Documentary : Know Philippines

phillipinesThe Philippines, officially known as the Republic of the Philippines (FilipinoRepúblika ng Pilipinas), is a sovereign island country in Southeast Asia situated in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan; west across the South China Sea sits Vietnam; southwest is the island of Borneoacross the Sulu Sea, and to the south the Celebes Sea separates it from other islands of Indonesia; while to the east it is bounded by the Philippine Sea and the island-nation of Palau. Its location on the Pacific Ring of Fire and close to the equator make the Philippines prone to earthquakes and typhoons, but also endows it with abundant natural resources and some of the world’s greatest biodiversity. At 300,000 square kilometers (115,831 sq mi), the Philippines is the 73rd-largest country in the world, consisting of an archipelago of 7,107 islands that are categorized broadly under three main geographical divisions:LuzonVisayas, and Mindanao. Its capital city is Manila while its most populous city is Quezon City.

With a population of more than 98 million people, the Philippines is the seventh-most populated country in Asia and the12th most populated country in the world. An additional 12 million Filipinos live overseas, comprising one of the world’s largest and most influential diasporas.  Multiple ethnicities and cultures are found throughout the islands. In prehistoric times,Negritos were some of the archipelago’s earliest inhabitants. They were followed by successive waves of Austronesian peoples who traded with MalayIndian, and Islamic states. Various nations were established under the rule of DatusRajahsSultans orLakans. Trade with China also introduced Chinese culture and settlement, which remain present to this day.

The arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 marked the beginning of an era of Spanish interest and eventual colonization. In 1543, Spanish explorer Ruy López de Villalobos named the archipelago Las Islas Filipinas in honor of Philip II of Spain. The Spanish Empire began to settle with the arrival of Miguel López de Legazpi from New Spain (present day Mexico) in 1565 who established the first Spanish settlement in the archipelago, which remained a Spanish colony for more than 300 years.This resulted in the predominant religion in the country to be Roman Catholicism and it is one of two countries in Asia; the other being East Timor. During this time, Manila became the Asian hub of the Manila–Acapulco galleon fleet.

As the 19th century gave way to the 20th, there followed in quick succession the Philippine Revolution, which spawned the short-lived First Philippine Republic; the Spanish–American War; and the Philippine–American War. In the aftermath, the United States emerged as the dominant power; aside from the period of Japanese occupation, the United States retained sovereignty over the islands. After World War II, the Treaty of Manila recognized and restored the Philippine Republic as an independent nation.  Since then, the Philippines has had an often tumultuous experience with democracy, with popular “people power” movements overthrowing a dictatorship in one instance, but also underlining the institutional weaknesses of its constitutional republic in others. The Philippines currently has one of Asia’s fastest growing economies, and the nation’s large population size and economic potential have led it to be classified as a middle power.

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Courtesy : BBC Travel, DokuTravel, YouTube and Wikipedia

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Documentary : Know New Zealand

newzealandNew Zealand is a small country, similar in size to Great Britain or Japan. With a population of only four million people, it’s also gloriously uncrowded. 

New Zealand has a rich and fascinating history, reflecting our unique mix of Māori and European culture.

Māori were the first to arrive in New Zealand, journeying in canoes from Hawaii about 1,000 years ago. A Dutchman, Abel Tasman, was the first European to sight the country but it was the British who made New Zealand part of their empire.

You’ll find amazing Māori historic sites and taonga (treasures) – as well as beautiful colonial-era buildings – dotted throughout the country. A walk around any New Zealand city today shows what a culturally diverse and fascinating country we have become. 

New Zealand has a temperate climate with moderately high rainfall and many hours of sunshine. While the far north has subtropical weather during summer, and inland alpine areas of the South Island can be as cold as -10°C (14°F) in winter, most of the country lies close to the coast, which means mild temperatures. The average New Zealand temperature decreases as you travel south. January and February are the warmest months, and July is the coldest month of the year. In summer, the average maximum temperature ranges between 20-30ºC (70-90°F) and in winter between 10-15ºC (50-60°F).

