Innovative companies and organizations in Nova Scotia have seven weeks left to apply for funding for environmental technologies that will help them be more green by reducing energy use, harmful air emissions and costs. Nova Scotia’s ecoNova Scotia Fund for Clean Air and Climate Change is adding $1.25 million dollars to the Environmental Technologies Program which helps businesses pay for technologies that lead to emission reductions. This brings the total investment in the funding program to almost $10.8 million. The fund is administered by the provincial Department of Environment. “As the Premier and I prepare to attend the United Nations conference on climate change, in Copenhagen, I am pleased to announce extra funding to reduce air emissions in our province,” said Environment Minister Sterling Belliveau. “We are strengthening this program to strengthen the fight against climate change.” The program funds eligible companies and organizations that can show their technological innovations increase energy efficiencies that lead to reduced greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. “I encourage eligible applicants to promptly submit their proposals for funding,” said Mr. Belliveau. There are many types of businesses that can receive funding from the program, including manufacturing plants that plan to re-engineer processing equipment to cut energy use and be more cost-effective, and builders of products that reduce energy use and save consumers money. So far, 4.8 million dollars of the program’s original investment has been committed to projects. With today’s added funding, the Environmental Technologies Program now has almost 6 million to be allocated before the deadline. The extra funding in the program will help the province meet its targets stated in its Climate Change Action Plan and the Environmental Goals and Sustainable Prosperity Act, the first comprehensive package of legislated environmental goals in Canada. The province is committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to at least 10 per cent below 1990 levels by 2020, and to significant drops in air pollutant levels by 2010. Applicants for funding under the Environmental Technologies Program must submit application forms to ecoNova Scotia before Jan. 31. This is the final round of funding from ecoNova Scotia which began in 2007 with an original grant of $42.5 million from the government of Canada. To learn more and obtain an application form for ecoNova Scotia funding, go to www.gov.ns.ca/ecoNovaScotia.
Meanwhile, Peter Graaff, the Acting Special Representative and head of the UN Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), told the UN News Service that the rainy season “creates problems because it will bring other diseases like malaria that often shows similar symptoms to Ebola.”Mr. Graaff said the rainy season “makes things more complicated because for the time being, people showing those symptoms have to be dealt with as if they are potentially Ebola patients, therefore have to be tested.”As a consequence, he warned that the number of people to be tested for Ebola will go up “quite dramatically” over the next few weeks.The latest update on Ebola noted that since 10 May, when a 10-month low of nine cases of Ebola were reported, both the intensity and geographical area of transmission have increased. In the week ending 31 May, 25 cases were reported from four prefectures of Guinea and three districts of Sierra Leone, and several cases in both countries arose from unknown sources of infection in areas that have not reported confirmed cases for several weeks, indicating that chains of transmission continue to go undetected, according to WHO.“Rigorous contact tracing, active case finding, and infection prevention and control must be maintained at current intensive levels in order to uncover and break every chain of transmission,” it said. “However, the onset of the rainy season will make field operations more difficult from now onwards.”WHO also reported that response efforts have been complicated by active and passive resistance from communities in Guinea and also Sierra Leone.“Community engagement has continued to be challenging in several chiefdoms in Kambia, with UNICEF reporting a large number of incidents of resistance to response measures in the district,” according to the update.And “community engagement has proved challenging in all 4 affected prefectures of Guinea, with several reported incidents of violence directed at field staff during the past week,” it said.Given the proximity to Guinea-Bissau of the recent cluster of cases in the north-west Guinean prefecture of Boke, two response teams from Guinea-Bissau have been deployed to the border with Guinea to assess several points of entry and sensitize the communities. As of 31 May, there have been 27,181 Ebola cases, mostly in West Africa, with 11,162 deaths.