Our oceans: Each and every day, 250 000 sharks are killed – mainly for making shark fin soup in the Far East.
Only 2% of the world’s oceans is protected by legislation (Rapport Weekliks, 26 July 2015).
During the 24 days before Sylvester, the runaway Karoo lion, was eventually caught in the Nuweveld mountain range, he had killed 19 sheep, one donkey and a kudu. Although the lion had caused great consternation, there were considerably fewer livestock thieves in the area (Landbouweekblad, 10 July 2015).
Korea has the world’s most flowering cherry trees, also known as beotkkot namu. The trees don’t bear any fruit, and were planted purely for their annual, rather short-lived splendour of colour (Vrouekeur, 4 April 2014).
Citrus represents about 50% of all perishable South African export products (Landbouweekblad, 10 July 2015).
According to experts, obesity will soon surpass HIV as South Africa’s biggest health problem, and it will eventually cause the collapse of the country’s rather shaky health system. During the past nine years, government has spent more R23 milliard on treating and preventing life style related diseases associated with obesity. About 7 million people suffer from hypertension, which increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks, while 3,5 million people suffer from diabetes. Obesity is linked to half of all cases of diabetes and hypertension, and statistics show that specific types of cancer can also be associated with obesity. In addition, this is becoming a major problem among young people - 5% of all boys and 25% of all girls in South Africa are overweight or obese. According to prof Andre Kengne, director of the research unit of the Medical Research Council (MRC), indications are that non-infectious diseases will surpass infectious diseases as the main cause of death in developing countries such as South Africa, in the coming decades (Rapport, 12 July 2015).
Every year, more than a 1 000 South African mine workers are diagnosed with silicosis. This disease is caused by breathing in silica dust, thereby increasing mine workers’ vulnerability for contacting tuberculosis. In 2014, 1 063 cases of silicosis were reported by South African mines (Sake-Rapport, 28 June 2015).
The number of discouraged job seekers (people who want to work, but who have stopped looking for a job) increased with 37 000 to 2,4 million during the second quarter of 2015 (Rapport, 2 August 2015).
Fascinating fungi: More than a 100 000 different species of fungi have been identified worldwide. These include mushrooms, toadstools, mildew, ferment and mould. About 20% of people suffer from fungi infections, especially under their toe nails. A normal person’s skin is covered by fungi, which can be found on all parts of the skin. Most of these fungi don’t pose any threat at all, while some are necessary and valuable, and others can cause damage. Scientists of the National Research Institute for Human Genomes in Bethesda, Maryland, have found that about 80 different fungi species can be found on human heels, while about 60 different fungi species can be found under toe nails and 40 between the toes. Only about 10 fungi species can be found on a human’s head (Huisgenoot, 4 September 2014).