New Zealand is an island country in the southwestern Pacific Ocean. The country geographically comprises two main landmasses – that of the North Island, or Te Ika-a-Māui, and the South Island, or Te Waipounamu – and numerous smaller islands. New Zealand is situated some 1,500 kilometres (900 mi) east of Australia across the Tasman Sea and roughly 1,000 kilometres (600 mi) south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga. Because of its remoteness, it was one of the last lands to be settled by humans. During its long isolation, New Zealand developed a distinctive biodiversity of animal, fungal and plant life; most notable are the large number of unique bird species. The country’s varied topography and its sharp mountain peaks owe much to the tectonic uplift of land and volcanic eruptions.

Polynesians settled New Zealand in 1250–1300 CE and developed a distinctive Māori culture. Abel Tasman, a Dutch explorer, was the first European to sight New Zealand in 1642 CE. The introduction of potatoes and muskets triggered upheaval among Māori early during the 19th century, which led to the inter-tribal Musket Wars. In 1840 the British and Māori signed a treaty making New Zealand a colony of the British Empire. Immigrant numbers increased sharply and conflicts escalated into the New Zealand Wars, which resulted in Māori land being confiscated in the mid North Island. Economic depressions were followed by periods of political reform, with women gaining the vote during the 1890s, and a welfare state being established from the 1930s. After World War II, New Zealand joined Australia and the United States in the ANZUS security treaty, although the United States later suspended the treaty. New Zealanders enjoyed one of the highest standards of living in the world in the 1950s, but the 1970s saw a deep recession, worsened by oil shocks and the United Kingdom’s entry into the European Economic Community. The country underwent major economic changes during the 1980s, which transformed it from a protectionist protectionist to a liberalized free trade economy; once-dominant exports of wool have been overtaken by dairy products, meat, and wine.

Coat of Arms

The majority of New Zealand’s population is of European descent; the indigenous Māori are the largest minority, followed by Asians and non-Māori Polynesians. English, Māori and New Zealand Sign Language are the official languages, with English predominant. Much of New Zealand’s culture is derived from Māori and early British settlers. Early European art was dominated by landscapes and to a lesser extent portraits of Māori. A recent resurgence of Māori culture has seen their traditional arts of carving carving, weaving and tattooing become more mainstream. The country’s culture has also been broadened by globalization and increased immigration from the Pacific Islands and Asia. The New Zealand’s diverse landscape provides many opportunities for outdoor pursuits and has provided the backdrop for a number of big budget movies.

New Zealand is organized into 11 regional councils and 67 territorial authorities for local government purposes; these have less autonomy than the country’s long defunct provinces did. Nationally, executive political power is exercised by the Cabinet, led by the Prime Minister. Queen Elizabeth II is the country’s head of state and is represented by a Governor-General. The Queen’s Realm Realm of New Zealand also includes Tokelau (a dependent territory); the Cook Islands and Niue (self-governing but in free association); and the Ross Dependency, which is New Zealand’s territorial claim in Antarctica. New Zealand is a member of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, ANZUS, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, Pacific Islands Forum and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

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Courtesy & Source : YouTube, Wikipedia and Discovery Channel

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Alert! : Have Nuclear Reactor in your country? Read this please

11 Facts about Nuclear Reactors (Fukushima mentioned here, applicable for a reactor in our country too)

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Is Fukushima the greatest environmental disaster of all time? Every single day, 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima enters the Pacific Ocean. The radioactive material that is being released will outlive all of us by a very wide margin, and it is constantly building up in the food chain. 

 Nobody knows for sure how many people will eventually develop cancer and other health problems as a result of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, but some experts are not afraid to use the word “billions”.
 
It has been well over two years since the original disaster, and now they are telling us that it could take up to 40 more years to clean it up. It is a nightmare of unimaginable proportions, and there is nowhere in the northern hemisphere that you will be able to hide from it. The following are 11 facts about the ongoing Fukushima nuclear holocaust that are almost too horrifying to believe
 
1 – It is estimated that there are 1,331 used nuclear fuel rods that need to be removed from Fukushima. Because of all of the damage that has taken place, computer-guided removal of the rods will not be possible. Manual removal is much riskier, and it is absolutely essential that the removal of each of the 1,331 rods goes perfectly because a single mistake could potentially lead to a nuclear chain reaction.
 
