News, Pollution, World Problems

Indian lives cut short by three years from pollutoin

India-Air-Pollution

India is among the most polluted country in the world, a direct consequence of its growth-orientated policy. Despite economic growth, the health of Indians is suffering significantly. According to researchers at University of Chicago, Harvard and Yale, pollution is directly responsible for shortening the lives of 660 million Indians who live in sensitive areas by three years on average. In total 2.1 billion life-years

Pollution

Scientists find direct evidence that CO2 heats the Earth’s crust

CO2 pollution warms the Earth's crust - directly. Image via Pixabay.

When we’re talking about CO2 emissions and global warming, we generally mean atmospheric CO2 – where the gas is spewed and generates the greenhouse effect, warming our atmosphere and subsequently, our planet. But a new study conducted by US researchers found that CO2 actually warms the Earth’s crust directly; the more CO2 we emit, the hotter our planet will get.

Climate, News, Pollution, World Problems

Short-lived chemicals that burn a hole in the ozone layer are on the rise

Nasa graphic showing the extent of the ozone hole over Antarctica Public domain

After scientists discovered a huge hole in the ozone layer above the Antarctic, an emergency UN panel banned the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in 1987. These build up in the atmosphere, react with the triple oxygen molecule and break it down. Since then, ozone has thankfully replenished, thought it might take decades before it reverts to pre-1980 levels. Progress is slow because there are still some plants through out the world who illegally use CFCs (the stuff that used to go into refrigerants or deodorants), but also because there are other ozone-depleting chemicals out there – some recognized, others new and extremely dangerous. One class of chemicals that has been allowed in the industry since the Montreal Protocol, despite the danger it posses to ozone, is made up of so-called ‘very short-lived substances’ (VSLS) which breakup in under six months. A new study, however, found that these have dramatically increased over the past couple of years and despite their short reaction times, these could prove to be extremely dangerous.

News, Pollution

Map of Ocean Acidification Paints Dire Picture

A global look at ocean pH reveals that the water is more alkaline (basic) in the open ocean than in many coastal regions. The more alkaline the water is, the better poised it is to resist ocean acidification.
Credit: Ifremer/ESA/CNES

Pollution talks are often about the atmopshere, but we tend to foger that the most part of the pollution goes into the oceans. About a quarter of the carbon dioxide emitted by humans ends up in the seas, which causes them to become more acidic, significantly altering the oceanic environment on which corals, fish, and ultimately, we depend on.

Animals, News, Pollution

Mercury Level in Tuna Reaching Alarming Levels

It took years before people understood how airborne mercury from burning coal at power plants could accumulate in fish.  Jim Richmond/Flickr, CC BY-SA

The Mercury level in tuna has been a subject of debate for decades now. Paul Drevnick, Assistant Research Scientist at University of Michigan and his team analyzed data from over the past 50 years and found that mercury levels in Pacific yellowfin tuna, often marketed as ahi tuna, is increasing at 3.8% per year. If 3.8% per year doesn’t seem like much, that translates into a doubling at every 20 years. So in 50 years, mercury levels have increased 6 times.

News, Pollution

Map of the United States’ quietest and noisiest places

noise map USA

Speaking at the 2015 AAAS Annual Meeting, US researchers showed a coloured map of the quietest regions in the United States, based on  1.5 million hours of acoustical monitoring from places as remote as Dinosaur National Monument in Utah and as urban as New York City. Apparently, the eastern half of the country is much more loud than the western half. The

News, Pollution

Humans tossed 8 million metric tons of plastic into the ocean in 2010

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Our oceans are clogged with plastic – that’s already a well known fact by now. A major study in 2014 concluded that there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans, while another one suggests that the ocean’s bottom might also be a cemetery for garbage. To make things even worse, there’s a garbage island twice as big

Health & Medicine, News, Pollution

Pollution Damages Short Term Memory, IQ and Brain Metabolism

Smog in Mexico City. Image via Geography Blog (EU)

City smog significantly lowers children’s IQ, while also raising the risk for Alzheimers disease. A new study has found that children living in highly polluted cities are at an increased risk for detrimental effects to the brain, including short-term memory loss.

Geology, News, Pollution

400 Year Old Pollution Found in South America

A section of ice core that researchers at The Ohio State University extracted from the Quelccaya Ice Cap in Peru in 2003. Though the ice appears pristine, it contains evidence of human-produced air pollution from as early as the 16th Century. Photo by Paolo Gabrielli, courtesy of The Ohio State University.

We tend to think of pollution as a modern thing; after all, industrial pollution should be, well… industrial, right? Well, not quite: a group of researchers found 400 year old traces of pollution in the Peruvian Andes. The pollution was caused when the conquistadors forced the Inca to mine silver from “mountaintop mines”. Ancient Pollution In the 16th century, Spain

Feature Post, Great Pics, Pollution

16 Pictures that Put China’s Pollution into Perspective

Image via Texas A&M.

We often hear about China being polluted, about the hard to breahe are, the smog, the soot, the carbage flowing on the rivers, but these pictures show just how bad the situation really is. Keep in mind though that an image is just a moment captured in time and they don’t tell the whole story.