In world’s poorest slums, landfills and polluted rivers become a child’s playground

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in Yangon's suburbs in Myanmar in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

A girl plays with her brother as they search for usable items at junkyard near the Danyingone station in the suburbs of Yangon, Myanmar, in 2012. Photo by Damir Sagolj/Reuters

Worldwide, more than 340,000 children under age 5 died from diarrheal diseases in 2013 due to a lack of safe water, sanitation and basic hygiene. That’s 1,000 deaths a day, according to the UN’s statistics. What’s more, the No. 1 killer of children between the ages of one month to 5 years, pneumonia, can also be spread through a lack of hygiene.

Although much improvement has been made in the past decade to aid children across the globe, there are still alarming numbers who do not have access to clean water, proper sanitation or even just a way to clean their hands — especially after coming in contact with waste and feces.

“A gram of feces can contain ten million viruses,” said Sanjay Wijesekera, Chief of Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, Programme Division at UNICEF. “Many diseases are transmitted by pathogens going from feces to food and fingers and so on, making children ill.”

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the river Sabarmati to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted waters of the Sabarmati River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2010. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

One of the most basic hygiene problems that haunt developing communities is lack of adequate toilets. Around the world, about 2.5 billion people do not have proper toilets. Among them, 1 billion people defecate in the open — in fields, bushes and bodies of water — putting themselves and their community in danger of fecal-oral diseases, like hepatitis, cholera and dysentery.

Children are especially susceptible to these diseases when their home and “playgrounds” are overrun with rubbish and human waste. In countries throughout Asia, children can be seen swimming in polluted stagnant waters, digging through trash and playing amid toxic substances at landfills.

“When you have children running around barefeet, then coming in contact with excrete, it’s really easy to catch the worms and this of course impacts their development and growth,” said Dr. Aidan Cronin, Chief of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) program at UNICEF Indonesia.

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in a slum area of Bangladesh's capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

A child jumps on the waste products that are used to make poultry feed as she plays in a tannery at Hazaribagh in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2012. Luxury leather goods sold across the world are produced in this slum area of Bangladesh’s capital where workers, including children, are exposed to hazardous chemicals and often injured in horrific accidents. Photo by Andrew Biraj/Reuters

Reuters photographers have been capturing scenes like this for the past decade. But even some of the oldest photos in this series picture grisly scenes that, sadly, are still the reality in urban slums today.

Not only do these conditions promote the spread of deadly childhood diseases, another major health problem that affects children’s lives is stunting, often caused by malnutrition but also by intestinal worms and internal inflammation from fecal-oral contamination.

Stunting has become a huge obstacle for many children’s physical and cognitive growth, ultimately affecting their development and ability to learn. In Indonesia alone, nearly 9 million children suffer from stunting, said Cronin.

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila December 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A child eats breakfast in a garbage dump, where hundreds of people live and make a living by recycling waste and making charcoal, in the Tondo section of Manila, Dec. 9, 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

In Indonesia, UNICEF have recently launched a campaign called “Tinju Tinja,” which means “punch the poo” in Indonesian, in support of the Government’s five-year plan to have a completely open defecation-free country. In an attempt to engage the urban youth, the campaign has one of the local rock stars, Melanie Subono, literally fighting the “poo monster” as the main image to spearhead the campaign.

“It all starts from acknowledging that [open defecation] is a serious problem,” Cronin said. “The more you engage with communities and work with them with their specific issues, the more sustainable sanitation is.”

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

Children sitting on a makeshift raft play in a river full of rubbish in a slum area of Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2012. Photo by Enny Nuraheni/Reuters

One way to help children is through education and schools, said Dr. Jody Heymann, Dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health and founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center. A lot of progress has been made to make primary schools free and available for children around the world. In Indonesia, UNICEF works through primary schools to teach kids the importance of sanitation and hygiene by putting in clean toilets, hand washing stations and soap so that the kids can form a habit of cleaning.

“I think when we see [these] images, we should be asking not only ‘why isn’t there a playground? What’s leading them to the dump?’” said Heymann. “But the bigger question of what’s keeping them from being in school, gaining education that would give them lifelong opportunity.”

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy looks on as he collects recyclable materials at a garbage dump in New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Adnan Abidi/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

A boy plays in a polluted river after school at Pluit dam in Jakarta, Indonesia, June 5, 2009. Photo by Beawiharta/Reuters

Sana, a five-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

Sana, a 5-year-old girl, plays on a cloth sling hanging from a signalling pole as smoke from a garbage dump rises next to a railway track in Mumbai, India, in 2012. Photo by Vivek Prakash/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu October 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child living in a slum plays on a swing under a bridge on the bank of Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal, Oct. 17, 2011. Photo by Navesh Chitrakar/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, southwest China's Guizhou province September 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A child swims in a polluted reservoir in Pingba, in southwest China’s Guizhou province Sept. 2, 2006. Photo by China Daily/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in Tondo, Manila in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

A boy plays at a garbage dump where hundreds of people stay and make a living out of recycling waste and making charcoal in the Tondo section of Manila, in 2007. Photo by Darren Whiteside/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri October 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Children play in the fumes of a municipality fumigant sprayer in a slum area in the northeastern Indian city of Siliguri, Oct. 5, 2006. Photo by Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi November 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

Waste collector Dinesh Mukherjee, 11, watches his friend jump over a puddle of toxic liquid at the Ghazipur landfill in New Delhi Nov. 10, 2011. Photo by Parivartan Sharma/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amidst a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

A boy swims in the polluted water of the Yamuna River to dive for offerings thrown in by worshippers amid a dust haze in New Delhi during World Environment Day in 2010. Photo by Reinhard Krause/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage during Easter Sunday in Manila April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

People paddle in the waters of Manila Bay amid garbage in the Philippines’ capital city on Easter Sunday, April 24, 2011. Photo by Cheryl Ravelo/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati river after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Boys collect coconuts thrown in as offerings by worshippers in the waters of the Sabarmati River after the immersion of idols of the Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in 2011. Photo by Amit Dave/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Children of rag-pickers stand amid a heap of garbage on the outskirts of New Delhi in 2006. Photo by Kamal Kishore/Reuters

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Don’t forget the woman worker this August

Op-Ed: Don’t forget the woman worker this August

  • ANNIE DEVENISH
    SOUTH AFRICA
    17 AUG 2017 11:45 (SOUTH AFRICA)

Photo: Informal traders with no water or electricity sell food cooked over open fires in a shack at the entrance to the construction site of Soccer City, the venue for the final of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Soweto, South Africa, 16 January 2008. Photo:  EPA/JON HRUSA

This August the media will focus on women as consumers, as beneficiaries of state services, and as victims, in a much needed effort to bring attention to gender-based violence, but it is important that we don’t forget women as workers, because it’s precisely the invisibility and undervaluing of women’s labour that plays a key role in reinforcing gender inequality. By ANNIE DEVENISH

Xolisile Mhlongo is already setting up stall by the time Durban’s mynah birds begin chirping on a weekday summer morning. She arrives at Warwick Junction, a busy transport hub near Durban inner city, at 4.30am every day to prepare the meat and dumplings she sells to passing customers.

