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ICYMI: Science and technology updates from January 27 to February 2, 2019.

Manila Bay rehabilitation begins; lawmakers wary of displacement of informal settlers

From ABS-CBN News:

Photos of a more pleasant, less toxic-looking Manila Bay coastline along Roxas Boulevard have been circulating online, as netizens applauded the result of a massive weekend cleanup drive.

Participants during Sunday’s activity collected tons of garbage in the area, consequently improving the surroundings.

The rehabilitation of the bay was set after President Rodrigo Duterte warned businesses in the vicinity to comply with environment regulations or face closure.

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Eight party-list lawmakers yesterday filed a resolution urging the government to suspend the Manila Bay rehabilitation program.

The resolution was signed by Rep. Ariel Casilao of Anakpawis, Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna, Emmie de Jesus and Arlene Brosas of Gabriela, Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers and Sarah Jane Elago of Kabataan.

“The rehabilitation program could be a prelude to 43 reclamation projects covering more than 32,000 hectares in the bay under the Build, Build, Build program,” the resolution stated.

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Samsung Electronics pledges to use sustainable packaging

Under the company’s sustainability policy, Samsung plans to minimize and replace packaging with environmentally sustainable materials. (Image: Samsung)

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. announced its plans to replace plastic packaging materials with environmentally sustainable elements. Beginning in 2019, the company’s products and accessories will come in packaging made of recycled/bio-based plastics and paper, as well as other sustainable materials. Some examples are pulp molds to replace phone and tablet holder trays, eco-friendly bag wrappers, and eliminating plastic protection films on its chargers. Additionally, the company aims to use 500 thousand tons of recycled plastics and collect 7.5 million tons of discarded products by 2030.

Measles cases rise in Washington


As of Monday, there are 36 confirmed cases of measles in the state of Washington — an outbreak that has already prompted Gov. Jay Inslee to declare a state of emergency.

“Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease that can be fatal in small children,” Inslee said in his proclamation on Friday, adding that these cases create “an extreme public health risk that may quickly spread to other counties.”

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Astronomers detect a “curious object” along the Solar System’s edge

From Science Alert:

For over 70 years, scientists have been predicting the existence of a certain kind of object in the outer Solar System. Small in size, these potential bodies are thought to constitute an important early step in the planet formation process.

Since these hypothetical objects are only between 1 and 10 kilometres in radius (0.6 to 6.2 miles), it’s tricky to spot them from where we sit. But now astronomers think they have done it.

By staring at the sky for hours, they’ve obtained evidence of an object just 1.3 kilometres (0.8 miles) in radius, in the vicinity of Pluto’s orbit. The find could finally be a representative of this proposed class of small, ‘kilometre-sized’ Kuiper Belt objects.

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Cover photo: Artem Mizyuk/Pexels