Expanding Cooperation with Academic Research Institutions to Find Solutions to Environmental Problems

DAMASCUS, (ST) - DAMASCUS, (ST) - Activities of the  2nd  Environmental Research Conference recently started here on the auditorium of Damascus University and discussed  the agricultural waste to get environmentally friendly products and on the tarmac at the University of Damascus.

The three-day conference discussed a study concerning economic, social and environmental effects of the optimal uses of waste production and agro-processing and technologies used to improve the nutritional value of agricultural residues and other topics of scientific environmental research.

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs, Dr. Nazira Sarkis, underlined that that the government pays special attention to scientific research and the development of education, universities and research centers, and reform of laws and regulations to ensure the construction of a modern advanced society on scientific basis.

Dr. Sarkis clarified that her Ministry had worked to develop a comprehensive and integrated strategy to combat pollution in all its forms and to improve the environmental situation currently in coopration with bodies concerned. The ministry, she added, is seeking to expand cooperation with academic and research institutions to find solutions to environmental problems, encourage research on the environmental issues and contribute to the reduction of pollution, working to invest in the scientific field of information systems, which play a big role in the service of sound management of natural resources and environment protection.

The ministry also seeks to set up an integrated data bank serves the work of the National Environmental Observatory and environmental information center for monitoring the environmental situation.

"Syria was one of the first countries that have joined the international environmental conventions on climate change, combatting desertification and biodiversity. Syria also signed agreements and MoUs for bilateral cooperation in the field of protection of the environment with a number of countries and called to participate actively in addressing environmental impacts and to provide solutions and treatments and comprehend scientific development in these areas," the Minister noted.

President of Damascus University, Dr. Mohammed Amer al-Mardini, pointed out that the challenges face the environment in Syria impos the search in several topics including environmental resources and the potential of investing them to meet the needs of the community and the requirements of sustainable development. and in particular to the lost and wasted in agricultural production and processing constitute the bulk pointing out that agricultural residues form in this context an urgent and  comprehensive problem, and an opportunity to deepen the relationship between scientific research at the university and issues of community.

Dr Mardini pointed out to the importance of conducting environment scientific research between academic institutions and other service institutions. The balanced development, he added, takes into account the lower costs; maintain the health and preservation of the environment, increase employment and youth employment in the context of securing good use of the capabilities of individuals and their knowledge and potentials and the available environmental resources.

For his part, Director of the Arab Center for the Studies of Arid Zones and Dry Areas (ACSAD), Dr. Rafiq Ali Saleh, explained that improper disposal of agricultural waste reflects wrong practices. Such practices help wasting an important productive element that would contribute to reducing the cost of production, increasing soil fertility, supporting necessary feed resources and the possibility of creating a climate for small income generating to support rural development.

particularly as agribusiness overcome most of the activities of population in the Arab region, which is Situated habitat important for the diversity of animal and plant pointing out that the Arab Center attaches importance and wide for these activities in Arab countries

The conference recommended benefiting from agricultural waste products to get environment-friendly products through adopting a database of the National Observatory for Environment, waste availability and areas of existence and utilization, the need for the application of scientific research and environmental contact with the immediate environmental issues.

Participants called on adopting the participation in dealing with environmental problems through ensuring requirements of applied scientific research, activating the agreements and memoranda of cooperation with research institutions, civil society. They called on activating the role of guiding farmers on investing the agricultural waste, encouraging economic and social studies. They also underlined the adoption of a special database concerning the conference and the follow-up of researches in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry, public and private bodies for the establishment of small projects in coordination with the researchers.

The participants pointed to the need for holding seminars and conferences in line with the priorities of environmental problems and serving the strategy of the Ministry of State for Environmental Affairs in protecting the environment and achieving sustainable development.

 "The ministry will prepare a joint work programs with universities and research institutions to develop and implement environmental, social and media researches that deal with the change of behavior at productive communities, referring to the need to establish this conference annually," the minister pointed out.

Sh. Kh.

Syria marks the World Environment Day

On June 5, the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs and Damascus Countryside Governorate co-organized activities to mark the world’s Environment Day.

Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis and Damascus Countryside’s Governor Hussein Khallouf participated in the environmental activities in Qudsia Suburb, 18 km western Damascus, to increase the environmental awareness and culture.

The Minister, Governor and hundreds of volunteers planted 600 saplings of Damascene jasmine, pine, rose, palm and oak in the Suburb’s squares to increase the green areas.

