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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

News Follow-up

Air Date: Week of June 14, 2002

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Developments in stories we’ve been tracking.

Transcript

CURWOOD: Time now to follow up on some of the news stories we’ve been tracking lately. A few months ago, we reported on illegal toxic recycling sites for old computers in China. Recently, China has said it will increase efforts to enforce its ban on importing electronic waste and cut down on this pollution. Jim Puckett, head of the Basel Action Network, visited some of these sites in China. He said China’s new statement is the first of many steps that need to be taken.

PUCKETT: China is somewhat successful. Unfortunately, that doesn’t solve the problem because it’ll just go to another country-- Vietnam, for example, or India or Pakistan. The real answer lies in banning the export from the exporting countries.

CURWOOD: Mr. Puckett says the European Union has already banned exporting electronic waste to China, but the U.S. has yet to act.

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CURWOOD: It looks like Keiko, star of the movie "Free Willy," is one step closer to living life as a free whale. When researchers have allowed the Orca to venture beyond its pen into the North Atlantic over the past two summers they’ve noticed that he’s starting to interact with the groups of whales that are from his genetic family group. Charles Vinnick is with the Ocean Futures Society which is helping Keiko adapt to the wild.

VINNICK: These whales are born into a family group and they stay in those families for life. So, certainly among the things scientists have postulated is that Keiko is far more likely to be accepted by a group that he’s related to than by a group that he is not.

CURWOOD: Scientists hope Keiko will spend more time with these family groups and eventually join one as a full-fledged member.

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CURWOOD: Last year during the energy crisis in California and the rolling black-outs, many predicted that the summer would bring hundreds of additional hours without energy. That never occurred. Charles Goldman, researcher at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, says that a new study explains why these blackouts were avoided.

GOLDMAN: Some folks have said that the reductions in usage were due to mild weather or the slumping economy. And we found that the weather was comparable between 2001 and 2000 and that the economy had modest economic growth in California, and that the reductions were driven by customer actions.

CURWOOD: Mr. Goldman says these consumer-driven conservation measures added up to an eight to 10 percent reduction in energy use in California last summer.

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CURWOOD: Last week, we aired a commentary showing the parallel between the World Cup and global warming. Well, it turns out there might be a more direct correlation between the World Cup and water. During the recent match between Japan and Russia, water use in Japan was well below average during the scoreless first half of the game. But when halftime came, the demand for water spiked, as fans apparently all rushed to the bathroom at the same time. And that’s this week’s follow-up on the news from Living on Earth.
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