Professor of physics, Robert Richardson from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, won the 1996 Nobel prize for his work on superfluidity in helium, and has issued a warning the supplies of helium are being used at an unprecedented rate and could be depleted within a generation.
Professor Richardson warned the gas is not cheap because the supply is inexhaustible, but because of the Helium Privatisation Act passed in 1996 by the US Congress. The Act required the helium stores held underground near Amarillo in Texas to be sold off at a fixed rate by 2015 regardless of the market value, to pay off the original cost of the reserve. The Amarillo storage facility holds around half the Earth's stocks of helium: around a billion cubic meters of the gas. The US currently supplies around 80 percent of the world's helium supplies.
Richardson said it has taken 4.7 billion years for the Earth to accumulate our helium reserves, which we will have exhausted within about a hundred years of the US's National Helium Reserve having been established in 1925. The reserve is a collection of disused underground mines, pipes and vats extending over 300 km from north of Amarillo into Kansas. He warned that when helium is released to the atmosphere, in helium balloons for example, it is lost forever.
There is no chemical way of manufacturing helium, and the supplies we have originated in the very slow radioactive alpha decay that occurs in rocks. It costs around 10,000 times more to extract helium from air than it does from rocks and natural gas reserves.
Read more about this issue in the BBC article at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19676639
Keep Queensland beautiful has been working to lead, challenge and inspire all Australians to strike for sustainable and litter free environment. One of the oldest campaign of this KQK is “No junk mail” that encourage Queenslanders to follow easy ways to reduce the distribution of this unsolicited mail.
How many resources are wasted to produce that unsolicited mail?
Globally, it is estimated that 100 million trees are harvested to produce junk mail each year. In Australia, Junk Mail constitutes a staggering 6 per cent of all paper used across the country representing 240,000 tonnes of paper a year. According to the Australian Catalog Association approximately 8 billions catalogs got delivered each year in Australia and only 20 per cent are read.
What the law says?
The Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011 (the Act) aims to ensure that advertising material is delivered responsibly and securely to persons willing to receive such material. The laws also aim to stop the material becoming waste or litter.
The Act introduces the following new obligations: Unsolicited advertising materials must be delivered securely in a mail box, slot or other place provided at the property for mail or newspapers or placed under a door of the premises. Unsolicited advertising material must not be delivered to premises that have a sign such as ‘no junk mail’, ‘Australia Post only’, or similar, displayed. Delivery of advertising material must not cause accumulations of waste.
It is an offence not to comply with these obligations, and fines range from $440 to $11,000. Compliance action may be taken against a publisher, distributor or deliverer of advertising material or unsolicited advertising material who is involved in breaching the responsible delivery obligations.
What can I do?
1) Place a “No junk mail” sticker on your letterbox if you don’t wish to receive uncatalogued and other unaddressed mail items. The Australian postal delivery officers are instructed not to deliver unaddressed mail to letterboxes with the signage. Our Keep Queensland Beautiful sticker is available in the following link: http://www.keepqueenslandbeautiful.org.au/merchandise/no-junk-mail-sticker.
In addition, Buying the KQB stickers will help us to gather fund to promote our campaign and spread the word to create a more sustainable communities.
2) Register on the Association for Data-driven Marketing & Advertising's (ADMA). 'If you are registered in ADMA, you will stop receiving Junk Mail from its member such as banks, insurance companies, publisher and charities.
3) Register for digital catalogs. In case that you wants to receive junk mail but don’t want your mailbox stuffed with things that your are not interested, get your catalog on digital format.
To reduce our impact on the environment we must identify and stop those practices that use natural, human and financial resources in an unsustainable manner. Unsolicited and intrusive advertising can be avoided following this easy steps that Keep Queensland Beautiful promote in its campaign “No junk mail”.
Keep Australia Beautiful is committed to the development of activities and targeted campaigns to educate different sectors of the community to create sustainable communities adopting a wide range of strategies and plans to promote the waste minimization.
We have set up an on-line petition calling for the prohibition of the helium balloons in the state of Queensland because of the threat to wildlife and source of litter forced in waterways.
Helium is considered a non-renewable gas that is used mostly in hospitals.It is used in MRI scanners and is usually mixed with oxygen to make breathing easier for sick patients and can save newborn babies lives.
Helium is extracted from the earth's crust and there is a currently global shortage of this gas.The scarcity of Helium is a really serious issue and once it is realized in the atmosphere it is gone forever.
Also, balloons are a common source of litter found in waterways being a serious threat to marine and wildlife. When deflated balloons are floating in waterways they can be ingested by marine life such as turtles, fish and dolphins.
Despite of being made from biodegradable latex, Balloons floating in the ocean can take up to 12 month to degrade.
To get this important purpose, we need the support of our community to gather the most possible signatures in our E-Petition: