Plastics – particularly those made from petrochemicals, called PET plastics – are very useful for all kinds of purposes. They are, however, also a major contributor to waste landfills.
That is why the research of Dr Kevin O’Connor, UCD is so exciting. He has found three bacteria that can convert used PET into a more valuable form of plastic.
Click here to view full article (published, July ’09 issue, Science Spin)
Once a place that ambitious scientists couldn’t wait to get away from, Ireland was transformed at the start of this decade into a place where world-class research was happening.
The financial crisis means the Irish government is now struggling to keep that momentum going.
Click here to read the blog (published 26th March, Science Insider)
The precipitous fall off in funding for universities and institutes of technology – following an ‘Emergency Budget’ – will impact on researchers based in Ireland, a group that have also seen their real ‘take home’ salaries hit.
Click here to read the blog (published, 8th April ’09, Science Insider)
Ireland does not suffer from major earthquakes, nor volcanic eruptions, or major hurricanes. We have few natural hazards, but chief among them is probably landslides, which can occur without warning throughout the country.
The Geological Survey of Ireland has set up a special study group on landslides in an effort to find out more about why landslides occur, and to draw up ‘landslide susceptibility maps’ to help builders and planners plan for the risks.
To find out more, click here to read piece (published, July ’09, Science Spin)
Aggregates, or sand and gravel, are vital to any building project, large or small. At the moment in Ireland these materials are sourced from a diminishing number of land-based quarries.
That’s expensive and bad for the environment.
There is an alternative, however. Ireland is blessed with large deposits of aggregates at the bottom of the Irish Sea. Mining these would be cheaper and leave no marks on the landscape.
Click here to read item (published, 2nd August ’09, The Sunday Times)
Ireland has a dangerous habit: it’s called landfill. Unless measures are taken to break the habit and encourage incineration, we won’t be able to deal with our waste problem.
We continue to turn our backs on incineration despite the fact that other countries in Europe consider it to be a ‘greener’ option than landfill. This can only lead to problems in the not-too-distant future.
Click here to read article (published, 28th December ’08, The Sunday Times).