Sustainability Watch Newsletter summarizes concisely the topic of Water Intensity and Virtual Water: “Water intensity pertains to the amount of water required to conduct a process or create a product. Water intensity can be utilized on the consumer side as a way to label products according to their water use or it can be used as a metric on the production side to identify efficiencies and inefficiencies within a process. Additionally, water intensity measurements serve as the basis for the virtual-water trade. The virtual-water trade takes account the indirect amount of water arid regions are “importing” when they import water-intense products from areas that are more water-rich. Overall, water intensity is seen as a way to account for water use in a way that supports conservation.” Continue reading
The U.S. EPA website, AIRNow, defines AQI (Air Quality Index) as an indicator for reporting daily air quality i.e. how clean or polluted your air is, as well as associated health concerns. EPA calculates the AQI using five major air pollutant indicators: ground-level ozone, particle pollution, carbon monoxide, sulphur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide. Other countries may adopt different specific standards, computation methods and terminology for national air quality monitoring (e.g. Singapore uses PSI). Although NTU Library databases carry information about air quality indicators, these are mostly about modeling, computing or monitoring air quality data. A good resource for air quality indicator information is the relevant national or municipal agency and NGOs like the UNEP.
- “Public access to scientific literature used for EPA’s science assessment”
- “Learn about the studies used in EPA’s science assessments”
- “HERO brings you the key studies EPA uses to inform its decisions”
- “Using the latest information science tools for efficiency, sustainability, transparency”
EPA’s work at protection of human health and the environment is supported by a rigorous peer review process. References used in these risk assessment studies are consolidated in HERO and provide greater transparency to the assessment development process. Some user-friendly features in HERO are the ability to export reference bibliographic information and an e-mail alert tool for the latest updates on the HERO database.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is also making it easier to find chemical information online via ToxRefDB database. “Tens of thousands of chemicals are in commerce and current chemical testing is expensive and time consuming. Results from chemical testing are scattered throughout different sources,” said Dr. Robert Kavlock, director of EPA’s National Center for Computational Toxicology. “ToxRefDB allows the public to search, find and compare available studies about chemical toxicity and potential health effects.”
Among the many data relating to energy markets found in the Review, there are good illustrations on the world distribution of fossil fuel reserves, i.e. for oil, coal and natural gas. Data on the prices, production and consumption of these fuel can also be found.