2 – According to Reuters, the combined amount of cesium-137 contained in those nuclear fuel rods is 14,000 times greater than what was released when the U.S. dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima at the end of World War II. Other estimates put this number far higher.
 
3 – Officials in Japan admit that 300 tons of radioactive water from Fukushima is entering the Pacific Ocean every 24 hours
 
4 – According to a professor at Tokyo University, 3 gigabecquerels of cesium-137 are flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every single day.
Yoichiro Tateiwa, NHK reporter: [Professor Jota] Kanda argues government statistics don’t add up. He says a daily leakage of 300 tons doesn’t explain the current levels of radiation in the water. Jota Kanda, Tokyo University professor: According to my research there are now 3 gigabecquerels [3 billion becquerels] of cesium-137 flowing into the port at Fukushima Daiichi every day. But for the 300 tons of groundwater to contain this much cesium-137, one liter of groundwater has to contain 10,000 becquerels of the radioactive isotope. NHK: Kanda’s research and monitoring by Tepco puts the amount of cesium-137 in the groundwater around the plant at several hundred becquerels per liter at most. He’s concluded that radioactive isotope is finding another way to get into the ocean. He’s calling on the government and Tepco to identify contamination routes other than groundwater. Read More

Courtesy : theboldcorsicanflame.wordpress.com

5 – According to Tepco, a total of somewhere between 20 trillion and 40 trillion becquerels of radioactive tritium has got into the Pacific Ocean since the Fukushima disaster first began.
 
6 – Something is causing fish along the west coast of Canada to bleed from their gills, bellies and eyeballs. Could Fukushima be responsible?
 
7 – 150 former sailors and Marines say that they now have radiation sickness as a result of serving on U.S. Navy ships near Fukushima and they are suing for damages.
 
8 – The Iodine-131, Cesium-137 and Strontium-90 that are constantly coming from Fukushima are going to affect the health of those living the northern hemisphere for a very, very long time.
Iodine-131, for example, can be ingested into the thyroid, where it emits beta particles (electrons) that damage tissue. A plague of damaged thyroids has already been reported among as many as 40 percent of the children in the Fukushima area. That percentage can only go higher. In developing youngsters, it can stunt both physical and mental growth. Among adults it causes a very wide range of ancillary ailments, including cancer. Cesium-137 from Fukushima has been found in fish caught as far away as California. It spreads throughout the body, but tends to accumulate in the muscles. Strontium-90’s half-life is around 29 years. It mimics calcium and goes to our bones. Read More
 
9 – It is believed that the Fukushima nuclear facility originally contained a whopping 1760 tons of nuclear material.
 
10 – It is being projected that the entire Pacific Ocean will soon “have cesium levels 5 to 10 times higher” than what we witnessed during the era of heavy atomic bomb testing in the Pacific many decades ago.
 
11 – According to the Wall Street Journal, it is being projected that the cleanup of Fukushima could take up to 40 years to complete.
 
Sadly, the true horror of this disaster is only starting to be understood, and most people have absolutely no idea how serious all of this is.
We have endless releases into the Pacific Ocean that will be ongoing for not only our lifetimes, but our children’s’ lifetimes. We have 40 million people living in the Tokyo area nearby. We have continued releases from the underground corium that reminds us it is there occasionally with steam events and huge increases in radiation levels. Across the Pacific, we have at least two peer-reviewed scientific studies so far that have already provided evidence of increased mortality in North America, and thyroid problems in infants on the west coast states from our initial exposures. We have increasing contamination of the food chain, through bioaccumulation and biomagnification. And a newly stated concern is the proximity of melted fuel in relation to the Tokyo aquifer that extends under the plant. If and when the corium reaches the Tokyo aquifer, serious and expedient discussions will have to take place about evacuating 40 million people from the greater metropolitan area.
 
