Environment

Oxygen bar sells fresh air in pollution-hit New Delhi

With India’s capital engulfed in choking pollution, someone has sniffed an opportunity.

A bar offering fresh puffs of oxygen is proving popular among middle-aged and elderly residents of New Delhi. It was introduced in June but has proven a hit in recent weeks. The bar offers a 15-minute session to inhale a cocktail of oxygen in different flavours, for 500 rupees (€6.32).

Screen Shot 2019 11 17 at 2 57 29 PM

Environment

Pollution – Oil Spill, Brazil

Brazil says a Greek ship carrying Venezuelan oil has caused an oil spill that blackened tropical beaches along 2,500 km of its coasts over the last two months. Oil slicks have been appearing for three months off the coast of northeast Brazil and fouling beaches along a 2 500km area of Brazil’s most celebrated shoreline. Crews and volunteers have cleaned up tons of oil on the beaches.

Officials say it not yet possible to quantify the environmental and economic damage from the oil slicks. The government on Friday named a Greek-flagged tanker as the prime suspect behind the oil slicks. The ship Bouboulina took on oil in Venezuela and was headed for Singapore.

Environment

Pollution – Plastic or Cans

Producers of bottled water are scrambling to find practical ways to switch from the single-use plastics that are polluting the planet to recyclable aluminum cans.

The biggest challenge is that creating each can means twice as much carbon is released into the atmosphere than from the manufacture of one plastic bottle. Cans are also more expensive to make.

Marketing experts say this is somewhat offset because less power is needed to chill water in cans.

Wild Earth

Despite humankind wielding an overwhelming influence on the planet, scientists say that half of Earth’s land surface not covered in ice still remains relatively wild, albeit broken into small, isolated tracts.

The summary of a National Geographic Society global survey conducted in 2017 and 2018 concludes that even with the damage to the environment caused by human activities, there is still an opportunity to protect what wild places are left.

The wildest remaining regions are the remote boreal forests of northern Canada and Russia, the Central Asia highlands, the Central and South American rainforests and the deserts of North Africa and Australia.

Environment

Nuclear Waste Flush

Japan’s power company is running out of storage for the radioactive water held in tanks at the crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant and will have to start dumping it into the Pacific.

Since the 2011 meltdowns, brought on by an offshore temblor and subsequent tsunami, the Tokyo Electric Power Company has collected more than 1 million tons of contaminated water from the cooling pipes that keep the remaining reactors from melting.

“The only option will be to drain it into the sea and dilute it,” Environment Minister Yoshiaki Harada told a news conference in Tokyo.

Nature – Images

Interesting Images

From a distance, the beach scene at Alabama’s Bon Secour National Wildlife Refuge looked appealing: blue sky, soft sand and a Kemp’s ridley sea turtle. But as one approaches closer one can see the fatal noose around the turtle’s neck attached to the washed-up beach chair.

Screen Shot 2019 09 10 at 1 23 12 PM

Environment

Plastic Pollution

The plastic that humans unwittingly ingest has now been detected in stool samples from people in diverse locations around the world.

Writing in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, lead researcher Philipp Schwabl of the Medical University of Vienna says that none of the stool samples they examined was free of microplastics.

The test subjects showed signs of possible plastic exposure from food wrappers and bottles. Most had also consumed ocean-going fish, which are known to eat plastic.

Antibiotic Pollution

As much as 80 percent of the antibiotics entering the River Thames in human waste must be stopped to avoid the development and spread of antibiotic-resistant superbugs, a new study says.

Researchers from Britain’s Center for Ecology & Hydrology warns that rivers are now reservoirs for the superbugs, which can spread quickly to people in water, soil, air, food and animals.

The study results came after England’s chief medical officer warned that microbes resistant to antibiotics could pose a more immediate risk to humans than climate change, with their potential to kill at least 10 million people a year worldwide.

Environment

Noxious Cloud of Carbon Monoxide Pollution Spills Out of the Burning Amazon

NASA has detected a gargantuan cloud of noxious carbon monoxide (CO) rising from the Amazon blaze into the atmosphere.

The plume first appears as a greenish blob over Brazil before rapidly spreading out past the eastern and western coasts of South America, gradually darkening from green to yellow to red. This color shift signifies an increase in CO concentration in the atmosphere from about 100 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) to 160 ppbv in less than two weeks.

Environment

Smoke from Burning Amazon Turns São Paulo Afternoon into Midnight

There’s so much smoke from wildfires in the Amazon rainforest that São Paulo plunged into darkness on Monday afternoon (Aug. 19), with day turning into night. The atmosphere was a reminder that forest fires in the Amazon have surged 82% this year compared with the same period last year (from January to August).

That smoke, combined with clouds and a cold front (it’s winter in the Southern Hemisphere), led to the midnight-like darkness in São Paulo. The fires are largely burning in northern Brazil and have prompted the Brazilian state of Amazonas to declare a state of emergency.

