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Environment - 20.01.2022
Climate protection in the wastewater treatment arena
Climate protection in the wastewater treatment arena
Wastewater treatment plants (WTP) place a greater burden on the climate than was previously thought. They generate greenhouse gases at various processing stages and, in total, account for over one per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions in Switzerland. In the case of N2O (nitrous oxide), which is particularly harmful to the climate and the ozone layer, they account for a massive 20 per cent or so of total emissions.

Environment - Chemistry - 18.01.2022
Remove micropollutants with granular activated carbon?
Remove micropollutants with granular activated carbon?
For the elimination of trace substances at wastewater treatment plants (WWTP), granular activated carbon (GAC) is also available as an alternative treatment option to ozonation and the powdered activated carbon process (PAC). In contrast to the high energy consumption in ozonation (electrical energy to generate ozone and liquid oxygen), the energy-intensive production and CO2-footprint of carbon (starting raw materials, process energy) have an impact on activated carbon treatment.

Environment - Psychology - 17.01.2022
Inciting instead of coercing, 'nudges' prove their effectiveness
Inciting instead of coercing, ’nudges’ prove their effectiveness
A team from the UNIGE demonstrates that certain soft incentive techniques, known as «nudges», are effective in getting people to change their behaviour. To get through challenges such as the pandemic or the climate change, citizens must change their habits and behaviors. But how can this be achieved without resorting to coercive measures? The answer to this question may be the «nudges» that have been gaining popularity over the last decade.

Chemistry - Environment - 10.01.2022
It all comes down to the first electron
It all comes down to the first electron
Every living thing requires energy. This is also true of microorganisms. This energy is frequently generated in the cells by respiration, that is by the combustion of organic compounds, in other words: food. During this process, electrons are released which the microorganisms then need to get rid of.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 17.12.2021
The climate system relies on microscopic particles
Scientists from EPFL and the Mediterranean Institute of Oceanography (MIO) have discovered a new source of organic phosphorus that is fertilizing remote marine ecosystems via atmospheric particles. This finding could help researchers better understand how marine ecosystems respond to climate change.

Environment - 09.12.2021
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
Fish inventory in 35 lakes completed
In the "Projet Lac" research project, 35 lakes in the Alpine region were systematically examined for their fish populations for the first time: In Switzerland alone, 106 fish species were detected. With almost 20 percent of all known fish species in Europe, Switzerland is one of the hotspots for fish species diversity.

Environment - 08.12.2021
A holistic approach to protect biodiversity on land and in the water
A holistic approach to protect biodiversity on land and in the water
Biodiversity is now declining at a rate unprecedented in human history, from the local to the global level, threatening not least human well-being. Rapid action is needed, which in turn requires a good understanding of biodiversity. However, a stark division between disciplines and ecosystems in ecological research is hampering holistic solutions, argue the authors of the first synthesis article to emerge from the Blue-Green Biodiversity (BGB) research initiative.

Environment - Life Sciences - 01.12.2021
Artificial intelligence helps speed up ecological surveys
Artificial intelligence helps speed up ecological surveys
Scientists at EPFL, the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research and Wageningen University & Research have developed a new deep-learning model for counting the number of seals in aerial photos that is considerably faster than doing it by hand. With this new method, valuable time and resources could be saved which can be used to further study and protect endangered species.

Health - Environment - 30.11.2021
Personen mit niedrigem Einkommen stärker von Pandemie belastet
The COVCO-Basel study by the Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Swiss TPH) has been investigating the health-related and societal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for over a year. New results from the study have shown that people coming from low-income households are more severely affected by the pandemic, and that rates of depression among this population group have risen.

Environment - 29.11.2021
Tracking down microplastics in Antarctica
Tracking down microplastics in Antarctica
Microplastics are everywhere, even in the most remote places. Where do these tiny pieces of plastic come from? Researchers from the University of Basel and the Alfred-Wegener Institute have shown that it takes precise analysis to answer this question. Microplastics are an environmental problem since organisms ingest these tiny particles and can be harmed by them.