As impossible as this sounds, you cannot live in an area which does not have access to safe water. The operation to begin removing fuel from such a severely damaged pool has never been attempted before. The rods are unwieldy and very heavy, each one weighing two-thirds of a ton. But it has to be done, unless there is some way to encase the entire building in concrete with the pool as it is. I don’t know of anyone discussing that option, but it would seem much ‘safer’ than what they are about to attemptbut not without its own set of risks. And all this collateral damage will continue for decades, if not centuries, even if things stay exactly the way they are now. But that is unlikely, as bad things happen like natural disasters and deterioration with timeearthquakes, subsidence, and corrosion, to name a few. Every day that goes by, the statistical risk increases for this apocalyptic scenario. No one can say or know how this will play out, except that millions of people will probably die even if things stay exactly as they are, and billions could die if things get any worse. 
The area immediately around Fukushima is already permanently uninhabitable, and the truth is that a much wider area of northern Japan should probably be declared off limits for human habitation. But this just isn’t about Japan. The cold, hard reality of the matter is that this is truly a disaster that is planetary in scope. The nuclear material from Fukushima is going to be carried all over the northern hemisphere, and countless numbers of people are going to become seriously ill as a result.
 
And remember, this is a disaster that is not even close to being contained yet. Hundreds of tons of radioactive water continue to enter the Pacific Ocean every single day making the disaster that we are facing even worse. May God have mercy on us all. 
 

Originally Written by Michael T. Snyder 

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Courtesy : Google, various Environmental sites

Plastic Story Series-1 : India, USA and Oceans

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Plastic Story in India

Plastic“We are sitting on a plastic time bomb,” the Supreme Court said on Wednesday after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) informed it that India generates 56 lakhtonnes of plastic waste annually, with Delhi accounting for a staggering 689.5 tonnes a day.

“Total plastic waste which is collected and recycled in the country is estimated to be 9,205 tonnes per day (approximately 60% of total plastic waste) and 6,137 tonnes remain uncollected and littered,” the CPCB said.

The four metros are major culprits in generating such waste, with Delhi producing 689.5 tonnes a day, followed by Chennai (429.4 tonnes), Kolkata (425.7 tonnes) and Mumbai (408.3 tonnes). The figures only serve to confirm the common sight of mounds of plastic in industrial, residential and slum areas of Indian cities and towns.

As 40% of plastic waste is not recycled, the daily addition to untreated plastic in Delhi is estimated at 275.6 tonnes, followed by Chennai (171.6 tonnes), Kolkata (170 tonnes) and Mumbai (163.2 tonnes). This waste is a source of continuing pollution as plastic is not bio-degradable and poisons the environment for decades.

The CPCB said a survey conducted in 60 major cities found that 15,342.46 tonnes of plastic waste was generated every day, amounting to 56 lakh tonnes a year.

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Plastic Story in USA

In 1974 the first single use plastic bags were introduced to stores and presently over One Trillion bags are used each year.

If you placed one year’s worth of plastic bags end to end, they would go around the Earth almost 36,000 times.

If you placed one year’s single use plastic bags end to end, they would go to the moon and have enough bags left to circle the moon several times each year.

There are 14,000,000 trees cut each year to make paper bags for consumers.

Single use plastic bags cost the store ¼ of one cent (.0025) but it cost the store five cents to recycle them (.05). What do you think the majority of stores are doing even if they are collecting the bags?

A family of four uses approximately 1,500 single use plastic bags each year.

There is an ever-growing patch of discarded plastic in the Pacific Ocean the size of Texas and ships must navigate around it.

Fish in the Ocean confuse plastic pieces for plankton and scientists have found that they eat more plastic than plankton. Wildlife is also dying from becoming entangled in plastic.

In the US alone, it takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce one year’s worth of single-use plastic bags.

 “Does charging a fee on single-use bags really work?” The answer lies in our Nation’s Capital. In January of 2010, a .05 fee was placed on single-use plastic bags and in six month’s time, use of those bags has decreased by 65%. Consumers in Washington say it is not the .05 fee but the “guilt” associated with using plastic bags at the check out counter.

Plastic Story in Oceans :

One of the most serious threats to our oceans is plastics pollution. Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. Why is there so much plastic in the ocean? Unlike other types of trash, plastic does not biodegrade; instead, it photo-degrades with sunlight, breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces, but they never really disappear. These plastic pieces are eaten by marine life, wash up on beaches, or break down into microscopic plastic dust, attracting more debris.

Plastic poses a significant threat to the health of sea creatures, both big and small. Over 100,000 marine mammals and one million seabirds die each year from ingesting or becoming entangled in plastic.