AEGKmzmDC8vCuqHWdChvUb

Environment

Plastic Pollution goes Airborne

Tiny bits of microplastics have been discovered in recent months in rainwater and snowfall from Colorado to the Arctic.

They join similar plastic pollution that has shown up in groundwater, rivers and lakes, and at the deepest depths of the sea.

Scientists from the Northwest Passage Project, taking ice core samples this summer in Arctic Canada, say they also found visible plastic beads and filaments of various shapes and sizes in the ice.

Earlier studies have found that plastic has fallen from the sky in Europe’s Pyrenees Mountains, a region near Hong Kong, the Iranian capital of Tehran and Paris.

EWCOLOR

Wildlife

Plastic instead of Coral

A team of divers cleaning up the waters off Greece’s Andros Island said they found a “gulf full of plastic coral.”

Waving on the ocean floor like a forest of kelp, the plastic debris probably wound up there eight years ago when a nearby makeshift landfill collapsed into the sea.

It was “like the paradise of the Caribbean Sea, where you find coral reefs everywhere of every color. It was the exact same thing, but instead of coral, it was bags,” said diver Arabella Ross with the group Aegean Rebreath.

EWCOLOR

Wildlife

Coral Reefs Suffering – Florida, USA

Climate change is killing the world’s coral reefs. But it’s not the only factor turning them into white, dead husks. According to a new study, all the chemicals humans are dumping into the ocean are making it easier for the hotter weather to do its deadly work.

Published in the journal Marine Biology, a paper based on 30 years of data concluded that nutrient pollution, stemming from fertilizer and improperly treated sewage, is responsible for coral death in Florida. “Our results provide compelling evidence that nitrogen loading from the Florida Keys and greater Everglades ecosystem caused by humans, rather than warming temperatures, is the primary driver of coral reef degradation.”

When the symbiotic relationship between coral and algae becomes stressed—due to temperature fluctuations or contamination—algae will leave the coral’s tissue, taking with it a major food source.

Once abandoned, coral turns white or very pale, and becomes more susceptible to disease.

Coral bleaching is not an immediate death sentence, though: A healthy coral can survive a bleaching event if water temperatures return to normal quickly. Many of the marine invertebrates do, however, lose their battle with bleaching.

Environment

“Plasticrust”

EWCOLOR

Researchers say they have found a strange new combination of rock and plastic forming on Portugal’s Atlantic island of Madeira.

Researcher Ignacio Gestoso says the new hybrid geology was first observed on the island’s volcanic shore in 2016, the apparent result of waterborne plastic pollution being slammed into rocks by wave action.

The new “plasticrust” looks like melted plastic encrusted on the rocks, according to Gestoso and colleagues at the island’s Marine and Environmental Research Center. They say the plastic is mainly polyethylene, a mixture of polymers and ethylene used in single-use packaging, bottles and food containers.

Heatwave in Europe

Europe’s record-breaking heatwave is forecast to intensify further on Thursday with authorities on high alert as temperatures threaten to exceed 40 degrees Celsius in some parts of the continent.

The stifling heat prompted traffic restrictions in France, sparked forest fires in Spain, and fanned debate in Germany over public nudity as sweltering residents stripped down.

Meteorologists blame a blast of hot air from northern Africa for the heat this week, which has already set new records in Europe for June. According to reports, the high temperatures have already claimed the lives of three people.

Exceptional for arriving so early in summer, the heatwave will on Thursday and Friday likely send mercury above 40C in France, Spain and Greece.

Paris Bans 60% of Cars Due To Heatwave and Pollution Levels

Paris imposed a ban on older and less efficient cars on Wednesday and is due to stay in place within the A86 second ring-road – which encompasses Paris and 79 towns around it – as long as the hot weather lasts, the city council said.

Data firm AAA Data said that nearly five million vehicles registered in the Ile-de-France area around Paris were covered, about 60 percent of total, a record number to be restricted. The city was not immediately available to comment on those estimates.

Traffic was lighter in Paris, but not significantly so. Several drivers said they were ignoring the restrictions as the fines for breaking them – just 68 euros ($77) for cars and 135 euros for vans – were so low.

French authorities also stepped up restrictions on water use on Thursday as swathes of western Europe remained in the grip of an intense heatwave.

Paris’ driving ban was imposed under the new “Crit’Air” colored stickers system, which classifies cars by age and pollution levels.

Only electric or hydrogen vehicles, petrol cars registered after Jan. 2006 and diesel cars registered from Jan. 2011 – corresponding to Crit’Air levels 1 and 2 out of 5 – were allowed on the roads.

Wildlife

Sewage Spill Wipes out Thousands of Fish – Texas, USA

One-hundred thousand gallons of sewage spilled into a Williamson County’s Bushy Creek, wiping out several thousand fish from the ecosystem. The sewage killed everything in the water, according to local reports. Texas Parks and Wildlife said it was Monday’s storms that knocked out power at the wastewater treatment plant. Now several thousand game and non-game fish have been wiped out from Brushy Creek.