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NEW PROJECT LAUNCHED BY UNU AIMS AT HALTING THE ENVIRONMENTAL DESTRUCTION CAUSED BY HIGH-TECH INDUSTRIES

The United Nations University (UNU) will hold a press briefing on its new project titled "the Quartz Industrial Trade System Project." The briefing will take place on Friday, 20 February 1998 from 15.00 to 16.00 hours in the main seminar room located at the Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU/IAS).

The activities involved in turning quartz into the electronic grade silicon that is used in fiber optics and microchips is called the quartz industrial trade system (QITS). This system needs to be improved as it is energy intensive and destructive to the environment. The process causes significant deforestation as vast amounts of rainforest are destroyed to make the charcoal that is used to convert quartz into silicon. Harmful chemicals are also used in the conversion process and end up getting dumped into rivers.

The press briefing will feature presentations about how the environmental impacts caused by the QITS can be reduced. Presentations will also be given on the projectís goals and the strategies that will be used to achieve them.

The University of Campinas in Brazil is collaborating with UNU/IAS as a partner on the project. Three additional organizations are also assisting: Japanís National Institute of Resources and Environment (under AISD/MITI), the University of Tsukuba and Latviaís State Institute of Wood Chemistry. The number of collaborating institutions is expected to grow as the project progresses.

The first QITS Workshop will be held from 2 to 4 March in Campinas, Brazil.

Media representatives are cordially invited to attend the briefing. English-Japanese interpretation will be provided.

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For further information, please visit the UNUís homepage at: http://archive.unu.edu. Additional information is also available by contacting the UNU Public Affairs Section at:
Tel.: (03) 5467-1243 or -1246
Fax: (03)3406-7346

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