UK plastics recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption | Environment | The Guardian


The plastics recycling industry is facing an investigation into suspected widespread abuse and fraud within the export system amid warnings the world is about to close the door on UK packaging waste, the Guardian has learned.

The Environment Agency (EA) has set up a team of investigators, including three retired police officers, in an attempt to deal with complaints that organised criminals and firms are abusing the system.

Six UK exporters of plastic waste have had their licences suspended or cancelled in the last three months, according to EA data. One firm has had 57 containers of plastic waste stopped at UK ports in the last three years due to concerns over contamination of waste.

Allegations that the agency is understood to be investigating include:

  • Exporters are falsely claiming for tens of thousands of tonnes of plastic waste which might not exist
  • UK plastic waste is not being recycled and is being left to leak into rivers and oceans
  • Illegal shipments of plastic waste are being routed to the Far East via the Netherlands
  • UK firms with serial offences of shipping contaminated waste are being allowed to continue exporting.

UK households and businesses used 11m tonnes of packaging last year, according to government figures. Two-thirds of our plastic packaging waste is exported by an export industry which was worth more than £50m last year.

 

Source: UK plastics recycling industry under investigation for fraud and corruption | Environment | The Guardian

What $150 Million In Taxpayers’ Cash Buys You In Afghanistan


Stop Making Sense

Matthew Gault reports for War Is Boring:

In 2009, the Pentagon shipped American business experts to Afghanistan to help jump-start the war-torn country’s economy. To that end, the Task Force for Business and Stability Operations spent more than $800 million from 2009 until the Pentagon shut it down in March 2015.

During that time, TFBSO staff lived large in an Afghan villa one former employee described as “a five-star hotel paid for by the [Defense Department].” It cost the task force almost $150 million, around 20 percent of its budget, to keep up appearances while it operated in Afghanistan.

Frustrated task force employees blew the whistle on the big spending and party atmosphere in the TFBSO villas back in 2015. John Sopko, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, demanded answers — and the project collapsed under the scrutiny.

Now, War Is Boring has obtained pictures of the lavish lodgings from a former…

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Earth Day 2015: Top ten inspiring quotes to share with family and friends about the environment


Original post from International Business Times

‘…………..

SIMI-JOHN    By
Earth Day 2015
Earth Day is celebrated around the world on 22 April(Nasa Earth Observatory)

Earth Day is celebrated around the world on 22 April.

Over 190 countries worldwide take part in Earth Day celebrations by organising various events every year.

On the occasion, IBTimes UK has compiled top ten quotes about the environment.

  • “Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” – Albert Einstein
  • “I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.” – Mother Teresa
  • “The good man is the friend of all living things.” – Mahatma Gandhi
  • “Trees are Earth’s endless effort to speak to the listening heaven.” – Rabindranath Tagore
  • “The environment is where we all meet; where all have a mutual interest; it is the one thing all of us share.” – Lady Bird Johnson
  • “An understanding of the natural world and what’s in it is a source of not only a great curiosity but great fulfillment.” – David Attenborough
  • “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau
  • “Now I see the secret of making the best person: it is to grow in the open air and to eat and sleep with the earth.” – Walt Whitman
  • “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. ” – Lao Tzu
  • “Those who contemplate the beauty of the Earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” – Rachel Carson

Love ’em or loathe ’em, NHS targets are here to stay


Original post from The Health Foundation

An extract

‘………..Discussion of the forthcoming UK general election is dominated by military language: battle lines have been drawn, salvoes have been fired, skirmishes are underway. So it seems appropriate to suggest that the political arms race over the NHS has now well and truly begun.

The campaign promises on the NHS we’ve heard so far – and doubtless also the promises we’ll hear between now and 7 May – essentially split into two categories. First are commitments about resources, ie pledges to either provide additional funding or make existing budgets go further by cutting perceived waste (NHS managers will be wearily familiar with this terrain). Second are commitments about setting priorities for how the NHS will use those resources, such as extending GP opening hours, speeding up cancer diagnostics, improving access to mental health services, and so on.

The basic purpose of that second set of commitments is essentially to convince the public that the political party making them has the right plan for the NHS. But recent polling suggests only 16% of the public generally trust the political class to tell the truth, whereas 90% of people trust doctors to do likewise. So why do politicians continue to compete over who has the right priorities for the NHS, if the public doesn’t really trust any of them? ………….’

NHS; Do they listen to patients?


Don’t Worry Your Pretty Little Head from the blog of Diary of a Benefit Scrounger

Is this true of all the NHS, I do not know, but from the above blog and the comments contained it would appear to be wide spread.

Much is said about waste in the NHS, but the details in the post would appear to be saying, if the NHS professionals actually listened to their patients rather than assuming they as the professionals knows best. From the comments contained in the blog many costly treatments and numerous stays in NHS hospitals could have been avoided. Appropriate treatments could have been given more timely, thereby reducing pain and anguish for the patients and may be their relatives.

But how do the NHS professionals weed out those patients that really know what is wrong with them or have a good idea, to those who believe they have a condition, but they truly have not, whether this be by genuine misunderstanding of their feelings and anxieties or those who just want to waste time.

In many cases this would be the experience of the professionals, who should be open to information and ideas and not be judgmental. But is this not going against the grain of how these professionals have been trained for years. It is said that ‘A little knowledge is a dangerous thing. So is a lot‘, but is it more true to assess how the knowledge is used for the best interest of all concerned.