This page is part of the Earth Journalism Toolkit’s glossary.
Salinisation: the process by which land or groundwater becomes salt-affected.
Sediment: soil or other particles that settle to the bottom of water bodies.
Sequestration: the removal of carbon dioxide from the Earth’s atmosphere and storage in a sink as when trees absorb CO2 in photosynthesis and store it in their tissues.
Sewage: water and raw effluent disposed through toilets, kitchens and bathrooms that originates from domestic uses of water from households, or similar uses in trade or industry.
Sewerage: a system of pipes and mechanical appliances for the collection and transportation of domestic and industrial sewages.
Sinks: processes or places that remove or store gases, solutes or solids – for example, forests are carbon sinks that result in the net removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Sludge: waste in a state between liquid and solid.
Soil structure: the way soil particles are aggregated into aggregates or “crumbs”, which is important for the passage of air and water
Solar energy: the energy of the Sun, which can be converted into other forms of energy, such as heat or electricity.
Solid industrial waste: solid waste generated from commercial, industrial or trade activities.
Solid inert waste: hard waste and dry vegetative material and which have a negligible activity or effect on the environment, such as demolition material, concrete, bricks, plastic, glass, metals and shredded tyres.
Solid waste: non-hazardous, non-prescribed solid waste materials ranging from municipal garbage to industrial waste, generally: domestic and municipal; commercial and industrial; construction and demolition; other.
Stakeholders: parties having an interest in a particular project or outcome.
Stormwater: Rainfall that accumulates in natural or artificial systems after heavy rain; surface run-off or water sent to (stormwater) drains during heavy rain.
Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA): a system of incorporating environmental considerations into policies, plans and programmes.
Surface runoff: that part of rainfall passing out of an area into the drainage system.
Suspended solids: solid particles suspended in water; used as an indicator of water quality.
Sustainability: see Sustainable development
Sustainable development: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Temperate: with moderate temperatures, weather, or climate; neither hot nor cold; mean annual temperature between 0–20 degrees C.
Transgenic plant: a plant into which genetic material has been transferred by genetic engineering.
Triple Bottom Line: a form of sustainability accounting going beyond the financial ‘bottom line’ to consider the social and environmental as well as economic consequences of an organisation’s activity; generally included with economic accounts.
Tropical: occurring in the tropics (the region on either side of the equator); hot and humid with a mean annual temperature greater than 20 degrees C.
Turbine: A machine for converting the heat energy in steam or high temperature gas into mechanical energy. In a turbine, a high velocity flow of steam or gas passes through successive rows of radial blades fastened to a central shaft.