The Great Barrier Reef has been devastated by coral bleeching, 67% of shallow water corals disappeared over a nine-month period
The Great Barrier Reef has been devastated by coral bleeching, 67% of shallow water corals disappeared over a nine-month period

The Great Barrier Reef, dim-witted parrots and Chernobyl – the supply chain week in numbers

1 December 2016

Frozen fish furor, plastic-contaminated seafood and £767m traffic jams all feature in this week's round up of procurement and supply chain stories...

400 miles

The zone of the Great Barrier Reef which has been devastated by coral bleaching, according to Australian researchers. Their map showed that more coral on the Barrier Reef had died in 2016 than in any previous survey. In the north, where the damage was worst, some 67% of shallow water corals had disappeared over a nine-month period. More encouragingly, 74% of the corals in deeper waters had survived.


The number of orange-bellied parrots left in the wild in Tasmania. Desperate members of the Difficult Bird Group in Hobart will smuggle eggs into their nests, track predators and, if necessary, hand feed their young. The species has been endangered for decades, partly because as one researcher put it, they are “morons” with poor survival instincts who let starlings stab them in their stomach and drag them out of their nests.


The number of fish, crabs and other shellfish frozen in the ice at a skating rink in the Space World amusement park in Kitakyushu in southern Japan. The company posted photos of the dead fish on Facebook with what were supposed to be humorous captions (representative example: “I am … d … d … drowning”. The rink has now been closed after protests on social media and the company has promised to give the fish a decent burial.


The percentage of clams and fish sold in markets in the US and Thailand that contained plastic, according to recent studies. Research led by Andrés Cózar, a Spanish marine biologist, suggests that the Mediterranean may be just as badly affected. His team found high concentrations of plastic in the first 1km of the sea’s coastline. “Just like there was a Bronze Age and an Iron Age we are now living through a Plastic Age,” Cózar told a symposium at Alicante University.

110,000 gallons

The amount of diesel fuel the American Samoan island of Ta’u could save every year as it switches to solar power. Covering 17m2, with a population of fewer than 1,000 people, Ta’u has a new system consisting of 5,000 Solar City solar panels and 60 Tesla Powerpack battery storage systems. The batteries can provide three full days of power without sun and fully recharge in seven hours of sunlight.


Wefood stores that now sell food that has passed its sell-by date in Copenhagen. The grocer opened its first store selling items that had expired, been mislabeled or damaged less than a year ago but the idea was so popular it has opened another in the trendy neighbourhood of Nørrebro. In Denamrk, it is legal to sell food past its expiry date as long as it is clearly labeled and healthy. The range of items available does depend on donations and on one recent afternoon, “customers were greeted by a mountain of Disney and Star Wars-branded popcorn, while the fresh fruit section had been reduced to a handful of rotten apples”.

32,000 tons

The weight of the $1.5bn arched shelter that has been slid into place to cover the disaster site at Chernobyl in the Ukraine. The new structure, which is 500ft long, 350ft high and has a span of 800ft, is designed to last a century and should prevent any more toxic material spewing from the reactor which exploded in 1986.


The annual cost of lost productivity caused by the UK’s traffic jams, according to research by Tom Tom, which analysed traffic patterns in the UK’s 25 most congested cities and towns. The financial cost of time spent sitting in traffic was highest in London, at £237m, but Belfast was the most gridlocked city, with each vehicle losing 24 working days a year.

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Multinational Force and Observers
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