Across South Africa, in urban and rural centres, at taxi ranks and pedestrian thoroughfares, traders like Mhlongo are setting up shop for the day ahead. They are part of the more than 530,000 street traders recorded by the South African Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS), 70% of whom are women.

Mhlongo works six days a week, commuting from her family home in KwaMashu, a township about 20kms from the city centre. Working long hours, often without adequate toilets and storage facilities, and sometimes in hostile environments facing theft or police harassment, these women generate vital income to support their families and their children’s education.

This August the media will focus on women as consumers, as beneficiaries of state services, and as victims, in a much needed effort to bring attention to gender-based violence, but it is important that we don’t forget women as workers, because it’s precisely the invisibility and undervaluing of women’s labour that plays a key role in reinforcing gender inequality.

According to Stats SA there are 9,438,000 economically active women in the labour force as of 2015, which means that they constitute almost 50% of the nearly 21 million economically active South Africans. The term economically active includes both people who are working, and those who want to work, but are unemployed.

Like Mhlongo, more than a third – 39 % in fact – of employed women work in the informal sector, compared to 29% of employed men. Statistics South Africa’s definition of informal employment includes all workers in the informal sector. Employers, own-account workers and unpaid family workers are defined as being in the informal sector if the business for which they work is not registered for VAT or income tax. Employees are defined as being in the informal sector if their employer does not deduct income tax from their pay and if the business in which they work has fewer than five employees. Informal employment also includes employees in the formal sector and private households whose employers do not contribute to their pension or medical insurance, and who do not have a written contract.

Those who are defined as working in the informal economy might be street traders, recyclers, or domestic workers. They could be home-based workers, involved in the production of clothing, catering or child care. Alternatively they could be day or seasonal workers in construction or agriculture.

What is certain regardless of industry is that workers in the informal sector are more vulnerable to risk and uncertainty because they do not have any form of social security or worker benefits, such as sick leave, holiday pay, proper pension schemes, medical aid and unemployment insurance.

And because employed women are more likely to work in the informal sector compared to their male counterparts, they face a disproportionate amount of this risk. Women workers also lack maternity benefits which puts them at a particular disadvantage, because it means that they have no job security when they take time off work to have children, and when they do, they will not receive any income support. Without access to benefits and the buffer of social security, an accident, unexpected illness, confiscation or destruction of stock, or eviction from the work space could spell disaster for such workers, placing their livelihoods at serious risk, and propelling them into a cycle of poverty.

A severe burn accident in 2010 brought this reality home to Mhlongo. She works in the Bovine head section of Warwick market where there is no electricity or running water. Cooking is done with a Primus stove using paraffin. One morning while trying to get a flame going, the lid of the stove came off, dousing her with paraffin and setting her alight.Mhlongo was badly burnt on her shoulders, chest, upper arms and face. Even her eyelids and the inside of her mouth were scorched. She needed specialist care, and was transferred to Addington hospital, a government-run facility on the Durban beach front where she spent three months recovering. During this time she could not work, and would have received no income at all had it not been for a family member who ran her stall for her.

But it’s not just women in the informal sector who face discrimination; in the formal sector too, despite the gains made in educational attainment, women are pigeon-holed into less valued, lower skilled and lower paying industries. And when they do perform the same work as their male counterparts, they are often paid less. This is clearly illustrated by the distribution of female employment across industry sectors, and the pay scales of male versus female workers.

Stats SA figures quoted in South Africa’s Report on the Status of the Women in the Economy (2015), show, that with the exception of women in professional occupations, women are more likely to be employed in low-skilled occupations at 36.2%, compared with 24.8% of men. At the top end of the scale, only 11.7% of employed women are in high-skilled occupations, compared with 14.4% of men.

As the report notes these differences are partly the result of the relatively large proportion of women employed as domestic workers. Just under a million women work as domestics in private households in South Africa, making up 14% of all working women in the country, and playing a vital role in enabling their employers to go out to work.

At the top of the employment ladder this imbalance is even worse. Figures show that between 2000 and 2014 only 20.4% of top managers were female, according to the Commission for Employment Equity Annual Report (2014-2015).

Figures from the 2013 SA Labour Market Dynamics Survey reveal that the median wage of all women in South Africa is less than that of their male counterparts of the same race. There are however important differences among women across race groups where gender and race intersect to create a more complex hierarchies. For example, the median wage for white women in South Africa was a staggering five times the median wage for African women, indicating the depth of inequality amongst this group as a whole.

All women are workers, even if they are not in the marketplace. This is because they perform the bulk of the productive and reproductive labour of the household, such as cooking, cleaning and gardening, caring for children, the sick and elderly, and providing emotional care and social support to the broader community. This unpaid care work contributes directly to our country’s economic and social development.

A Time Use Survey conducted by Stats SA in 2010 found that women spent nearly four hours per day doing housework and caring for their families and community. This was more than twice the amount of time spent by their male counterparts. The magnitude of this becomes clearer when we put a monetary value on this time and labour. A calculation of the estimated value of this unpaid care work by Debbie Budlender (2008) concluded that of the proportion of women’s unpaid care work as a percentage of South Africa’s GDP ranged between 11% and 30% depending on what type of measure was used. The words of activist George Monbiot certainly do seem to ring true here, that “If wealth was the inevitable result of hard work and enterprise, every woman in Africa would be a millionaire”.

The irony of course is that social welfare policies and practices are often dependent on women’s unpaid care work. At the height of the HIV/Aids pandemic in South Africa, community NGOs and government clinics across the country relied on volunteer workers to provide home-based palliative care to the sick and dying. The majority of these care workers were women who received no compensation, except for a stipend to cover transport and food expenses. By providing a constitutionally obligated service to the populace, these women’s unpaid care work was in fact subsidising the state, assuming the state’s responsibility for health care.

Ensuring an effective health care system is therefore a way of acknowledging and alleviating the burden of the unpaid care work of nursing the sick. Governments and business can also acknowledge the contribution of this invisible care work in relation to childcare, by providing affordable quality child care to enable greater participation of women in the labour market.

Challenging gendered perceptions of care work as women’s work is equally important in order to encourage a more equal distribution of household chores and child care, an approach advocated by the Sonke Gender Justice network. And government policies, such as improved paternity leave, are also needed to reinforce such social interventions.

But change is needed not only at the national level of policy making, but also at a local level, when it comes to infrastructure provision and urban planning. As Francie Lund, former Director of the Social Protection Programme at Women in the Informal Economy (WIEGO) explains, the work environment for traders like Mhlongo at Warwick Junction is defined by municipal rather than national policy. It is therefore the municipal provision of infrastructure in the form of toilets, shelters for traders, improved security, and access to reliable electricity and running water that will make tangible difference to their conditions of work.

August is woman’s month in South Africa, commemorating the 20’000 plus women who marched to the Union buildings on 9 August 1956 to protest the extension of the discriminatory apartheid-era pass laws to them.

