News, Pollution

Ocean sediments are a cemetery for plastic

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A few days ago we were telling you about a study which quantified the amount of plastic in the Earth’s waters – 5.25 trillion pieces which weigh an estimated 269,000 tonnes. But another study found that tens of thousands of plastic (or even more) are actually lying on the bottom of the ocean floor, trapped in mud and sand. Previous studies…

Feature Post, Pollution

Geamana – The Romanian Village Flooded by a Toxic Lake

Image via RomanulMarius.

Geamana is an abandoned village in Romania. It was a very nice and happy village up until 1978, when the Communist regime forced residents to leave their homes and make way for the toxic waste from a nearby mining pit. Everything started in 1977, when dictator Nicolae Ceausescu decided to exploit a huge copper deposit from the underground. In only…

News, Pollution, World Problems

Full extent of plastic in world’s oceans quantified: over 5 trillions of pieces of plastic

There are at least trillions of pieces of plastic in our ocean. Image via NOAA.

We all know that our oceans are polluted, and one of the biggest problems is plastic pollution. But few people really realize just how much plastic is in the waters – a new study estimates that there are at least 5.25 trillion pieces which weigh an estimated 269,000 tonnes. The real number however may be even much larger than that. Plastic…

News, Pollution, Science

Not all fracking is the same – some sites emit a hundred times more than others

The KIT measurement instrument on board of a minivan directly measures atmospheric emissions on site with a high temporal resolution.
Credit: Photo: F. Geiger/KIT.

Not all boreholes are the same – scientists using mobile equipment measured how many gaseous compounds are emitted by the extraction of oil and natural gas in the US. This is the first time an analysis like this has been conducted at a high temporal resolution using a vapor capture system, and the results show that some boreholes have 100 times more…

News, Pollution

Electron Beams might reduce NOx (smog) emissions in coal plants and cut costs

coal plant flue gas

With the EPA setting stricter guidelines for NOx emissions fired by coal plants, the industry is now in a position where it needs new, advanced technologies that clean flue gases. Such a solution might came from the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), which recently partnered with a leading coal corporation to implement its electron beam technology. The system works by zapping…

Environmental Issues, Green Living, News, Pollution

World’s largest polluters, China and US, agree to cut emissions in historic agreement

china-pollution

President Obama and Chinese leader  Xi Jinping agreed to sign a deal that will see the US nearly double its efforts to cut CO2 emissions by 2025 and China cap its CO2 emissions for the very first time. This historic agreement between the two largest polluters in the world, which together amount to 45% of all greenhouse gases released in…

Climate, News, Pollution

Air pollution much more dangerous than climate change for global agriculture

Relative wheat yield changes, India, 1980-2010. Burney & Ramanathan

Scientists have long known that climate change has a major negative impact on global agriculture, potentially even threatening global food security. But a new research shows that air pollution is actually much more threatening. Anthropogenic climate change caused 3.5% decrease in potential wheat yield on a country level in India; air pollution caused more than 32% decrease in potential yield. Ozone…

News, Pollution

Texas chief toxicologist: No need for smog regulations, just stay indoor

Downtown Houston in October, 2008. The city has severe smog issues and new research suggests that pollution from fracking contributes significantly to the problem.
CREDIT: AP/DAVID J. PHILLIP

Dr. Michael Honeycutt, the top toxicologist in the state of Texas argued that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) shouldn’t tighten smog rules because there would be little to no health benefit. “Ozone is an outdoor air pollutant because systems such as air conditioning remove it from indoor air,” he argues on a blog post on the TCEQ website. “Since most…

News, Pollution, Renewable Energy

Natural gas is not a clean energy bridge, further studies find

Natural gas will not dawn a cleaner day in terms of energy. Image via Ohio Citizen.

A trio of newly published studies showed once again that natural gas is not a clean energy bridge – the studies highlighting the various problems associated with natural gas. Firstly, it was shown that emissions databases underestimate the methane released from fossil-fuel extraction in the U.S. Southwest. “A global gas boom is not a replacement for energy and climate policies,” write…

Environment, Pollution

Sweden recycles 99 percent of its garbage. Here’s how they do it

Waste-Management-Sweden-recycling-program-300x290

Recycling is still a field where we have much work to do; while you hear talks about it everywhere, it’s still not done at a satisfying scale in most parts of the world. But Sweden is not part of that group. Virtually all of Swedish garbage is recycled; as a matter of fact, they are so good at making garbage…