Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: News for smokers, cyclists, park lovers, fruit eaters

Pasadena to draft up tougher anti-smoking ordinance. Reports Pasadena Star-News: “City Council directed staff to draft a ordinance that would ban smoking in common areas of apartment buildings by the summer; ban smoking in all proposed multi-unit housing; require a disclosure of the law in rental, lease or purchase agreements by January 2012 and ban smoking in all apartment units by January 2014.”

ciclaviafun morn green

L.A. County Bicycle Plan draft gets a public review. Streetsblog LA gives a short summary of the county-wide plan for cyclists who haven’t read the report themselves: “The largest two problems, as stated by the LACBC [Los Angeles County Bicycle Coalition, a pro-bike nonprofit], is a county law requiring that mixed use travel lanes be at least twelve feet in width and that most of the “bike routes”are really just streets with signs saying bike routes.”

Echo Park got a new community pocket park. According to a local blog called echo park cool, the new Rockwood Park “houses playground swings, benches, climbers, tables, and slides…. A water fountain, swishy floors, and solar-paneled lampposts complete the outdoor playground.” (via Curbed LA)

Arroyo Time Bank provides homeless with locally-grown fruit. Reports Pasadena Star-News: “Last Friday in an Altadena back yard, eight volunteers harvested, packed and delivered more than seven bushels of oranges to Union Station Homeless Services for processing…. Bank idea is basic. Members … list the services they want to give and get, earning one “Time Dollar” for every hour of help donated. They can then cash it in for an hour’s help in return.”

Mendocino County’s old-growth redwoods saved from loggers. Reports SFGate: “Save the Redwoods League, raised $7.5 million to buy the spectacular 426-acre plot of land along the historic Skunk Train route, beating the April 1 deadline set by the Willits Redwood Co., which was threatening to log the big trees if the money didn’t come through.” (via The Green Life)

How green is solar panel manufacturing and disposal? Greenspace reports that of 15 companies ranked in the the nonprofit advocacy group Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition’s Solar Scorecard, just five “said they have undergone the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Toxicity Characteristic Leaching Procedure test.” All five passed that test. However, “Three companies took two similar tests offered by the state of California. One company failed both tests, while the two others each failed one.”

U.S. sees array of new threats at Japan’s nuclear plant. Reports NY Times: “United States government engineers sent to help with the crisis in Japan are warning that the troubled nuclear plant there is facing a wide array of fresh threats that could persist indefinitely, and that in some cases are expected to increase as a result of the very measures being taken to keep the plant stable, according to a confidential assessment prepared by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.”

Meanwhile in Japan: Japan stops highly radioactive leak into Pacific. Reports AP: “Workers stopped a highly radioactive leak into the Pacific off Japan’s flooded nuclear complex Wednesday, but with the plant far from stabilized, engineers prepared an injection of nitrogen to deter any new hydrogen explosions.” NPR reports Japan set its first radiation safety standards for fish.

Photo: The inaugural CicLAvia on Oct. 10, 2010. The second CicLAvia happens April 10, 2011. (Gary Leonard)