Today women like Mhlongo and her colleagues continue to organise as part of the South African Informal Workers Association (SAIWA) to ensure greater recognition of their rights as workers and greater visibility in the workplace. Local and national unions, like SAIWA in turn are tied into global networks such as WIEGO, HomeNet, StreetNet and the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) whose research and advocacy for national and international policy change, and empowerment of local member organisations, seek to make such workers more visible in policy and praxis. Their advocacy is a reminder that the solidarity and power of collective action witnessed by the Women’s March remains as relevant and necessary as ever, and that the struggle for gender justice is far from over. A luta continuaDM

Photo: Informal traders with no water or electricity sell food cooked over open fires in a shack at the entrance to the construction site of Soccer City, the venue for the final of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup in Soweto, South Africa, 16 January 2008. Photo: EPA/JON HRUSA

 

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Everything You Need To Know About Etherum

What is Ethereum?

Steven Heap/123RF

By Will Nicol — Posted on July 4, 2017 6:30 am

If you follow tech or financial news, you’ve probably seen the name “Ethereum” popping up over the last couple years, often in connection with bitcoin. Ethereum is a rising star in the world of cryptocurrencies, entirely digital forms of currency that grew in popularity after the creation of bitcoin by a person or group calling themselves Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. Demand for Ethereum is so high that it may even be driving up the price of graphics cards, as miners try to generate as much currency as they can. What is Ethereum exactly, and what does it mean for the future of cryptocurrency (and maybe society)? Here’s the rundown.

To start — what is a cryptocurrency?

People often refer to Ethereum as a cryptocurrency, but that isn’t precisely true. It is a platform that allows individuals to conduct transactions and draw up contracts, using a currency called “ether.” To understand what distinguishes Ethereum from a cryptocurrency like bitcoin, it helps to understand what a cryptocurrency is, as well as the concept of a blockchain.

A cryptocurrency is a form of digital currency created through encryption. A cryptocurrency has no physical form — like a banknote or coin — and it is not issued by a central bank or governmental authority. Units of cryptocurrency exist as data on the internet, and are created and managed through something called a blockchain.

A blockchain is essentially a digital ledger, shared amongst any number of computers. When transactions occur, they are recorded in blocks; in order for these blocks to go into the ledger, they must be validated by a certain number of computers on the blockchain network. Crucially, the ledger exists, in the same form, for everyone on the network. Anyone can can look at to see a complete history of every transaction that has occurred, and any changes would be visible to everyone.

The individuals who validate the transactions — which they do by having their computers solve complex computational problems — are called miners. Mining is a surprisingly intense activity, as our guide explains, that requires powerful hardware and a lot of planning. As a reward for their help in validating blocks, miners are given rewards. This is typically a specific cryptocurrency; Bitcoin miners receive bitcoin, while Ethereum miners receive ether.

When you send someone an amount of cryptocurrency, a digital signature is created to authenticate the transaction. Your public key is essentially your “address.” When someone sends you funds, they send it to your public key. When you send funds, you use your private key, which is essentially the password that grants you access to your funds, and a transaction message to create a digital signature. Miners use this signature to verify the transaction, and a new signature will be generated for every individual transaction, so the transaction can’t be repeated.

Why is this important?

Digital transactions have, historically, required third parties, such as banks, to authorize or validate the transaction. This is because money, when digital, is essentially a file, which could be copied and reused. But these more traditional intermediaries typically don’t work for free. Banks and other authorities require individuals to play in their sandbox, and pay whatever fees they demand.

Cryptocurrencies are all about skirting around financial institutions and authorities, but they still need some way to track when and how currency moves through transactions, so as to avoid problems like double spending. The currency would be useless if anyone could just create copies of their units.

Blockchains allow for peer-to-peer transactions, with no need for a third party to participate. They are inherently secure; if any data in the block were changed, computers on the network would need to revalidate it, discouraging tampering. In theory, cryptocurrencies are safe from seizure by authorities. Because they are stored nowhere in particular, and can only be accessed by a person with the private key, it would be incredibly difficult for even a government to seize them.

The broad strokes of a blockchain apply to Ethereum just as they do to bitcoin, but the two products have different goals. As mentioned, bitcoin is strictly a digital currency, designed to function as a means of payment. Ethereum takes a grander approach; it functions as a platform through which people can use ether tokens to create and run applications and, more importantly, smart contracts.

Ethereum focuses on “smart contracts”

What is a smart contract? It is a contract written in code, which the creator(s) upload to the blockchain. Any time one of these contracts is executed, every node on the network runs it, uploaded to the blockchain; thus, it is stored in the public ledger, theoretically tamper-proof.

Smart contracts are essentially structured as If-then statements; when certain conditions are met, the program carries out the terms of the contract.

As an example, say you want to rent a car from a service that uses Ethereum. A smart contract is generated, stipulating that if you send the required amount of funds, then the service will send you a digital key to unlock the car. The process is is carried out on the blockchain, so when you send the ether tokens, everyone on the network can see that you did so. Likewise, when the rental service sends you the key to unlock the car, everyone will see it. In this scenario, the contract might state that if the service does not send you the key, the tokens are refunded.

Since every computer on the network is keeping track of this transaction through the digital ledger, there is no way to tamper with it; if someone altered the details of the contract, every copy of the digital ledger would note this.

Every program on Ethereum will use a distinct amount of processing power, and since the program must be run by the nodes, it is important to keep superfluous activity to a minimum. This is why every contract and program on Ethereum is given a cost in “gas.” Gas is a measurement of how much processing power the program will require, and the higher the gas requirement, the more ether tokens the user will need to spend.

One of the commonly cited advantages of smart contracts is that there is no need for “middlemen” like lawyers or notaries. In theory, this means that you can carry out transactions without the waiting times inherent to paper filings, and without paying fees to whomever would typically oversee such a transaction. This is particularly important for people living in countries where the legal system is corrupt, or woefully inefficient.

Of course, the automation means that, if something goes wrong — if, for example, there is a bug in the code of the smart contract — the blockchain will still carry out the terms of the contract, which could be problematic.

A scandal involving The DAO — a decentralized autonomous organization — serves as a case study in how smart contracts can go wrong. The DAO was essentially a leaderless investment fund; members invested ether, gaining tokens that allowed them to vote on how to invest the DAO’s funds. As CoinDesk explains, the DAO was built through a series of smart contracts.

However, a vulnerability in the DAO’s code allowed one user to funnel millions of dollars worth of ether into a child DAO. A writer for Forbes compares the process to embezzlement, but notes that, because the DAO’s contract allowed for it to happen, it was not illegal; the user was working within the confines of the code.

What does it mean for the future?

In its short time in the spotlight, Ethereum has cast an enormous shadow. It is trading at around $300 as of June 28, 2017, and has grown by around 3600 percent in 2017, according to Business Insider. The platform has already attracted massive corporations like JP Morgan Chase and Microsoft, who are among the more notable members of the Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, which aims to provide “Resources for businesses to learn about Ethereum and leverage this groundbreaking technology to address specific industry use cases.”

That bodes well for Ethereum’s usage in the business world, but true believers see the platform as something more than a tool for corporation; they see it as a way to decentralize the internet, and make it more democratic.

