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Local Government NZ’s Election Manifesto Forgets Their Environment Record

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Local Government New Zealand’s (LGNZ) election manifesto
fails to recognise that regional councils should focus on
meeting their obligations to protect the environment for
future generations, instead of blaming central
Government.

Fish & Game New Zealand Chief
Executive Martin Taylor notes that many regional councils
currently do not have tough enough rules to protect water
quality for future generations, have not enforced existing
rules well enough and have even actively fought against
imposing rules to improve environmental outcomes.

“You
can comply with the current rules, and water quality will
still decline in the catchment. Look at what has taken place
in Canterbury with nitrate levels”.

“We have no
confidence that some regional councils are even enforcing
the current rules effectively, look at LGNZ’s own reports
commissioned. The 2019 report called out regional councils
for ‘significant shortcomings’ when it comes to
compliance, monitoring and enforcement functions under the
RMA while the second 2020 report says “key trends remain
consistent with the inaugural report”.

These reports
make it clear that while some councils are performing well.
Others, meanwhile, are poorly resourced, behind in consent
checks and are reluctant to prosecute. Not all councils
provided the requested data, leaving gaps, and making
meaningful comparisons difficult.

“LGNZ needs to look
at itself and the legacy it wants for all New Zealanders. It
seems to have spent the last three years opposing the
Government’s freshwater reform package, despite the
Government’s reforms being focused on protecting the
environment for future generations.

“The last 20 years
of water quality decline in both rural and urban settings
clearly demonstrates why the Government needed to introduce
rules that force regional councils to do their
job.

“Only nationally-set standards backed up by
nationally enforced rules will deliver the water quality
Kiwis are calling for.”

“The answer to LGNZ’s fear
that Government rules impose extra costs on councils is
easy. Councils should pass all costs on to those businesses
who pollute. If they don’t then those businesses are being
subsidised with public money”.

A recent Colmar Brunton
poll conducted for Fish & Game New Zealand showed that
pollution of our rivers and lakes remains a top concern for
Kiwis, with two-thirds expecting the Government to put rules
and regulations in place to protect water
quality.

“Three quarters – 77 per cent – of those
surveyed said they were extremely or very concerned about
the pollution of lakes and rivers,” Mr Taylor
says.

“These results show the depth of feeling kiwis
have about the loss of what they considered their birthright
– clean rivers, lakes and streams.

“Kiwis expect to be
able to swim, fish and gather food from their rivers, lakes
and streams. This election is an once-in-a-generation
opportunity to ensure the next Government will tackle an
issue Kiwis are deeply concerned about. Let’s get this
right.”

© Scoop Media

 

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NGT directs Delhi, Haryana to prepare environment plan for Najafgarh lake

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New Delhi, Sep 18 (PTI) The controversy over declaration of Najafgarh Jheel (lake) as a water body, falling both in Delhi and Gurgaon in Haryana, led the National Green Tribunal Friday to direct both the governments to prepare an environment plan to prevent encroachments and construction in the area.

A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice A K Goel asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to steer the proceedings for preparation of Environment Management Plan with the assistance of Central Pollution Control Board.

“CPCB may coordinate as a nodal agency. Such plan may be prepared within three months. Action taken report may be filed before the next date by e-mail,” the bench said.

The matter has been posted for next hearing on January 27, 2021.

The tribunal noted that according to a report received from the District Magistrate, Gurgaon, is to the effect that there is no entry of water body in the revenue record and the area is partly government land partly private. 

Counsel for Haryana stated however that there is a large water body in existence and a management plan is under the state”s consideration.

“In view of the fact that there is a large trans-boundary water body which partly falls in Delhi and partly in Haryana, it will be appropriate that an Environment Management Plan is prepared jointly by the State of Haryana and NCT of Delhi,” the NGT said.

The order came on a plea by NGO Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) seeking execution of NGT”s 2017 order to expeditiously decide the issue.

The plea alleged that the NCT of Delhi and the Haryana have failed to take necessary action.

It claimed that even though three years have passed since the Haryana government assured the tribunal to declare the lake as water body, further steps have not been taken so as to check encroachments and constructions.

The NGO, in its plea through advocate Aakash Vashishtha, had sought direction to the Delhi and Haryana governments to declare Najafgarh lake as a water body/wetland.

According to the applicant, there is serious threat to the water body because of continuous encroachment and constructions in the submergence zone of the lake.

