.6-million) to support this testing.last_img read more

Food prices down for Easter

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Lower retail prices for several foods, including eggs, ground chuck, sirloin tip roast, chicken breasts and toasted oat cereal resulted in a significant decrease in the American Farm Bureau Federation’s Spring Picnic Marketbasket Survey.“As expected due to lower farm-gate prices, we have seen continued declines in retail prices for livestock products including eggs, beef, chicken, pork and cheese,” said John Newton, AFBF’s director of market intelligence.The informal survey showed the total cost of 16 food items that can be used to prepare one or more meals was $50.03, down $3.25 or about 6% compared to a year ago. Of the 16 items surveyed, 11 decreased, four increased and one remained the same in average price.Egg prices are down sharply from a year ago and also are down slightly from the third quarter of 2016.“Egg prices continue to move back toward long-run average prices following the bird flu of 2014/15,” Newton said. “The Agriculture Department is currently monitoring bird flu detections in the Southeast U.S. If detections continue, retail poultry prices could feel an impact due to lower exports or changes in supply.“As farm-gate prices for livestock products have declined and remained lower, prices in the retail meat case have become more competitive,” Newton said.

Retail price changes from a year ago:• eggs, down 41% to $1.32 per dozen• toasted oat cereal, down 15% to $2.83 for a 9-ounce box• sirloin tip roast, down 13% to $4.95 per pound• ground chuck, down 10% to $3.92 per pound• chicken breast, down 6% to $3.17 per pound• apples, down 6% to $1.55 per pound• flour, down 5% to $2.36 for a 5-pound bag• shredded cheddar cheese, down 4% to $4.10 per pound• deli ham, down 3% to $5.42 per pound• bacon, down 3% to $4.65 per pound• potatoes, down 1% to $2.68 for a 5-pound bag• bagged salad, up 6% to $2.34 per pound• white bread, up 2% to $1.72 per 20-ounce loaf• orange juice, up 1% to $3.22 per half-gallon• whole milk, up 1% to $3.27 per gallon• vegetable oil, no change, $2.55 for a 32-ounce bottlePrice checks of alternative milk and egg choices not included in the overall marketbasket survey average revealed the following: 1/2 gallon whole regular milk, $2.10; 1/2 gallon organic milk, $4.20; and one dozen “cage-free” eggs, $3.48.The year-to-year direction of the marketbasket survey tracks closely with the federal government’s Consumer Price Index ( report for food at home. As retail grocery prices have increased gradually over time, the share of the average food dollar that America’s farm and ranch families receive has dropped.“Through the mid-1970s, farmers received about one-third of consumer retail food expenditures for food eaten at home and away from home, on average. Since then, that figure has decreased steadily and is now about 16%, according to the Agriculture Department’s revised Food Dollar Series,” Newton said.AFBF, the nation’s largest general farm organization, began conducting informal quarterly marketbasket surveys of retail food price trends in 1989. The series includes a spring picnic survey, summer cookout survey, fall harvest survey and Thanksgiving dinner cost survey.According to USDA, Americans spend just under 10% of their disposable annual income on food, the lowest average of any country in the world. A total of 117 shoppers in 31 states participated in the latest survey, conducted in March.last_img read more

Oregon Establishes New Labs For Green Building Research

first_img$1.6 Million to Study Green Materials and Building PerformancePORTLAND, Ore. — The Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center (Oregon BEST), a research center, has announced a public/private partnership that will invest $1.6 million in green-building research conducted at Oregon State University and Portland State University.New laboratories at the two universities will investigate green building materials and study the performance of building assemblies and completed green buildings. “Nobody else is pursuing green-building research and development in the multi-institutional way that Oregon is,” said Oregon BEST president David Kenney. “This initial investment is the beginning of what will become a center positioned to influence the green-building agenda at the national level.”Oregon State University will receive $920,000 to establish a new laboratory, the Green Building Materials Lab. The laboratory expects to study a variety of new green building materials, including hybrid poplar lumber engineered to be three times stronger than old-growth Douglas fir, new types of environmentally friendly concrete, and building insulation made from recycled plastic.Portland State University (PSU) will receive $651,000 to establish the Green Building Research Laboratory. The lab will specialize in building- performance monitoring and the use of infrared cameras for evaluating wall assemblies, ceiling assemblies, and windows. Researchers at PSU also plan to study how occupant behavior affects building energy use.last_img read more

10 Indians to take part in London Paralympic Games

first_imgA 10-member Indian team will take part in the London Paralympic Games to be held from August 29 to September 9.Our Olympic coverageThe parathletes have already been camped in London for a special preparatory camp for the Paralympics.The players:H N Girisha (F 42 high jump); Jagseer Singh (F 46 long jump); Jaideep (F 42 discus); Narender (F 44 javelin); Amit Kumar (F 51 discus); Farman Basha (48kg powerlifting); Rajrender Singh Rahelu (powerlifting 67.5kg); Sachin Chowdhury (powerlifting 82.5kg); Sharath M Gayawad (swimming S8/SB8 SM8 100m freestyle, 100m breaststroke, 200m individual medley, 100m butterfly); Naresh Kumar Sharma (shooting R1, R6, R7).last_img

Trucker says video may show Santas reindeer lost in Newfoundland

first_imgDEER LAKE, N.L. — A trucker says he may have had a close encounter of the Santa kind after spotting what appeared to be Santa’s reindeer on a snow-covered Newfoundland highway.Jason White says the herd of about a dozen caribou were stopped on the Trans-Canada Highway, a light snow falling around them, near Deer Lake Thursday morning.White, a delivery driver for Ice Block of Conception Bay South, shot a video of the herd and posted it to his Facebook page so he could show his children — especially his young son, who is almost two years old.White said in the post he thought Santa’s reindeer may have been lost on the west coast of Newfoundland.By midday Friday, the video had been viewed about 3,600 times.White says he’s been overwhelmed by the reaction to the video and says some local parents are telling their kids to be good because Santa must be near.On the web: Canadian Presslast_img read more