In an interview with Wired, Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin lays out his view of how Ethereum will disrupt the traditional power structures of the world:

“I think a large part of the consequence is necessarily going to be disempowering some of these centralized players to some extent. Because ultimately power is a zero sum game. And if you talk about empowering the little guy, as much as you want to couch it in flowery terminology that makes it sound fluffy and good, you are necessarily disempowering the big guy. And personally I say screw the big guy. They have enough money already.”

Smart contracts could free individuals from the constraints of the legal system and big business. However, technology enthusiasts often promise such utopian futures; in reality, just as social media has helped the spread of fake news, Ethereum and the automated, decentralized internet it seeks may have unintended consequences, as the DAO hacking indicates. Like other cryptocurrencies, ether is prone to wild fluctuations. While Ethereum has been riding high in 2017 for the most part, it suffered a flash crash in June, a drop which some think may have been exacerbated by false rumors of Buterin’s death. Whether Ethereum is sturdy enough to survive long term, or an ephemeral trend, remains up in the air.

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies

Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies

By

Alexandria Arnold June 28, 2017, 11:18 AM CST

In a world were financial transactions are largely electronic, central banks are exploring the idea of using virtual currencies, even as cyberattacks and price swings dominate the headlines.

"The central bank digital currency would be like a paper bill except digital," Dartmouth College economics professor Andrew Levin said in an interview on Bloomberg Television. For example, "it would be representing a U.S. dollar, but it would be basically free to use."

 

 
Dartmouth’s Levin tells Bloomberg TV why central banks are exploring the move to digital currencies.
Source: Bloomberg

Whereas credit cards charge transaction fees and interest, and paper currencies can be costly to process, digital currencies could be a "real benefit" to small businesses and consumers, Levin said.

Central banks from across Europe and Asia are looking into virtual currencies. In March, Vietnam’s central bank said it was "seriously" studying the possibility of using bitcoin. The People’s Bank of China has run trials of its prototype cryptocurrency, and the Danish central bank is considering minting e-krone. But Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell said in March the U.S. central bank is not considering a digital currency.

For a replay of the inaugural Bitcoin Facebook Live show launched yesterday.

Skeptics have questioned whether one of the key features of cryptocurrencies — their decentralized nature — makes them a good fit for central banks. But in a recent proposal published by Levin and Rutgers University economics professor Michael Bordo, the pair said central banks could provide a secure store of value in their own digital currency.

"In contrast to bitcoin, the value of the central bank’s digital currency would be fixed in nominal terms," Levin and Bordo wrote. "Moreover, the central bank’s digital currency could be implemented using an account-based system, thereby avoiding the resource-consuming ‘mining’ operations involved in generating virtual currencies like bitcoin."

Source: Some Central Banks Are Exploring the Use of Cryptocurrencies – Bloomberg

Mike Prettyman Chief Information Officer Green Fire Engineered Reclamation Member GreenFire DAO Whatsapp only Phone: 1-602-315-1571 Skype: mike.prettyman Website: http://greenfirefunding.com email: greenfirereclamation@gmail.com

Life on the rubbish dumps of Paranaque: A photo Essay

How Filipino children and adults risk their lives to eke out a pathetic living recycling waste

Living among rotting rubbish, smoke-filled air and polluted water, these are the men, women and children who spend their lives scouring for recyclable treasures in a garbage-filled abyss – just so they can survive.

Each day, as hundreds of truckloads of bags of waste are chucked onto the rubbish site in Paranaque, south of Manilia, the Philippines, gangs of so-called 'scavengers' rummage frantically to try and retrieve items they can sell for cash.

Living in utter poverty, and employed for around $4 a day, these rubbish pickers are exposed every day to hazardous waste, such as used needles, as well as infectious diseases, including E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus.

And this is a scene which is played out on dozens of landfill sites across the world, as those living in extreme poverty try and make ends meet. 

Now a set of eye-opening photos which convey the heat, stench and noise in which these pickers are forced to work have been released, to coincide with UN World Environment Day. 

Celebrated every year on 5 June, and run by the United National Environment Programme, the day is a call for global awareness on protecting the environment. This year's theme – Small Islands and Climate Change – is marked by the slogan: 'Raise Your Voice Not The Sea Level'.

According to the UN, people living in urban areas around the world generate 1.3 billion tonnes of waste per year and this will increase to 2.2 billion tonnes by 2025 – unless something is done to change it. 

 
An elderly woman looks for recyclables at a garbage dump during UN World Environment Day in, Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines

An elderly woman looks for recyclable items at a garbage dump in Paranaque, south of Manila, Philippines – but this is a sight witness in landfills and rubbish tips across the world, as those living in poverty try desperately to earn a living

 
 
Two boys sit on top of a slope at a garbage dump

So-called trash pickers and their families live amid rotting garbage so they can spend their days fishing valuable pieces items from a vast garbage tip, to sell on the streets themselves, or to hand over to those who employ them – in return for a meagre salary

 
 
The photos have been released to mark UN World Environment Day

The eye-opening photos, which show the conditions in which these people work, have been released to mark UN World Environment Day, which takes place on June 5

 
 
 
The recycling pickers cover their mouths as dust from the truck spreads across the site

The recycling pickers breathe smoke-filled air, wash and cook in polluted water and constantly have to fight off the dust and pollution which is created when lorries dump the precious rubbish onto the site

 
 
A plane flies overhead as Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump - a sight seen in many countries across the world

What is deemed as rubbish to most is seen a treasure to these Filipinos, who work to look through the items for as little as $4 a day

 
 
With thin gloves for protection, the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish to try and retrieve something for their day's work

With just thin gloves for protection the so-called scavengers scrabble among the piles of rubbish – which include used syringes – to try and retrieve something for their day's work

 
 
A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump

A young girl carries two bags as she looks through the rubbish dump. With many having no access to a school, there seems to be no limit as to when these children start work on the rubbish sites

 
 
The young girl clambers bare-footed over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects

A young girl is seen walking with bare feet over the piles of rubbish, which are rife with needles, shards of glass and other sharp objects – which frequently cause the workers injury or disease

 
 
The man searches through a mountain of rubbish to find anything which might make him a buck

The workers might have to search through mountains of rubbish before they strike lucky to find one piece of recyclable 'gold'. The UN says the contribution of the world's small island nations, such as the Philippines, towards global emission of greenhouse gases is less than 1 per cent

 
 
Young children are brought up living in this environment

Young children are brought up living in this environment and are exposed daily to infectious diseases and hazardous waste

 
 
Children look for recyclables at a garbage dump

E coli, salmonella and pathogens that cause hepatitis and tetanus are common ailments in these communities. These are not places where rubbish is left to rot, but are instead a source of potential fortune

 
 
It might be hard work - but they can still find something to smile about. Children play along a slope at the garbage dump

But the children can still find something to smile about, as they push each other down the rubbish slopes as a break from their hard work

 
 
Children play along a slope at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

These families are among the poorest in their country and have limited education. It means they will have no skills to make a better life for themselves or their families