Environment - Health - 29.11.2021
Ozone causes our skin to emit tiny airborne particles
Ozone causes our skin to emit tiny airborne particles
An international research team including scientists has found that whenever we encounter ozone, it reacts with lipids in our skin to create nanoparticles. Air pollution is responsible for seven million of premature deaths around the world every year, according to the World Health Organization. That's roughly the same number of people who die from smoking or malnutrition.

Environment - Earth Sciences - 24.11.2021
Network records Europe's greenhouse gas emissions
Network records Europe’s greenhouse gas emissions
An article in the scientific journal "Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society" describes for the first time how the European ICOS network ("Integrated Carbon Observation System") helps to better understand the function of carbon sinks and to assess the effects of climate change on them. Half of the carbon emissions released to the atmosphere by fossil fuel use are re-captured by the ocean and land ecosystems.

Materials Science - Environment - 16.11.2021
An ironclad future
An ironclad future
Solar energy plays an important role in the fight against climate change as a substitute for fossil fuels. Dye-sensitized solar cells promise to be a low-cost supplement to the photovoltaic systems we know today. Their key feature is the dye sensitizers attached to their surface. Researchers at the University of Basel continue to improve the performance with sensitizers using iron - a commonly available and environmentally friendly metal.

Environment - Transport - 09.11.2021
How electric cars help to reduce electricity imports
How electric cars help to reduce electricity imports
Swiss electricity generation has a very low carbon footprint. However, this is often not the case for imports. Researchers from the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) Automation, led by Empa researcher Loris di Natale, investigated how electric cars could help reduce the need for energy imports from fossil fuels.

Environment - 09.11.2021
Transport pricing in practice
In the largest worldwide pricing experiment to date, researchers from the University of Basel, ETH Zurich and ZHAW have demonstrated that road users change their behavior when they must pay for the social and environmental effects of their transportation. The study took place in urban agglomerations in Frenchand German-speaking Switzerland.

Environment - Health - 09.11.2021
A Decline in Air Pollution Levels in Europe Still Fall Short of WHO Guidelines, According to New Study
For the first time, a new study by Swiss TPH used robust spatio-temporal methodology to show the reduction in air pollution across Europe from 2006-2019 and found that while exposure rates have significantly declined across Europe the past 14 years, there are large parts of the continent where the WHO guidelines on air pollution are still not met.

Environment - 04.11.2021
First full-year study of turbulent mixing in Lake Geneva
First full-year study of turbulent mixing in Lake Geneva
Changing temperatures and varying winds over the seasons cause great fluctuations in Lake Geneva. The LéXPLORE research platform monitored the movement of water within the lake for a year to learn more about how natural factors influence the lake's mixing. The resulting analysis now paints a fuller picture of mixing in large lakes, which had previously only been studied over shorter time periods.

Life Sciences - Environment - 03.11.2021
A natural CO2-sink thanks to symbiotic bacteria
A natural CO2-sink thanks to symbiotic bacteria
Like many land plants, seagrasses live in symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria. Researchers of the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology in Bremen and Eawag now show that seagrass in the Mediterranean Sea lives in symbiosis with bacteria that reside in their roots and provide the nitrogen necessary for growth.

Environment - Life Sciences - 02.11.2021
Discover the underwater world
Discover the underwater world
Our lakes, rivers and streams are teeming with the smallest creatures, plants and bacteria that are barely visible to the naked eye, if at all. An underwater camera makes it possible to observe and identify the species of these creatures in real time. "Wow, that's so beautiful!" - Children and adults were audibly enthralled by images from the Eawag underwater camera Aquascope during the "Science City 2019 Meeting Point" exhibition at the ETH Zurich.

Environment - Politics - 29.10.2021
Why biodiversity policy has yet to get off the ground
Why biodiversity policy has yet to get off the ground
Whether a hydroelectric power plant is built, a pesticide is banned or a moor is placed under protection - a wide variety of political decisions have an impact on biodiversity. But does biodiversity play any role at all in such decisions? Researchers at Eawag and WSL have investigated this question and examined Swiss policy over the past 20 years.
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