Earthquakes Hits Italy, E-Waste Skyrocketing and Geog Exams Worst Ever

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 Geography News this week…

Series Of Earthquakes Stun Italy

Up until August last year, most people would have considered Italy a safe, viable destination to travel to.

Although known for it’s corruption and questionable police force, it has remained an enduring tourist attraction, thanks to it’s well preserved national heritage sites and celebrated culture. With temperate summers and mild winters, it has long been a destination for holiday makers – but this might soon change.

On August 24th 2016, the country was rocked by a series of Earthquakes, the most aggressive of which registered at 6.2 on the richter scale. Nearly 300 people lost their lives and over 400 people were injured across the country. It was the first of a series to hit the country after a 4-year hiatus from tectonic activity.

The most recent of these, registering at 5.7, has led to at least 14 fatalities at an Italian mountain hotel in Abruzzo. After 5 incidents in the space of a year, it would appear that Italy is entering a new era of increased natural disasters.

Asia’s E-Waste Mountains Rise To Record High

China is currently leading the way with record amounts of e-waste being left as a result of an ever increasing market for new consumer electronics.

A whopping 16 million tonnes of electronics waste was dumped in the space of a single year – a number that has risen by 63% within 5 years.

E-waste includes any kind of electronic item that contains toxic or valuable metals that can not simply be put into a landfill. Items such as televisions, phone and toys often contain pollutants that have been linked to adverse effects on human health, including inflammation and oxidative stress. These symptoms are often seen as precursors to serious health conditions such as cardiovascular disease and even cancer.

The demand for consumer electronics is unlikely to desist in China or the rest of Asia, where similar cases of e-waste have been increasing for the past few years. The question remains, what will the long-term consequences be for these countries’ populations and is there a way of turning the tide?

 Popularity Of Geography Under Threat In Scotland

After a series of particularly poorly received exams have left both students and teachers scratching their heads, the popularity of the Geography A-Level in Scotland may well be on the decline.

The Royal Scottish Geographical Society, back in November, made a submission to Members of Scottish Parliament, warning that if the Scottish Qualifications Authority did not amend their exams properly for the next year the subject could see a significant decrease in popularity.

Of all the teachers, who took part in a survey on the much criticised exam paper, 10% considered the paper as ‘fair, OK, or better’ whereas over 50% of the teachers thought it was ‘poor, shocking, terrible, worst ever and nothing like the specimen or previous paper.’ SQA have responded insisting that the paper was of an ‘appropriate standard’. Fortunately for us, the subject still remains as popular as ever in England and Wales.

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