News from within the SENSE network
Microplastic particles in the environment and in our food and drinking water are extremely diverse and complex. This makes it difficult to determine the risks to humans and the environment. Researchers of Wageningen University & Research now provide the first mathematical framework to assess the risks of these particles.
Dutch policy focuses too much on technological innovations and loses sight of the bigger picture of a sustainable future when it comes to plastic. That is what Utrecht University researchers found after analysing the transition to a sustainable circular plastics economy in the Netherlands. Current policy focuses on end of pipe solutions and technological innovations which, according to the researchers, will likely not reduce the human and environmental health impact of plastic production, consumption, and recovery. They give ten recommendations meant to integrate the full social, political and ecological implication of a circular future. These recommendations prioritise reducing virgin plastic consumption, establishing eco-design requirements, and promoting re-usable alternatives to plastics.
The level of pesticides in Dutch groundwater is on the rise. Bad news, as two-thirds of our drinking water is derived from groundwater. ‘The concentrations are low, but we are increasingly better able to monitor pollutants in the measuring wells’, says co-supervisor Nora Sutton of the Environmental Technology group (WUR). ‘Water remains in the ground for an average of three decades, so we are measuring the future pollution. The water companies must purify these because our tap water is clean and safe.’
Large-scale deforestation, forest restoration, forest fires, and droughts all have one thing in common: most research on these topics focuses on forest ecosystems' impact on carbon storage and release. Other effects of forests are less often explored, such as their effect on water cycles, climate, and daily weather. A recent study shows that local forest areas affect cloud formation differently in temperate and tropical regions.
A global coalition of leading scientists,among which the SENSE researchers: Frank Biermann (UU), Jeroen Oomen (UU), Aarti Gupta (WU), Maarten A. Hajer (UU), is calling for an International Non-Use Agreement on Solar Geoengineering. They argue that solar geoengineering deployment cannot be fairly governed globally and poses unacceptable risk if implemented as a future climate policy option.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has opened registration for the Government and Expert Review of the Draft of the Summary for Policymakers and longer report of the Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report. As of today, interested experts can register for participation in the review. The Government and Expert Review of the Synthesis Report of the Sixth Assessment Report will take place from 10 January to 20 March 2022. Registration of experts closes on 13 March 2022, one week before the end of the review.
You can use micro-organisms for nearly everything. So why not use them to filter polluting metals from waste? With a Veni grant in his pocket, this is the genius idea that Martijn Diender will work on. He is one of the six WUR research associates who were awarded a Veni grant of €280,000 from research funding provider NWO for talented researchers who recently completed their doctorate.
Dr. Yared Abayneh Abebe of Ethiopia became the first IHE Delft alumni to be awarded the prestigious technical Steven Hoogendijk Prize! His thesis on modelling human-flood interaction was selected as the best among 40 Cum Laude theses defended at TU Delft in the past two years.
Klimaatwetenschapper Rik Leemans was op vrijdag 22 oktober 2021, samen met energiecoach Rob Groen en gedragspsycholoog Kyron Olmeijer, te gast bij De Week van Gelderland naar aanleiding van de Nationale Klimaatweek. Als het gaat om het behalen van de klimaatdoelstellingen, is Nederland een van de slechtste jongetjes van de klas binnen Europa, zo vertelde hij. "Het implementeren van alle maatregelen gaat ontzettend langzaam. Er moet veel meer gebeuren."