Plastic bag bans in the U.S. have already prevented billions of bags from being used

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January 22 – 28 2024 C.E.

Plastic bag bans in the U.S. have already prevented billions of bags from being used

Over the past several years, U.S. cities and states have passed hundreds of policies restricting the sale and distribution of single-use plastic bags. A new report – copublished by Environment America, U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, and Frontier Group – says these laws have largely succeeded in their goal of reducing plastic bag use. New Jersey’s ban alone has eliminated more than 5.5 billion plastic bags annually.

Cancer vaccine with minimal side effects nearing Phase 3 clinical trials

The vaccine – developed by Dr. Thomas Wagner of U.S.-based Orbis Health Solutions – has already been tested in hundreds of patients with advanced forms of melanoma in Phase 2 clinical trials. The most recent data showed nearly 95% of people given only the vaccine were still alive three years after starting treatment and 64% were still disease-free. Among the most advanced forms of melanoma, disease-free survival after three years for people with stage III disease was 60% in the vaccine-only group, compared to about 39% in the placebo group.

Mexico announces 20 new protected areas covering more than 5 million acres of land

Mexico’s government recently announced the creation of 20 new protected areas across 12 states and two coastal areas in the country, covering roughly 5.7 million acres. Officials introduced four new national parks, four “flora and fauna protection areas,” seven sanctuaries, two biosphere reserves and three “natural resources protection areas” under the protection of the National Commission of Protected Natural Areas.

Rio Tinto signs contract for Australian grid’s first gigawatt scale solar project

Mining company Rio Tinto has signed a contract to buy all the electricity from what will be the biggest solar project on Australia’s main grid – a 1.1 GW facility near Gladstone in Queensland. Rio Tinto is seeking up to 4 GW of wind and solar to provide clean power to and guarantee the future of its three main assets in the region – the Boyne Island aluminium smelter, the Yarwun alumina refinery, and the Queensland alumina refinery. All three assets are now supplied by coal.

Historic malaria vaccine rollout begins in Cameroon

The rollout of the world’s first malaria vaccine has begun in Cameroon, which is said to usher in a “transformative chapter in Africa’s public health history”. The RTS,S vaccine – 662,000 doses of it – will be administered to children in the west African country, the first to be vaccinated after successful trials of the drug in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi between 2019 and 2021.

New York City plans to wipe out $2 billion in medical debt for 500,000 residents

The city is working with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that buys medical debt in bulk from hospitals and debt collectors for pennies on the dollar. The group targets the debt of people with low incomes or financial hardships and then forgives the amounts. Under the program, the city will spend $18 million over three years.

Breakthrough Alzheimer’s blood test could detect disease 15 years before symptoms emerge

A recent trial of 786 people – conducted by Dr. Nicholas Ashton at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden and colleagues – found the new test to be as accurate at detecting the signs of Alzheimer’s as painful lumbar punctures, and better than a range of other tests currently being worked on. Experts say it could pave the way for national screening programs for people 50 and over, and that current treatments could work better with the cases picked up earlier.

No cervical cancer cases in HPV-vaccinated women in Scotland

A new study from Public Health Scotland has found that no cases of cervical cancer have been detected in young women who have been fully-vaccinated as part of the HPV immunization program, concluding that the vaccine was “highly effective” in preventing the development of the cancer. Scotland’s HPV vaccination program started in 2008 with girls offered the vaccine in their first year at secondary school.

Norway moves aggressively to curb cruise ship emissions to protect fjords

Starting in 2026, only ships powered by alternative fuels will be allowed to visit Norway’s fjords. Lawmakers want to protect the unique natural environment and stop marine diesel oil and mass tourism from damaging the climate. Some ships are now powered by liquefied natural gas (LNG), but that will no longer qualify as an acceptable fuel for cruise ships visiting the fjords of Norway.

U.K. use of gas and coal for electricity at lowest since 1957

The UK’s gas power plants last year generated 31% of the UK’s electricity, or 98 terawatt hours, according to a report by the industry journal Carbon Brief, while the UK’s last remaining coal plant produced enough electricity to meet just 1% of the UK’s power demand or 4TWh. Fossil fuels have been increasingly squeezed out of the electricity system by a surge in renewable energy generation combined with higher electricity imports from France and Norway and a long-term trend of falling demand.

China becomes world’s largest nation to plan phase out of single-use plastics (January 20, 2022 C.E.)

In 2019, the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) stated that by the end of 2020 single-use plastic bags would be banned in all of China’s major cities. By the end of 2022, the plastic bag ban was to be extended to all cities and towns. As the world’s most populous nation and second-largest economy, this became the most significant plastic bag ban in history.

All countries worldwide institute and enforce sweeping plastic bag bans (2037 C.E. ???)

With the last remaining countries deciding that plastic bags are not in their or the world’s interest, the production and sale of the polluting technology is all but eliminated worldwide. The bans prove a resounding success in reducing pollutants in soils and waterways, protecting marine life, minimizing carbon emissions in the air, and ultimately making the world a more livable and beautiful place.

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