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Urbanisation is a significant and growing worldwide trend which raises increasingly important environmental issues for policymakers.
Published: 21 January 2014
In the UK, Plant Health Officials are approving a newly developed portable DNA testing device for disease diagnosis. They are checking for ash dieback, the spore-borne disease caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea which, according to the UK Forestry Commission, has infected more than 330 sites in the UK and resulted in the destruction of tens of thousands of young trees. A sample of infected bark is taken from an ash tree and prepared in a manner which can amplify and detect DNA from the organism. The result is available within minutes - rather than the days it would have taken if the sample had been sent for laboratory analysis. Since speed is of critical importance in diagnosing such disease outbreaks, this is a major step forward.
Published: 30 July 2013
The European Union's (EU) approach to waste management is based on three principles: waste prevention, reuse and recycling, and improving final disposal and monitoring. In 2010, the total generation of waste from economic activities and households in the EU amounted to 2.570 million tonnes, which equates to 5.1 tonnes of waste per person.
Published: 22 July 2013
Treating schizophrenia presents huge challenges and those involved see first-hand how this diverse medical condition causes huge suffering and requires complex and costly care, often over a lifetime. In the Netherlands, Prof. Jim van Os is heading up an exciting and ambitious international research project that brings together professionals, patients and their families who depend on each other to unlock new answers and approaches to treatment. There is so much that we don't yet understand about it and current treatments are inadequate, so there is a real motivation to work together and solve more bits of a complicated puzzle.
Published: 18 July 2013
Cities around the world are facing a myriad of pressures, including rapid urbanisation and urban sprawl. As a result, authorities are finding it increasingly difficult to manage scarce water resources, deliver water and sanitation services, and dispose of wastewater. At the same time, authorities must do their utmost to minimise the negative impact of such developments on the environment and urban populations.
Published: 27 May 2013
Flooding is set to become a major challenge for cities in Europe and Asia due to changes in climate and demographic trends. Robust flood-prevention strategies tailored to specific regional requirements are required. The best way to accomplish this, according to an EU-funded project, is to share experience and knowledge.
Published: 5 November 2012
The prevention of man-made and natural disasters is a major concern for every sector of industry. Until now, however, there has been a noticeable lack of cross-sector co-operation on this issue. A recent EU-funded project aimed to challenge this and, in so doing, establish new standards for risk assessment.
Published: 10 October 2012
As the overwhelmingly dominant element in the atmosphere around us, and one of the four most common elements in living organisms, it gets surprisingly little attention. Especially when its impact on humans and the planet has been described, by a recent expert report, as "one of the biggest challenges of the 21th century".
Published: 27 August 2012
Fish are a vital component of the human diet. As well as providing a crucial source of protein, the health benefits of eating fish, especially oily fish, are well documented.
The omega-3 fatty acids they contain can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,
and they provide building blocks for the human eye and nervous system.
Published: 7 August 2012
Global warming comes with a big price tag for every country in the world. But how exactly do we set that price tag and predict the economic impact of climate change? Not acting on climate change has a costbut defining the costs of climate inaction is very difficult, involving complex permutations and myriad computer models. A European Union (EU)-funded research project has been able to give a clearer answer, and at the same time offer an even stronger argument for concerted action to address the problem.
Published: 5 July 2012