It takes 500-1000 years for plastic to degrade. Even if we stopped using plastics today, they will remain with us for many generations, threatening both human and ocean health. Despite these alarming facts, there are actions we can take to address the problem of plastics. 

The United Nations Environment Programme estimated in 2006 that every square mile of ocean contains 46,000 pieces of floating plastic.Once discarded, plastics are weathered and eroded into very small fragments known as micro-plastics.

These together with plastic pellets are already found in most beaches around the world.Plastic debris causes the deaths of more than a million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals.

Plastic materials and other litter can become concentrated in certain areas called gyres as a result of marine pollution gathered by oceanic currents. There are now 5 gyres in our ocean.

gyre

The North Pacific Gyre, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, occupies a relatively stationary area that is twice the size of Texas. Waste material from across the North Pacific Ocean, including coastal waters off North America and Japan, are drawn together.

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Courtesy & Source : UNESCO, Takepart, Times of India, Google

 

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Eco Preservation : Seven Wonders of the Water World

Many lists have been made touting the seven wonders of one thing or another but one list that still needed to be created was a list describing the Top Seven Wonders of the Underwater World. In 1989, CEDAM International, an international diving association, decided to write up their own list describing what they thought were the most spectacular underwater sites in the world. And the 7 wonders of the underwater world includes,

01 The Galapagos Islands

Located in the Pacific Ocean, west of Ecuador are the Galapagos Islands. The islands sprouted from the earth’s crust from a sub oceanic lava vent on the ocean floor. The relatively new volcanic geology created a habitat rich with flora, fauna, and animal life that have been studied and admired by numerous travelers, scientists, and nature-lovers from all over the world.

02 The Northern Red Sea

Some of the most beautiful coral reefs in the world are located in the Northern Red Sea. Considered by some to be the underwater “Garden of Eden,” this reef has some of the most diverse sea life in the world. Located in the Indian Sea between Asia and Africa, the Northern Red Sea spreads out over 169,000 square miles. More than 70 species of hard coral, 30 species of soft coral, over 500 species of fish including hundreds of additional marine life species classified as invertebrate call this reef home.

03 Palau

Palau is an island nation located about 500 miles from the Philippines. Some of the most beautiful fish in the world live in these reefs. More than 350 species of hard corals, 200 species of soft corals, 300 species of sponges, and 1,300 species of reef fish call this coral reef home.

04 Lake Baikal

Lake Baikal is the second most voluminous fresh water lake in the world. Located in Siberia, Russia, the lake has an average depth of 2,442 ft and contains roughly 20% of the world’s surface fresh water. At 25 million years old and with a depth of 2442ft makes this lake the oldest and deepest lake in the world.

05 The Great Barrier Reef

The only living thing that can be seen from outer space that is larger than the Great Wall of China is the Great Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the world. Located in Australia, this reef system is composed of 2,900 individual reefs and 900 islands making it 1,600 miles in length. The overall structure of the reef is composed of billions of tiny organisms, known as coral polyps. Along with the ocean, the reef creates a habitat that supports a great diversity of sea life, some of which are endangered. Because of the vast beauty of the Reef, people find it very appealing to visit thus bringing many tourist dollars to the area, which help to put in place protective measures to hopefully protect this valuable wonder for many generations to come.

 

06 The Deep Sea Vents

Deep Sea Vents otherwise known as hypothermal vents, are fissures along the ocean floor that release superheated water from below the Earth’s crust. The hot water is saturated with dissolved minerals from the crust, mostly sulfides, which crystallize to create a chimney-like enclosure around each vent. When the superheated water in the vent reaches the frigid ocean water, many minerals are released, creating the distinctive black color. The metal sulfides that are deposited can become massive sulfide ore deposits in time. The Deep Sea vents were first discovered in 1977 near the Galápagos Islands by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They are found to exist in both the Pacific and Atlanta Ocean at an average of 2100 meters deep.

 

07 The Belize Barrier Reef

The second largest reef system in the world is the Belize Barrier Reef. Located on the coast of Belize, this reef is considered to be one of the best spots in the world to dive and snorkel. It is over 186 miles long and is part of the larger Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System that stretches from Cancun all the way to the Honduras, for a total of 560 miles. Only 10% of this reef has actually been researched and documented.