After claiming there was no natural lake in the Najafgarh area, the Haryana government had earlier taken a U-turn by telling the NGT that it had been accepted as a water body.

INTACH had alleged that the large-scale construction work done in the floodplain of the Najafgarh nallah and the lake had drained the area. PTI PKS SA


Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI


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Brazil President says his governement should be congratulated for protecting the environment

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Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro has said that Brazil ‘should be congratulated for the way it preserves its environment.’ The comments come as major fires continue to rage in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest and Pantanal wetlands. Amazon deforestation has also surged 34.5 per cent in the 12 months through July, compared to the same period a year ago, according to data from government space research agency Inpe.

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How environmental cues can affect behavior

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How environmental cues can affect behavior
Hydra in control media before contraction (left) and during contraction (right). Credit: Wataru Yamamoto

Although it may seem counterintuitive, researchers are turning to an animal without a brain to crack the neural code underlying behavior.

Hydra vulgaris, a tiny, tentacled, freshwater organism, uses “nets” of neurons dispersed throughout its tube-like body to coordinate stretching, contracting, somersaulting, and feeding movements. This simple nervous system is one reason that Hydra is well suited for studying how translates into motion.

In a study published in eNeuro, a duo from Columbia University and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) has begun to crack the behind Hydra’s simplest behavior, called contraction bursts (when the torso shrinks down and expands outward, over and over again). The scientists found that the concentration of dissolved particles in the surrounding water—a property known as osmolarity—affects the activity of a neural circuit in one of Hydra’s nerve nets, which can trigger a specific set of muscle cells to contract the torso.

“One by one, we want to decipher the neural and muscular activity behind each of Hydra’s behaviors,” says senior author and MBL Whitman Center Fellow, Rafael Yuste of Columbia University. “This paper is the beginning of our journey.”

Five Hydra freely behaving in 50mM sucrose (high osmolarity) solution. This video is sped up 300-fold. Credit: Wataru Yamamoto

Yuste and first author Wataru Yamamoto conducted their experiments in Woods Hole during the summers of 2017 and 2018, in consultation with their MBL Hydra Lab research consortium. They used whole-body calcium imaging to visualize Hydra’s neurons and muscles, and tested whether tweaking various environmental conditions such as , body size, nutritional state, and osmolarity would affect contractions. They were surprised to find that just one of those parameters, osmolarity, had an impact.

Boosting the concentration of sugar particles in the water triggered fewer contractions and decreased activity in the “contraction burst” (CB) neural circuit as well as in one set of muscles. Lowering particle concentration had the opposite effect, increasing cellular activity and contractions. Although additional experiments are needed to confirm their theory, the researchers propose that CB neurons respond to changes in osmolarity by altering muscle activity, which in turn influences frequency.

Hydra ectoderm muscle activity during contraction in control media. The animal was allowed to move between coverslips in the mounted configuration. This video is sped up 20-fold. Credit: Wataru Yamamoto

Reacting to changes in particle concentration could mean the difference between life and death for Hydra—especially if salt is involved. As freshwater dwellers lacking advanced excretory systems, Hydra are not well-equipped to maintain the proper balance of salinity inside and outside their bodies. Water is constantly flowing in and out of their gastrovascular cavities, and too much internal salty solution causes them to balloon and literally explode. The researchers surmise that Hydra contract in response to high osmolarity to “wring” themselves out and expel excess water.

The acrobatic hydra shows off: How environmental cues can affect behavior
Freely-behaving Hydra vulgaris exhibiting different motor behaviors (elongation, contraction, somersaulting). Credit: Wataru Yamamoto

In addition to affecting contractions, osmolarity also influenced how often Hydra detached and repositioned its tube foot, likely preparing to move to a new location. Yamamoto plans to continue to investigate how and why this happens. He hopes his line of inquiry will eventually help decode a more complex behavior: somersaulting, when Hydra flips tentacles-over-tube foot, like a circus acrobat.


How does the nervous system create behavior? Muscle activity map in Hydra gives insight


More information:
Wataru Yamamoto et al, Whole-Body Imaging of Neural and Muscle Activity during Behavior in Hydra vulgaris: Effect of Osmolarity on Contraction Bursts, eneuro (2020). DOI: 10.1523/ENEURO.0539-19.2020

Citation:
How environmental cues can affect behavior (2020, September 17)
retrieved 17 September 2020
from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-environmental-cues-affect-behavior.html

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