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Environment

Brazilian 200 Years-Old National Museum Burns To Ashes

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The National Museum of Rio has been gutted by a massive fire, setting ablaze over 20 million historical items.

Reports say most of the items, including the oldest human remains ever found in the Americas, are believed to have been destroyed.

The cause of the blaze is not known. No injuries have been reported too, the BBC said.

The museum, located in a building that once served as the residence for the Portuguese royal family, celebrated its 200th anniversary this year.

“I am particularly sad about Luzia, the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. She lived in south-central Brazil some 12,000 years ago and was such an important historical artifact. I can’t stand the fact that we lost her,” said Marina Amaral, a Brazilian historian.

She tweeted earlier that, “The worst part is that none of this can ever be replaced. Even the building where the museum was located was an important piece of Brazilian history. Really unbelievable.”

Media reports say the fire began on Sunday afternoon.

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the Rio fire department, told the Associated Press news agency that the hydrants closest to the museum were not working and that firefighters had to get water from a nearby lake.

By Monday morning the fire was under control and some of the museum’s pieces had been rescued, he added.

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East-Africa

Uganda Forests Risk Depletion Due To Rapid Population Growth

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Ugandan experts have revealed that the country’s population is expected to rise to 75million in the next decade warning this could directly and negatively impact on forests.

The revelations come at a time the world is celebrating World Wildlife Day observed on 3 March in order to celebrate the flora and fauna of the world and also raise awareness about them.

The theme for World Wildlife Day 2021 is ‘Forests and Livelihoods: Sustaining People and Planet’. The United Nations aims to highlight the significance of how forests give a livelihood to many communities, especially indigenous and local communities.

Robert Bitariho, Director of Uganda’s Institute of Tropical Forest Conservation said on Wednesday that use of forests is by large unsustainable in Uganda because of high population density. If in 2031 the Ugandan population is at 75 million how much forests are we going to lose?

“On average 75% of forest produce is consumed at the household level with only 25% being traded. This indicates how much forests mean to the survival of the local community,” he said.

Tom Obong Okello, Executive Director National Forestry Authority submitted that “whatever effort we are doing to address sustainable forest management we must manage forests outside gazetted forest protection areas.”

According to Obong, Forestry in Uganda is being recognized as a primary growth sector and a contributor to the goal of sustainable industrialization for growth, employment and wealth creation.

Meanwhile, Sam Mwandah, Executive Director of Uganda Wildlife Authority says “Forest loss greatly derails Uganda’s efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change and without forests, our survival is in jeopardy.”

David Duli, Country Director WWF said that the population is overwhelming as we have seen in Bwindi natural forest area. There is the demarcation of boundaries but the gardens are going up to the edge of the forest.

Uganda’s forest cover includes tropical forests, woodlands and plantation forests.

According to Matthias Schauer the EU representative in Uganda,”The damage done to forests and woodlands in Uganda in the past 25 years has been dramatic. We destroy unique biodiversity and intruding natural habitats hence fueling future wildlife conflicts.”

The UN plans to introduce forest wildlife management models and practices on World Wildlife Day 2021. Celebrating the livelihoods that are based in forest, the UN aims to promote practices that can help in sustainable development, including traditional practices and knowledge.

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Business

French Firm Acquires 100 MW Solar Power Plant In South Africa

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 A South African-French multinational electric utility company, ENGIE, has signed a deal to acquire from a Spanish counterpart, Abengoa, a 40% equity stake in Xina Solar One, a 100 MW Concentrated Solar plant, as well as 46% of the Operations & Maintenance Company.

The plant is equipped with parabolic trough technology and a molten salt storage system that allows for 5.5 hours of energy storage to provide reliable electricity during peak demand.

Power is contracted through a 20 years Power Purchase Agreement with Eskom (South African Electricity Public Utility). 

Xina Solar One is supplying clean energy to more than 95,000 South African households and prevents the emission into the atmosphere of approximately 348,000 tons of CO2 each year.

The plant is located in the Northern Cape of South Africa, which is also the location of ENGIE’s 100 MW Kathu CSP plant.

Xina Solar One increases ENGIE’s renewable footprint and is a further step to cementing its position as the leading Independent Power Producer in the country.

Synergies between Xina and Kathu will be developed to further enhance the operational efficiency of both plants.

“With the acquisition of this project, ENGIE is pursuing its low carbon strategy. Xina augments the country’s installed peaking power and reduces its dependence on coal-fired electricity. The 100 MW CSP plant also contributes to ENGIE’s geographic rationalization by expanding its footprint in South Africa, where it is the leading Independent Power Producer with 1,320 MW of installed capacity.”  says Sébastien Arbola, CEO of ENGIE MESCATA.

Mohamed Hoosen, CEO of ENGIE Southern Africa said: “ENGIE is valued as a highly-skilled IPP and a long-term player in the South African power industry. We are adding an innovative high-performing plant and are increasing our CSP capacity. This investment will create value over the lon- term while accelerating impact on the energy transition of our customers.”

Co-shareholders on Xina Solar One include Public Investment Corporation, a pension fund manager and a shareholder on ENGIE’s Kathu project (20%); Industrial Development Corporation, a development finance institution wholly- owned by the South African Government (20%); and Xina Community Trust, funded by the IDC (20%).

Xina Solar One, which started commercial operation in August 2017, was built by Abengoa.

Completion of the transaction is subject to the fulfillment of certain conditions including merger control clearance from relevant competition authorities.

In South Africa, ENGIE has interests in a CSP plant (100 MW Kathu), a wind farm (94 MW Aurora), 2 solar photovoltaic plants (21 MW), and 2 thermal power peaking plants (670 MW Avon and 335 MW Dedisa).

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Environment

Poisoned Fish Spotted Floating On Lake Victoria

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Tanzania has warned its lake shore population against eating fish that is reportedly floating on the vast lake Victoria.

Authorities in Kagera Region have warned residents to avoid eating dead fish found floating on the lake.

Kagera Regional Fisheries officer, Efrazi Mkama said on Saturday that his team was closely following up reports from a neighbouring country, showing that some dead fish had been washed up ashore on lake Victoria as well as lake Kyoga and the Nile.

Lake Victoria is shared by Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.

“We have taken necessary precautions. Preliminary investigations show fish poisoning. So, people are warned to avoid eating dead fish if they see them floating, instead they have to burry,” he said.

Mkama said last month dead fish stocks were spotted floating on Bugabo and Nyabesigwa sites, adding that the cause might be a drop in oxygen levels.

Nile Perch fish species is believed to be very sensitive to oxygen levels below 2mg/litre of water.

 

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