 
 
Filipinos look for recyclables at a garbage dump during World Environment Day

There is also the danger of unstable piles of rubbish collapsing on the workers as they scurry among the garbage, which has led to fatalities in other landfill sites

 
 
These workers live amid rotting garbage, breathe smoke filled air, wash and cook in polluted water

The waste can be agricultural, industrial, medical or domestic, bringing with it a huge range of dangers for the rubbish pickers

 
 
A plane

These piles of rubbish, which arrive among a torrent of grey, smoke and dirt, are one person's rubbish and another person's treasure

Presented by: Mike Prettyman
CIO GreenFire Engineered Reclamtion
Member: GreenFire DAO

Join with me to save these "Children of the Landfill" http://markethive.com/mikeprettyman 

 

There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here’s Why

By Joshua Althauser
https://cointelegraph.com/news/there-will-be-no-bubble-for-bitcoin-and-ethereum-heres-why

There Will Be No Bubble for Bitcoin and Ethereum, Here's Why

Tech entrepreneur Mark Cuban has recently stated that Bitcoin is facing a bubble. However, Daniel M. Harrison, the CEO of DMH&CO and managing partner of Monkey Capital, reveals that such a thing is impossible due to the market-influencing capabilities of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Market bipolarity

The main factor that makes a digital bubble impossible is market bipolarity. For many people, market bipolarity is confusing but it can be distilled in a few important and understandable viewpoints. Apparently, market bipolarity is directly affected by George Soros’ “theory of reflexivity.”

According to George Soros, market conditions are not influenced by equilibrium. Rather, they are “reflexive” due to the synchronization of two functions: cognitive and manipulative function. The cognitive function is a neutral thinking base – this is where economic participants assess facts for what they are.

The manipulative function, on the other hand, turns one fact (or a couple of facts) in order to gain an advantage. Once the cognitive mind is affected by the manipulative mind, the neutrality will be “painted” in a different light it becomes a manipulated fact.

Therefore, markets reflect the view and perspective of participants, not the full scope of economics.

The situation can be represented in two ways:

  • Manipulative Cognitive = Reflexive
  • Manipulative + Cognitive = Equilibrium

The aforementioned equations show that a manipulative thinking pattern is the usual baseline and not a cognitive function. This shows the reflexive nature of all markets one of the clear indicators that Bitcoin and Ethereum are far from experiencing a digital bubble.

Artificial vs. Natural

More importantly, Ethereum and Bitcoin markets are influenced by two thinkers: artificial and natural. Artificial pertains to the Blockchain AI and natural is all about human intervention. Many experts think that Blockchain is adopting an "economic mindset."

If markets with manipulative and cognitive participants are suddenly annexed, it will always result in reflexivity or positive feedback loops. In this case, digital markets are bound by reflexivity or states of reflexivity. This is a self-perpetuating situation that can go on for many years.

It’s also important to know that artificial thinkers are the “igniters” of self-perpetuating reflexivity. With AI (Blockchain), digital markets will continue to thrive, leading to fluctuating values of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Market bipolarity will always be constant.

Through market bipolarity, any episode of a digital bubble is canceled out. The whole Blockchain system will never return to its “roots” but it will continue evolving. Price valuations, on the other hand, may remain grounded and directed by economic factors.

Innovation or its application in various sectors is also another important factor that shapes Blockchain technology’s tenacity and ability to survive a “bubble.”

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

Bancor initial coin offering raises over $200 million in three hours to become the largest crowdfunded project ever

DOMINIC POWELL / Friday, June 16, 2017

A demo of the Bancor protocol. Source: Bancor.network

A new blockchain startup built on the Ethereum platform has become one of the highest funded crowdfunding projects ever, raising approximately $US153 million ($201 million) through an initial coin offering (ICO) in just three hours earlier this week.

The startup is called Bancor, and it offers a platform aimed at making it easier for other startups and users to launch, manage, and trade their own forms of blockchain currency, known as “tokens”. These tokens are managed through the Ethereum network’s “smart contracts”, which enable self-executing contracts enforced and recorded on the blockchain.

Combining these two features, the Bancor protocol offers “smart tokens”, which enable “any party to instantly purchase or liquidate the smart token in exchange for any of its reserve tokens, directly through the smart token’s contract, at a continuously calculated price, according to a formula which balances buy and sell volumes”.

The ICO was intended to run for an hour, reports Coindesk, with a funding target of 250,000 ether (the main currency of the Ethereum blockchain), or around $US95 million. Due to alleged difficulties with the network, including supposed delayed transactions, the campaign was extended an additional two hours, resulting in a total of 396,720 ether or approximately $US153 million being raised.

Over 10,000 investors got on board with the ICO, with Coindesk reporting the largest single purchase was $US27 million, equalling 6.9 million BNT, the token used by the Bancor protocol to fuel its new platform.

This was enough to shoot Bancor into the number one spot of highest funded crowdfunds, and continues the recent initial coin offering craze, with blockchain startup Brave raising $US35 million in 30 seconds via a recent ICO.

However, due to the transitory value of cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum, the true amount raised by these startups is ever-changing. With the value of ether increasing over 2800% this year alone, a $US153 million raise could be $50 million more, or less, in a matter of days.

The Ethereum protocol is proving to be a popular platform for successful crowdfunds, with seven of the top 10 crowdfunding projects having been based on the platform, including the crowdfund for the platform itself.

Money in itself is not evil

This is from friend, a most dedicated man, the Director of Kigezi Orphans Project, Serving Children the lord! through this orphange.

*In 1923, nine of the wealthiest people in the world met at Chicago's Edge Water Beach Hotel*.

*Their combined wealth, it is estimated, exceeded the wealth of the Government of the United States at that time*. These men certainly knew how to make a living and accumulate wealth. *Attending the meeting were the following men*:
1. The president of the *largest steel company,*
2. The president of the *largest utility company,*
3. The president of the *largest gas company,*
4. The president of the *New York Stock Exchange,*
5. The president of the *Bank of International Settlements,*
6. The *greatest wheat speculator*,
7. The greatest *bear on Wall Street,*
8. The head of the *World's greatest Economy*
&
9. A member of *President Harding's cabinet*.

*That's a pretty impressive line-up of people by anyone's yardstick.*
Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants?

*Let’s examine what happened to them 25 years later*.
1. The President of the then largest steel company (Bethlehem Steel Corp), *Charles M Schwab, lived on borrowed capital for five years before he died bankrupt.*
2. The President of the then largest gas company, *Howard Hubson, went insane*.
3. One of the greatest commodity traders (Wheat Speculator), *Arthur Cutten, died insolvent.*
4. The then President of the New York Stock Exchange, *Richard Whitney, was sent to jail.*
5. The member of the US President’s Cabinet (the member of President Harding's cabinet), *Albert Fall, was pardoned from jail just to be able to go home and die in peace.*
6. The greatest “bear” on Wall Street, *Jesse Livermore committed suicide*.
7. The President of the then world’s greatest monopoly, *Ivar Krueger, committed suicide*.
8. The President of the Bank of International Settlement, *Leon Fraser, committed Suicide.*
9. The president of the largest utility company, *Samuel Insull, died penniless.*

*What they forgot was how to "make" life while they got busy making money!*

*Money in itself is not evil;* it provides food for the hungry, medicine for the sick, clothes for the needy. *Money is only a medium of exchange.*

*We need two kinds of education*:
a) One that teaches us *how to make a living,*
and
b) One that teaches us *how to live*.

