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ENVIRONMENT & TRAVEL January 2006
On Fancy Prison Hideaways, the Passing Away of the London Routemaster, and the Digital Dump Time-Bomb.
by Pauline LAVAGNE d'ORTIGUE


Fancy a Stay in Prison?
If you fancy a luxurious holiday in Oxford, you can choose between staying in an old parsonage, an old bank and now an old prison : The Malmaison Oxford which operated as a detention centre as late as 1997, has recently reopened its doors to a new kind of residents. Beautifully renovated, a standard Malmaison en suite room for two is now furbished out of the rearrangement of three former cells which originally housed three prisoners each. The launch price is £110 per night, room only.
The visitors' room has been transformed into a vast living room with a pool table, comfortable armchairs and designer furniture. The most exclusive rooms are in the wing that used to contain the governor's residence. A sample cell was kept untouched to show tourists the conditions previous inmates endured.
Source : « Go Directly to a British Jail, Do Not Pass, » The Times 17 December 2005.



A Farewell to the Original London Double-Deckers
Chassis-less, fuel and space efficient, the red Routemaster busses were designed in London by Londoners for London more than half a century ago by a team of London Transport engineers. The first prototype was released in 1954 and production models were put in service on the streets of London in 1959. Originally their reign was supposed to last a little less than 20 years. In early December 2005, they were eventually made redundant, except on a handful of "heritage" routes.
Source : « Final Terminus for London's Classic Bus, » The Guardian 9 December 2005.



Nigerian Digital Dumps: an Environmental Time-Bomb
According to the United Nations Environment Program, 20 million to 50 million tonnes of electronics are discarded each year, less than 10 % of which gets recycled properly. Lagos, Nigeria is one of the favourite destinations for the world's obsolete computers, televisions and other electronic components. Most of the junked equipment is unusable and ends up in open dumps where it is broken up and burned, releasing a vast array of toxic materials. A good deal of these used electronics come from the US which, unlike the European Union and Japan, has no government-mandated system for recycling them and no regulations to prevent their export to environmentally unsound recycling premises abroad.

Source : « Digital Dumps' Heap Hazards at Foreign Sites, » The Washington Post
 12 December 2005.

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