A breath of fresh air
Air pollution is responsible for 3.1 million premature deaths every year and most of these occur in the developing world.
In Manila, the Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) is a 12-lane super highway which carries hundreds of thousands of vehicles a day. This level of traffic has also brought with it worrying levels of toxic pollution.
Local researchers have found that the nitrogen oxides level around EDSA is over four and a half times the safe limit set by the World Health Organisation.
However, a unique collaboration between a visual artist and a rather special paint manufacturer is turning the fabric of the city into an air filter.
Using ultrafine titanium dioxide, the paint company has produced an air purifying paint which neutralises nitrogen oxide into harmless quantities of calcium nitrate, CO2 and water.
Working with ten other artists, four murals covering an area of 4,000 square metres have already been completed and four more are under way which will take the project to the combined NOx cleaning power of 8,000 mature trees.
Russell Beard travels to Manila, Philippines, to see how art and science are giving one of the world’s most polluted cities a much-needed green makeover.
Wetlands are one of the world’s most valuable ecosystems; as well as providing a rich habitat for plants and animals, they also store carbon and help reduce floods by soaking up excess rain.
But around the world, vast swathes of them are being destroyed, and in England alone, 90 percent of wetlands have disappeared in the last 400 years.
Now English farmer Derek Gow has a novel plan to restore these precious habitats – bring back beavers, the massive semi-aquatic rodents that once played a crucial role in shaping the British countryside.
Using their sharp teeth, beavers chop down small trees and branches to build dams across streams, creating a large network of pools and channels to live in, which form a brand new wetland.
Sylvia Rowley travels to Devon, UK, to see what nature’s construction workers can do, and to help release a pair of beavers into their new home on Derek’s farm.
When household items break, the temptation is to chuck them out, yet our throw-away society means we are filling up landfill sites and using up natural resources at an alarming rate.
But in Holland, 96 so-called Repair Cafes staffed by volunteers, some of whom are unemployed, have been set up to help people mend items rather than throw them away.
Matan Rochlitz travels to Amsterdam to see for himself how the initiative is bringing together communities and diverting scores of items, from suitcases to lamps, from the scrapheap.