*There are many of us who are so engrossed in our professional life that we neglect our family, health and social responsibilities. If asked why we do this, we would reply that *"We are doing it for our family"*.
Yet, *our kids are sleeping when we leave home*. They are sleeping *when we come back home*!! *Twenty years later, we’ll turn back, and they’ll all be gone, to pursue their own dreams and their own lives*.

*Without water, a ship cannot move*. *The ship needs water, but if the water gets into the ship, the ship will face existential problems*. What was once a means of living for the ship will now become a means of destruction.

Similarly we live in a time where earning is a necessity but *let not the earning enter our hearts, for what was once a means of living will surely become a means of destruction for us as well.*
*So take a moment and ask yourself, "Has the water entered my ship?"*
I hope not!

Hope the above story will drive all of us in a better direction in life.
''Alone I can 'Say' *but*
together we can 'talk'.

'Alone I can 'Enjoy' *but*
together we can
'Celebrate'.

'Alone I can 'Smile' *but*
together we can 'Laugh'.

That's the BEAUTY of
Human Relations.

We are nothing *without*
each other
Together we can bless the children at Kigezi Orphans Home Cbo with whatever little we have!!!! Kigezi is in food crisis but we have hope and faith that your loving and caring heart will rescue these helpless poor little souls at kigezi orphans project!

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Brought to you as part of the GreenFire "Children of the Landfill" project.
Please follow and share this man's message on Facebook

Mike Prettyman
CIO GreenFire Engineered Reclamation
Member GreenFire DAO
Join my friend group on Markethive; http://markethive.com/mikeprettyman
Find more infomation at: http://greenfirefundng.com 
And
http://Childrenofthelandfill.earth
 

 

Sri Lanka: Waste management needs holistic social intervention

 It is said that in countries such as Sri Lanka, one percent of the urban population, that is at least about 15 million people survive by separating what can be reused from the waste that others dispose of.

 Jun 10, 2017Jun 10, 2017 Sri Lanka Guardian ColumnistsFeatureLionel BopageSri LankaNo comments

When a country lacks genuine good governance; government administration becomes weak. Politicians become misled as they do not receive from a passive, poorly disciplined and unprincipled bureaucracy appropriate advice for social development. Political commitment to implement the pledges they made to the people when they came to power, has vanished.


by Lionel Bopage

( June 10, 2017, Melbourne, Sri Lanka Guardian) In an environment where affluent families are dominant, garbage becomes waste though it may then become an important source of income for some of the poor people living in urban areas. It is said that in countries such as Sri Lanka, one percent of the urban population, that is at least about 15 million people survive by separating what can be reused from the waste that others dispose of.

In areas like Blumenthal and Meethotamulla where garbage has been piled up into mountains, and in areas proposed such as Ekala where garbage is to be re-piled, some people survive by finding something beneath these mountains of garbage to sell or eat. The people, who go through these garbage mountains are subject to poisoning and toxic smoke and face various kinds of diseases. When managing waste in a country, betterment of the lives of such people needs to become part of that management process.

In the subject curriculum of environment used in many schools, waste management can also be included. Creating awareness of students from kindergarten upwards and their parents and neighbours through educational activities conducted at their homes and providing them with the necessary facilities is an important part of a waste management programme. A national program of waste management can be launched using such school-based activities on waste management as well as the activities that can be practised in day to day life as a model.

Contribution to the tragedy

Meethotamulla is not the first garbage mountain that has collapsed. Unless conscious measures are taken to prevent such situations from occurring in the future, it will not be the last. One cannot talk about this garbage mountain without mentioning the fact like everywhere else in the world, Lankans also live in a consumer society, in which investors act to maximise their profits at the cost of human life, regardless of the moral or legal consequences. Bribery, corruption, bloodshed and murder are recurring motifs of such an inequitable society, as evidenced by the repressive measures the Lankan state used against protest campaigns the communities living near this garbage mountain carried out for the last several years.

All successive governments, politicians and the bureaucracy who have not considered or disregarded these issues and all those people who have not paid attention about this issue have directly or indirectly contributed to this tragedy. Until the end of the nineties, many in Lanka used ceramic ware, banana or lotus leaves to consume food and drinks. Local authorities at the time arranged waste collection and disposal operations successfully, though such operations became defunct at a later stage.

The situation changed in this century with plastic being used in day to day life as a very common and inexpensive raw material. Due to the short life span of plastic products, an enormous amount of garbage started piling up in our environment. Lankans began using disposable plastic ware and bags, as well as polythene wraps to pack and consume their food and drinks and then dumping that plastic rubbish everywhere. This waste started being piled up plenteously, not only in the surrounds of Colombo, but also in faraway villages.

Global waste generation

This garbage crisis is not a problem confined only to Sri Lanka. Many countries that celebrated the World Earth Day on the last 22nd April find waste management turning into an escalating dangerous issue. When the amount of garbage thrown out around the world is taken into consideration, only less than half of the world’s population enjoy the privilege of systematic and regular waste collection.


According to the estimates the World Bank had made in 2011, cities around the world generate about 1.3 billion tons of waste every year[1]. The amount of waste is expected to increase to 2.2 billion tons in the year 2025 and to 4 billion tons in 2100. As shown in the diagram below, the highest waste generating countries of the world are the United States of America, China, Brazil, Japan and Germany. During the past decade, Australia’s waste generation has increased by 170 percent[2].

Mega cities in Asia are facing a serious challenge of disposing waste. Smokey Mountain with a population of about 13 million in the city of Manila in the Philippines is one of the largest lands refilled with waste. Thousands of people who live here and use the waste become victims of toxic smoke every day. Mumbai in India with a population of about 12 million find it difficult to locate land to refill with waste. The city of Jakarta in Indonesia with a population of around 11 million is overflowing with waste. The city of Bangkok in Thailand with a population of around 10 million was covered with smoke for weeks due to waste mountains catching fire recently. These situations leading to environmental pollution are not only harmful to the health of the general public, but may also lead some developing countries to a state of desolation covered almost entirely with toxic poisonous gases.

“WasteZero”

The chairperson of the “WasteZero” initiative in the USA states that we do not consider waste management as an issue so long as we cannot see that waste. It cannot be so in Sri Lanka as waste has been piled up everywhere for everyone to see. Compared to electricity, water and gas, there is no price to be paid for waste disposed of, and this is said to be one of the factors influencing less emphasis on waste. It is also said that when arrangements are made to efficiently dispose of waste, we are influenced to put away garbage even more.