Later, the officials moved to open an exhibition of paintings done by children of displaced families who are living in a shelter centre, in the Suburb. The children welcomed the officials at the centre’s gate , raising the Syrian flags and President Bashar al-Assad’s posters and hailing the Syrian Arab Army in its war against  terrorist groups.

The centre is run by the government to host 160 displaced families who ran away from the armed groups. Big number of these families had returned from Lebanon’s refugee camps. The children’s paintings show the terrorist attacks, crimes and sabotages perpetrated by the armed terrorist groups. Some of paintings show the heroic operations of the Syrian Arab Army and their love to their country’s flag as a symbol of the Syrians unity.

In a press conference attended by the Syria Times,  Minister of State for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis said that her ministry will cooperate with all ministries and concerned sides to improve environmental situation in the areas affected by terrorists and their attacks and plant  these areas to change them into green ones.  

For his part, Governor Hussein Khallouf said: “The Governorate and the Ministry are cooperating together to organize a

program on the occasion of World Environment Day to be briefed on displaced families in shelters and engage them in environmental activities.”

The Minister of State for Environmental Affairs issued a press release, get by the Syria Times,  saying: "The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save." This theme aims to encourage individuals to limit wastage and losses in food and decrease the amount of food waste.

Reported by O. Mohammad

Syria Mark World Environment Day

DAMASCUS COUNTRYSIDE, (ST) – marking the World Environmental Day, a field campaign on Wednesday was organized  by the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs in cooperation with Damascus Countryside Governorate.

The campaign aimed at  spreading environmental amongst citizens .

Approximately 600 saplings of pine, palm, oak, jasmine and roses were planted by volunteers in the squares near a temporary housing center in Qudsaya district..

The campaign also included an exhibition of paintings made  by children staying in the said center.

"the State Ministry for Environmental Affaires will do its utmost to improve environmental conditions in areas affected by terrorism, "underscored State Minister for Environmental Affairs Nazira Serkis

Damascus Countryside Governor Hussein Khalloud ,for his part, asserted that the Governorate and the State Ministry are organizing a program on occasion of World Environment Day to check up on families in housing centers and get them  involve in environmental activities.

The 2013 theme for World Environment Day is "Think.Eat.Save."  This theme aims to encourage individuals to limit wastage and losses in food and decrease the amount of food waste. In this framework, the State Ministry for Environmental Affairs is organizing campaigns and lectures and producing TV, radio and press material to raise awareness.


Syria: National Committee to Improve Air Quality

Damascus, (ST)_ Environmental Affairs State Minister, the Natheera Serkis, has chaired the first meeting of the national committee to improve air quality in Syria.

“The meeting aimed to lay down a national plan that includes the schemes and projects to be carried out by the concerned ministries in the coming period to put an end to air pollution”, Dr. Serkis declared.

Dr. Serkis pointed out that deterioration of air quality requires full mobilization of all governmental sectors; directing attention to the Ministry’s role in defining pollutants and their sources,as well as findingappropriate air pollution solutions.

 Air Safety director at the Environment Ministry, engineer Tha’er Al-Def, outlined the ministry and concerned parties' activities to monitor pollution levels in Syrian governorates.He also underlined the attempts to establish a specialized database including air pollutants and most polluted areas.


Uncovering the secrets of North America's Ice Age giants

Eighty thousand years ago the Earth began to cool, marking the start of the last Ice Age. Experts are still discovering how the big freeze affected the giant mammals which prowled its dramatically changing landscape.

Scientists are helping to uncover the secrets of giant Ice Age beasts like the sabretooth cat - by foraging in crates of dirt which were collected during the building of a car park.

Wooden boxes were built around deposits of earth in 2006 after construction workers discovered the near-complete skeleton of a woolly mammoth while digging underground parking spaces at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

The crates were designed to salvage the remains for scientists at nearby Page Museum while also making way for the bulldozers.

More than three million prehistoric fossils from 600 species have been excavated from California's tar pits, which trapped and preserved Ice Age creatures as they roamed the territory tens of thousands of years ago.

The 23 crates, which each have a resident palaeontologist, and 327 buckets of fossil material are yielding vital discoveries and are expected to take several years to examine in full.

Project 23 is just one of a series of explorations documented by a new BBC series, Ice Age Giants, which has combined cutting edge fossil studies and CGI to create lifelike footage of the prehistoric beasts.

Here are some of the Ice Age giants of North America. The continent was half-covered by an enormous ice sheet at the peak of the last Ice Age, but land south of the ice suddenly became richer than ever before.

Source :BBC