Elias Hakalehto, PhD, Adj. Prof.
CEO, Finnoflag Oy
Vice President, International Society of Environmental Indicators
Fellow Member, International Society for Development and Sustainability (ISDS) (Japan)
Published 10th of December, 2021
In the Winter, new Covid-19 variants are coming to the Northern hemisphere. A kind of miracle has occurred in Japan after the Tokyo Olympics, as the cases of delta variant came down abruptly to the daily number of about 100 instead of the 25000 incidents a few months ago. Meanwhile, the proposition of fully vaccinated individuals was risen (from 41% to 77.7%, with more than 60% among the 12-19-year-old population).
Could this Japanese phenomenon be the first documented case of herd immunity during this pandemics? Is it regarding the delta variant only? - In Waterford, Ireland, about a month ago, 97.7% of the population were double-vaccinated. However, the level of contagions was elevating.
In Japan, could the additional explanatory factor be the widely accepted use of masks and measures (already before the current pandemics)? On the other hand, is it a result of social responsibility and respect toward each other's health and safety, which could produce a herd immunity at least temporarily together with the higher vaccination rate? - In Japan, there have also been hypotheses also presented about the virus being degenerated. However, whatever the case is, we have to remember that the situation is not over. New variants are emerging, and the risk of antibiotic-resistant bacteria spreading as an epidemics. Moreover, Japan has based its Covid-19 strategy around avoiding clusters, closed spaces and crowded conditions. This approach is seemingly also productive in confining the epidemics. In any case, it is essential to pay attention to the relevance of the infective dose in the contagion prevention strategies.
As Winter tightens its hold on the Nordic cities and their surroundings, the cold horizon is dimming with the so-called "Kaamos" period. The famous Näsinneula observation tower is emerging by the Tampere lakeside in Southern Finland. There the slow-moving waters expect their icy covers. - Beneath the water surface, there also lies an opportunity, which could be showing the way to more climate-friendly industries of tomorrow.
On the bottom of Lake Näsijärvi, just beside the Hiedanranta area of the projected quality suburb for 25000 dwellers, vast deposits of up to century-old cellulosic sediment awaits to be cleaned away. However, this organic material is proven to confer an opportunity as industrial raw material. This industrial side stream of the past times could provide a clean starting material for producing organic chemicals and biohydrogen and methane. The Finnish and Swedish consortium has tested this approach.
Tampere has been the cradle of Finnish industrialization, with textile, metal, wood, food and other industries finding their grounds there. In addition, we should not forget the city's central role as the innovating hub of mobile phones and other IT industries. As an echo of this past activity, the most modern ice-hockey and cultural scene for 15000 people was opened a week ago to cover the big rail yard in the Tampere city centre. Next May, it will host the final and other WM 2022 Ice-Hockey world championships.
At the same time, another "landmark" besides the 168m high Näsinneula and the new indoor stadium could be established. In the bay beside the Hiedanranta area, we could use millions of tons of the said side stream as starting raw materials for a 100-% climate-friendly biorefinery complex. This installation could also be the most modern one globally, introducing the combined technology of post-industrial processing of waste sediments and converting them into a business platform.
In the English language, there are perhaps one million words. A widely used pair of concepts is "information" and "knowledge". These expressions are interrelated to some extent only. Knowledge gives us the opportunity for using all available information in an advisable way. Shear gathering of information could lead to "mental overweight". Therefore, the efforts in Tampere should be focused on midwifing technologies on the threshold of sustainable prospects.
This could nurture the Fennoscandian principles and traditions of living in close accordance with Nature. Furthermore, the residual fraction of the biorefinery complex could be utilized profitably as upgraded organic fertilizers. Besides, the main products of the chemical process, lactate and mannitol, are food-grade ingredients and widely-used medical excipients. The novel book edited by the author "Food Microbiology - Challenges of the Food Production and Deliveries During and After the Pandemics" is published this month by Walter de Gruyter GmbH, the oldest publishing house in Germany. Among other issues of future food, chemical and energy production, the tested Hiedanranta biorefinery concept is presented in the book.
The soil improvement which could be obtained from this Tampere biorefinery could provide the recovery potential for 50 square kilometres of spoiled agricultural land in the form of prime topsoil if distributed as a 10cm thick layer. This kind of substrate could be elementary in the production of safe city food, too.