India’s Short-Lived Ban on Exports of Coronavirus Drug

India’s Short-Lived Ban on Exports of Coronavirus Drug

April 29, 2020

As demand for potential coronavirus drugs surges during this pandemic, several countries have banned the export of these drugs.  As many drugs and/or their key ingredients are made in a handful of countries, export bans create tremendous problem and potential shortages.

India announced a partial ban on the export of hydroxychloroquine in late March. Following a threatened retaliation from President Trump, the ban was at least partially lifted.

Several researchers are studying the affect of this drug in combination with the antibiotic azithromycin.  One small-sample study in France showed promising, but not definitive results.  In addition to potential for treating coronavirus, hydroxychloroquine has been used in the prevention and treatment of malaria for many years.


Video Spotlight: Increase in demand for drugs to treat coronavirus leads to shortages (Mar 23, 2020, CBS Evening News)


This post is based on the Bloomberg article, Global Rush for Trump-Backed Virus Drug Sparks India Export Ban, by Bloomberg News, March 24, 2020; the Japan Times article, After Trump threat, India lifts export ban on COVID-19 treatment drug, by Bloomberg, April 7, 2020; and the YouTube video in the Spotlight. Image source: aberration/123RF

Discussion Questions: Continue reading

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Fast Fashion Turns to Fast Trash

Fast Fashion Turns to Fast Trash

April 10, 2020

Ghana imports large amounts of secondhand clothing from the UK and other countries, but poor quality makes much of it unsaleable.  Over 50 tons a day, representing about forty percent of the items coming into Kantamanto, the main market, end up being thrown away.

Landfill sites in Ghana are overflowing with the debris.  Low quality fast fashion items, cheap single use t-shirts from marathons or other special events, and unclean items have little to no value in the resale market.  Vendors gamble, buying their bales of used clothing sight unseen, and hope for the best.  Sadly, much of what they purchase will be thrown away, making Ghana and other African countries a dumping ground for other countries’ unwanted textile waste.


Video Spotlight: How fast fashion choices in the the UK are causing an environmental catastrophe in Ghana (Feb 18, 2020, ITV News)


This post is based on the Daily Mail article, The fast fashion trash mountain: Shocking report reveals today’s cheap clothes are so badly made they often can’t be resold—and end up rotting into a toxic soup in Africa, by Barbara Davies, February 25, 2020, and the YouTube video featured in Continue reading

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Bug butter in Belgium

Bug butter in Belgium

Scientists at Ghent University in Belgium succeeded in replacing butter with Black soldier fly larva fat in waffles, cakes, and cookies.  Not only is the insect food higher in protein, vitamin, fiber and minerals, it is also more environmentally friendly and cheaper than animal products.


Video Spotlight: Scientists bake cake using insect ‘butter’ and folks can’t tell the difference (Feb 28, 2020, Breaking News)


This post is based on the Reuters article, Waiter, there’s a fly in my waffle: Belgian researchers try out insect butter, by Jakub Riha, February 28, 2020, and the YouTube video featured in the Video Spotlight. Image source: © 2/James Worrell/Ocean/Corbis.

Discussion Questions:

1. What operational issues are addressed by replacing butter with larva fat?

Guidance: It addresses economic and sustainability issues. Insect-based food is more environmentally friendly, and less expensive, than animal products.

2. In what ways is larva fat more sustainable than butter?

Guidance: Insects use less land and are more efficient at converting feed than cattle.  Additionally, less water is used to produce butter.

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