Accordingly some experts say that measures are to be taken for each household to pay a fee according to the weight or the size of waste that household puts away[3]. It is said that due to the “WasteZero”’s support for charging a fee for every bag of waste disposed at a waste collection centre, waste recycling has increased two-fold and waste disposal has reduced by 44 percent. However, for many Lankans, who are already paying a heavy tax out of their small income, this will become another burden on them. Obviously, it can become a burden that they could not bear.

Waste generation and management in Sri Lanka

Lanka generates less than 15 million tons of waste annually. Nevertheless, many local authorities find managing even this amount of waste a huge burden. A substantial part of revenue of these authorities is spent on disposing rubbish. Due to increasing urbanization, industrialization and consumerism with population growth, not only the amount of waste generated is rising, but also the constitution of waste (for example, electronic waste: e-waste) is also changing. When compared with the land size and the population density of the country, this is a worrying development. For managing the existing and the future exponential increase in waste , there are no signs of a timely policy platform or a clear programme, except for the great vocabulary of politicians.For such a plan, some key elements for consideration would be the facts that the composition of waste is changing; the amount of waste is accelerating, the collection of waste is more expensive than waste disposal, and in particular, the collection of waste remains mostly inefficient. Despite many people thinking that this issue could be avoided by taking the waste mountains in their surrounds elsewhere, the outcome of such a step would be to impose this issue on people living in another area. Some others think that by burning garbage in the open or using incinerators, this issue could be solved. Even though such measures can be used as part of the solution, one step for a real solution to the problem is to make arrangements to collect waste efficiently. However, a holistic solution for waste management cannot be achieved without social participation, working to change the cultural attitudes and behavioral patterns of people,.Around the year 1970, I have seen some households in Nuwaraeliya using human excreta during their agricultural work. Being harmful to public health and putrid gases released, this process would have come to a standstill. In the villages and surrounds of the cities, some of those engaged in agricultural work make mixed fertilizer from waste, and even using vermin. Rural people in India and Nepal very cleverly engage in this type of activities. Without dumping decaying garbage on street corners, they use barns, boxes and concrete pits for this purpose. They sell mixed fertilizer to nurseries and farmers. They separate plastic parts from garbage and sell them. Remaining garbage is buried, or burned.Yet, in locations where population density is high, it is difficult to carry out such activities. Government intervention is necessary to develop technological facilities needed for the management of waste being collected in cities. If this cannot be done, then such waste needs to be moved to appropriate, less populated areas. For this, after negotiating with local authorities, arrangements could be made to launch on a national scale a programme that is based on a scientific analysis.

Importance of Genuine Good Governance

When a country lacks genuine good governance; government administration becomes weak. Politicians become misled as they do not receive from a passive, poorly disciplined and unprincipled bureaucracy appropriate advice for social development. Political commitment to implement the pledges they made to the people when they came to power, has vanished. Policy platforms, mechanisms and programmes needed for good governance are nowhere to be seen. When such a situation prevails, it is not surprising that the outcome is that the public service becomes inefficient and local authorities are unable to maintain essential services.In such circumstances, those who wield power and those who are close to them come forward, as they choose, to achieve their personal objectives. The result of this inefficiency will be soaring ‘peoples’ protests. Through such protests people themselves come forward to take initiatives to address such social issues. Making communities aware of and training them in waste management cannot be an arduous task. What is needed is to make a positive change in people’s attitudes relating to putting away waste and generate the attitude among them that waste is something that can be used as a resource.

Society towards waste management

The recycling behavioural patterns that can be employed at households can be positively influenced by means of a school based practical waste management education model utilising the experiences and inspirations found among the generations. By this, knowledge and understanding of primary school students can be developed significantly; thus, the message of “reducing, re-using and recycling” of waste can also be carried over to their families and friends. When good actions are observed, they can be motivated to use such actions again and again. By doing so, it will be possible to link them to a sustainable waste management process.Urban waste management is a crucial factor in maintaining our ongoing relationship with the environment around cities. Efficient and sustainable waste management depend on several factors, including the existing development trends, the socio-economic composition and the commitment of the government and society. Therefore, it is a unique challenge that we are faced with in this epoch.It was reported recently that because waste found in Sri Lanka is highly moist, such waste cannot be used for recycling and power generation, sanitary land filling methods should be used for wet waste management, an area in the Puttalam district had been selected for this purpose, and China was willing to assist with this project. In some countries of the world, for example, in China and Singapore, management of such wet waste is carried out.

Experience of China

In the past few decades, Chinese people have moved in vast numbers from rural areas  to urban areas. Because of this, there had been a rapid increase of population in the cities and a huge change in lifestyles. Enormous changes in the consumerist lifestyle of nearly 1.4 billion people generated a massive flood of waste. As such, the not so developed general waste management services have been severely affected. In urban waste management, China appears to be relying on a formal government administered system and an informal system that is not under the control of the government.About 300 million tons of garbage generated annually; a huge amount of this waste is generated in the cities. The common waste management service that exists is to collect unsorted urban solid waste for land filling in suburban areas or their surrounds, or as close as possible to the countryside, or for burning using incinerators. Despite the allocation of containers for separating recyclable waste, the government’s waste management service does not have the capacity to implement such a recycling methodology. It is also said that a large amount of electronic waste passes through a shadow market.[4]

We know that the waste management in the cities of China has adversely affected the lives of people living there. It is said that the weak infrastructure used in the collection of garbage and the lack of investment and enforcement in waste management are consolidating the social inequalities of the people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, who migrate to the city from the village. Reclamation of land for refilling with waste and installation of incinerators for burning waste close to the suburbs where poor immigrants are inhabiting not only bring in toxic gases, but among some of the disturbances include pollution of sound, soil, water and air caused by trucks transporting that waste. Thus, the interior of prosperous cities remains relatively clean, while the environmental pollution the garbage of the residents in those cities is exported to small towns and poor communities, who have been politically and economically marginalized from the city.[5]China has tried various methodologies to overcome the challenges urban waste has caused. A few years ago, China tested certain advanced theoretical technologies capable of mechanically separating urban waste material, and convert bio-degradable components into compost material, for making mixed fertiliser. However, the toxic sediments produced were not only unusable; those sediments also became a health hazard. The unsorted waste containing organic matter is not an efficient burning fuel. Due to the large amounts of additional fuel that were needed, it became a loss-making exercise.Regulation of waste incineration in China is also unsatisfactory. The environmental pollution the toxic gases emitted from burning waste has become one of the most pressing environmental and health issue for the needy communities living around the edges of cities. The interest the Chinese central government has shown in recent years about the use of anaerobic digesters to decompose organic waste can be viewed as a positive step. It is reported that now China has launched several large scale pilot projects that use anaerobic digestive agents.

