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Science for Environment Policy, Issue 383

Science for Environment Policy, Issue 383

A service from the European Commission...

Simple Swedish device effectively reduces harmful indoor air pollution
Indoor air quality can be significantly improved using a simple device which traps harmful chemicals emitted from glues, paints and building materials, a new study has shown. Designed in Sweden, the researchers demonstrate that the 'surface emissions trap', especially effective for damp buildings, also prevents emissions from mould and can remove unpleasant odours.
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New incineration-waste clean-up method brings resource and carbon benefits
Ash from waste incineration can be made safer simply by mixing it with rice husks, water and other forms of waste ash at temperatures under 100 °C, according to new research. Once dried, the end product not only locks away toxic metals lead and zinc, but also stores carbon. Furthermore, it can be used in the polymer industry to lower costs, improve polymer properties and reduce the use of natural resources.
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Older and larger trees enhance woodland bird biodiversity in cities
Managing urban green spaces to ensure that they have a good mix of tree species, including some older and larger trees, can enhance species diversity of woodland birds, a new study has shown. The study, carried out in Prague, Czech Republic, also showed that the presence of water bodies increased the number of species of woodland birds.
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Protest votes: why will some people not tell how much they are willing to pay for clean air?
What is the value of clean air? Answering such a question may be achieved by asking citizens how much they are willing to pay. However, some individuals give 'protest vote' responses to such questions. Recent research in EU countries found that the main reasons for this were because they felt that the polluters themselves or the government should be responsible for such costs.
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Rural inhabitants suffer mental distress under extended droughts
Long, unbroken periods of drought can be damaging to the mental health of people living in rural areas, new research suggests. An Australian study found that rural inhabitants who had experienced extensive drought periods over a seven-year period, combined with an unbroken spell for the year before they completed the survey had substantially higher distress scores than other participants.
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Balancing conflicting conservation goals takes time
Ecosystems are complex and managing them effectively can mean balancing conflicting conservation goals. In a recent US study in the San Francisco Bay area researchers examine the best strategies to eradicate an invasive plant while protecting an endangered bird that uses it for nesting habitat. They find that with a clear management plan both goals can be achieved, albeit over a longer timeframe.
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