Experience of Singapore

In the year 2000, Singapore generated around 7600 tons of waste per day. There was no further land available in the mainland to dispose of waste by landfill. Singapore could take rapid effective measures to overcome the growing waste management crisis because of the political commitment of its government and leaders, it being a small country, and its economy being a strong one. In 2001, Singapore launched a program to raise the waste recycling ratio. A landfill was built on the island of Semakau on land reclaimed from the sea.Singapore introduced waste sorting and recycling process for its residents and a system of waste collection. Schools, offices, shopping malls and factories were brought under the recycling program. By the end of 2005, 56 percent of the Singaporean households had been contributing to the recycling process. Thus, Singapore could reduce the volume of waste going into landfills and produce power. By employing modern innovative waste disposal methodologies, about 38 percent of Singapore’s solid waste materials is used for power generation, about 60 percent is recycled and about 2 percent is used for landfilling. Its four plants generating electricity from waste, which is tantamount to about three percent of the country’s electricity needs.According to the Executive Director Eugene Tay of Singapore’s WasteZero-SG agency, megacities of Asia can learn many lessons from Singapore. He thinks that these cities need to take a step backward, and after emphasising on the aspects of “reducing” and “reusing” of the waste management cycle, need to look at waste disposal as the last resort.[6] 

Initial steps of waste management

The initial step of a programme of waste management in Sri Lanka needs to make arrangements to change the habits and behaviour of people towards waste. Key aspects that need to be in such a plan include minimising the use of material that leads to the generation of waste, motivating them to separate waste and reuse whatever items that can be reused, recycling and encouraging them to regularly dispose of waste.Funds or loans received from the government or international bodies can be used for implementing a waste management process. Nevertheless, if a local body cannot cover the costs needed for the daily activities required for this, it will not be able to maintain waste management on a regular basis. It is possible to reduce the per capita ecological footprint in Colombo and other cities by introducing a socially more reasonable approach in the use of resources towards urban waste management. This is crucial in reducing the ecological impact due to urbanisation. Using the resources in a fairer manner, our cities can be maintained in a more sustainable manner. Addressing the ecological injustices of the currently existing waste management system will also be a step towards alleviating the social inequalities that exist among all those who live in and use our cities.For effective implementation of the methodology that will be used for waste management as designed, the following need to be satisfied:·         local authorities need to have the knowledge and ability required to monitor and assess the work that is expected from a private service provider engaged in waste management;·         the methodology used to collect waste needs to match with the needs and intentions of the residents in the local authority;·         taking steps necessary for waste management only after consultations with those who manage and handle waste; and·         not to impose those measures on them;Otherwise, the waste management system will neither be embedded in society nor be regularly maintained.Experiences of other countries have shown that the use of some very sophisticated technologies for power generation from waste does not go together with certain facts. Therefore, in determining an appropriate technology for waste management in Sri Lanka, it will be important to consider the following:1.      Is the proposed technology compatible with the composition of the waste generated in the country?2.      Is that technology compatible with the existing or futuristic recycling needs?3.      Is it possible for the people resident in the local authority to sustainably maintain that technology?4.      Is the methodology the local authority use advanced enough to properly utilise that technology?For every unit of waste reduced, reused, or recycled, it is not necessary to spend on collecting or safely disposing that unit of waste. What is important for cities that do not currently engage in waste management, would be to identify simple, appropriate and affordable solutions that can be gradually implemented. Doing so can provide the best affordable solution to the people. As the first step, collection of waste can be expanded to include the whole city; and locations where garbage is openly piled can be taken under the control of the local authority and make those locations into waste disposal centers. Creating an environment for the public sector including local authorities, citizens, private sector including businesses to work together, the cycle of reducing, reusing and recycling waste can be taken forward while safeguarding public health, and the environment.


[1] Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez, Senior Director, Social, Urban, Rural and Resilience Global Practice, World Bank.

[2] MRA Consulting 2016, State of Waste 2016 – current and future Australian trends, at https://blog.mraconsulting.com.au/2016/04/20/state-of-waste-2016-current-and-future-australian-trends

[3] For example, see Waste & Recycling at the town of Turtleford, UK, at http://townofturtleford.com/town_office/waste_management.html

[4] Baldé, C.P., Wang, F., Kuehr, R., Huisman, J. (2015), The global e-waste monitor – 2014, United Nations University, IAS – SCYCLE, Bonn, Germany.

[5]  See Beijing Besieged by Waste, a documentary directed by Wang Jiuliang

[6] Yep, E. 13 September 2015, Singapore’s Innovative Waste-Disposal System, Wall Street Journal, at https://www.wsj.com/articles/singapores-innovative-waste-disposal-system-1442197715

Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts Approved

Greenfire supports blockchain business and technology. It is a belief held by Greenfire that business is growing into a blockchain technology based accountability system that will provide the move into a more sound money system.

Aaryn Prettyman

 

Maybe you’ve heard the term “blockchain” but aren’t quite sure what it is. You’d be in good company. However you may want to start learning, as it just may be a technology platform that changes the ARM industry someday.

In super-simple terms, blockchain is a decentralized way of keeping track of what is “true” (i.e. who owns what, who has signed what, who has paid what, etc.). This decentralized mechanism is called a “distributed ledger” – imagine a town checkbook, but instead of living in city hall, everyone in the town has a copy of it. Each time an entry is made it must be validated by everyone with a copy, and then everyone’s copy is updated. Each update is a new “block” in the “chain,” and each block needs all the other blocks to form the whole picture. The result is said to be a highly secure, transparent, interdependent chain. 

Today, most information is tracked in major centralized databases owned by one company (or government) or another. As we know, these databases are often vulnerable to hackers, they are not at all transparent, and they can be difficult to get corrected when they are wrong. This has created a lack of trust in our systems, and makes it frustrating to do business.

Blockchain was first used to manage bitcoin, the new kind of electronic currency that pretty much operates on the fringe. But many are now experimenting with a wide range of other, more mainstream uses. One example is that the State of Arizona has just passed a bill giving legal status to smart contracts and blockchain based signatures. Here’s what the bill says,

"A signature that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic signature.

A record or contract that is secured through blockchain technology is considered to be in an electronic form and to be an electronic record.

Smart contracts may exist in commerce. A contract relating to a transaction may not be denied legal effect, validity or enforceability solely because that contract contains a smart contract term.

For the purposes of this section:

  1. “Blockchain technology” means distributed ledger technology that uses a distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger, which may be public or private, permissioned or permissionless, or driven by tokenized crypto economics or tokenless. The data on the ledger is protected with cryptography, is immutable and auditable and provides an uncensored truth.
  2. “Smart contract” means an event-driven program, with state, that runs on a distributed, decentralized, shared and replicated ledger and that can take custody over and instruct transfer of assets on that ledger."

insideARM Perspective

The debt collection community – including creditors, collection agencies and consumers – could benefit greatly from innovation that provides transparency and trust. Unfortunately there are many hurdles, including regulatory limitations and perceived risk by financial institutions. Blockchain may or may not prove to be the solution, but many industries and organizations – including major banks — are in active exploration of how it might be used in their domain. In my opinion, the conditions and requirements of the debt collection ecosystem make it a perfect candidate for this type of innovation.

The iA Institute (parent of insideARM) is devoting considerable effort to the concept of innovation for the industry. In conjunction with the Consumer Relations Consortium, this week we are kicking off the first meeting of our Innovation Council – a thought leadership group of creditor, agency, and service provider executives who will gather to contemplate the future of debt collection technology.

Source: Blockchain-Based Smart Contracts Approved