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Showing posts with the label pollution

As South Africa clings to coal, a struggle for the right to breathe

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YaleEnvironmnt360 A small coal Mine, Highveld, South Africa.  A Sierra Club photo. Close ties between the ruling elite and the coal industry have helped perpetuate South Africa’s dependence on the dirtiest fossil fuel for electricity. But now residents of the nation’s most coal-intensive region are suing to force the government to clean up choking air pollution. Story here.

The role we humans play in the continuing decline of Earth's biosphere knows no boundaries. Sadly - an essential part of human life - food production - remains part of the problem.

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NASA   A thick blanket of smoke again darkens skies over northern India. Every year, farmers light large numbers of small fires between September and December—after the monsoon season—to burn off rice stalks and straw leftover after harvest, a practice known as stubble or paddy burning. Details here. By Larry Powell Smoke from burning stubble hovers over a small town in southwestern Manitoba, CA. Nov. 2020. A PinP photo. Canada is no stranger to the same practise. While "stubble-burning" in this country did not approach that of India's (at least not this year), numerous such fires were still common again this fall over the eastern prairies (See above) and in past years (below). Stubble-burning in Manitoba - circa 2005. Photos by PinP. Wildfire smoke (see brown) over the Canadian prairies last year. A NASA photo. Smoke from several large wildfires in Canada (now proven to be more severe, frequent and prolonged thanks to manmade climate change) was so thick and widespread

Pollution and pandemics: A dangerous mix. Research finds that as one goes, so goes the other -- to a point.

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ScienceDaily A highway project in Alberta. A PinP photo. Are we setting ourselves up for the spread of a pandemic without even knowing it? Story here.

The Government of Manitoba robs its rural citizens of their local autonomy to serve its political friends and big business. (Opinion)

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        by Larry Powell  The Premier of Manitoba, Brian Pallister. A Gov't. photo. The lengths to which the Pallister government is going to enable the unfettered exploitation of Manitoba's resources and massive expansion of its hog industry, should now be clear for all to see. For the past few years, it’s been rolling out, at significant taxpayer expense, the truly draconian measures it’s now taking, to make this happen.  While the writing has been on the wall, only now are the worst fears being realized. They expose this government’ naked contempt for the democratic rights of rural Manitobans who have the audacity to point out that these goals are misguided - that the emperor has no clothes. Late last year, the Municipality of Rosser, near Winnipeg, rejected a bid for a gravel mine (euphemistically called a limestone aggregate quarry). The politically well-connected owner of the construction company proposing the mine (who made a substantial contribution to the Conservative P

Could a million freshwater turtles help clean up some of Australia's polluted rivers? A team of scientists believes, they could!

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by Larry Powell The freshwater turtle, Emydura macquarii. Credit: Claudia Santori. For well over a century,  invasive freshwater fish from Europe - carp (originally from China) - have been released, either deliberately or accidentally from fish farms, into Australian waterways. The fish, now widely regarded as pests, are thriving.  Their habitat includes rivers flowing through the Murray-Darling Basin of New South Wales. Those vast waterways support, through irrigation and other means, about 40% of agricultural production for the entire country - not to mention vital aquatic eco-systems and drinking water for about three million people.  Baby Emydura macquarii. Credit: Tom Burd. By contrast, the clock is ticking for Australia's native freshwater turtles. The new study says the most common species has declined by up to 91 percent in the past 40 years. It blames urbanization, which damages their habitat and makes the turtles more vulnerable to mass die-offs from disease. The

There is at least 10 times more plastic in the Atlantic than previously thought

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Science News  "Seal trapped in plastic pollution"   by  tedxgp2   Scientists measured 12-21 million tons of three of the most common types of plastic in the top 200 meters of the Atlantic. By assuming the concentration of plastic in the whole Atlantic is the same as that measured at 200 meters deep, the scientists estimated there is around 200 million tons of three of the most common types of plastic alone. Compare this to the previously estimated figure of 17 million.  Details here.

Agriculture replaces fossil fuels as largest human source of sulfur to the environment

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PHYS ORG A PinP photo. Historically, coal-fired power plants were the largest source of reactive sulfur, a component of acid rain, to the biosphere. A new study shows that fertilizer and pesticide applications to croplands are now the most important source of sulfur to the environment. Details here.

Is Manitoba's Brokenhead River about to become a dumping ground for an Alberta-based sand-mining company?

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by Don Sullivan Kayakers on the Brokenhead River. A Wikimedia photo. The Brokenhead River begins in the wetlands of Sandilands Provincial Forest, located in Southeastern Manitoba. It ultimately drains 200 kilometres later into Lake Winnipeg. Most of the river is navigable by canoe or kayak. This meandering river is now under threat. It might very well become a toxic dumping ground for CanWhite Sands Corp (CWS) of Alberta. Last month, CWS  filed a proposal under Manitoba's Environment Act, for approval to construct a silica sand processing facility near Vivian in Southeastern Manitoba. The closing date for commenting on this proposal is August 25th, 2020.  If you have concerns, you have between now and then to express them, here.  Once the processing facility receives government approval, CWS intends to submit a second application. This would be for both the mine, where the sand will be obtained and for the methods the company will use to extract it. The splitting of a

Brazilian meat giant trucked cattle from deforested Amazon ranch

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The Bureau of Investigative Journalism An Adobe photo. This article exposes the brazen culpability of the global beef industry for the fires ravaging the Amazon each year. Please open this "must-read' story here!

World's biggest meat firm, JBS, caught red-handed. (Video)

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The Bureau of Investigative Journalism

Massive Canadian mines pose transboundary risks

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Science Magazine In 2019, Canada approved an extension of the deadline to start one of the world’s largest copper and gold mines in the headwaters of the transboundary Unuk River ( 1 ). The plan for the Kerr-Sulphurets -Mitchell (KSM) mine is to dig one of the largest human-made holes on earth, erect one of the highest dams in North America, and operate water treatment for 200 years after the mine closes ( 2 ). Mines such as KSM pose long-term risks to downstream water quality, fish, and people ( 3 ). Given that mine contamination is not constrained by political boundaries, U.S., Canadian, and Indigenous governments must urgently engage in collaborative evaluation and regulation of mines in internationally shared rivers. Shortfalls in mine assessments and permitting policies should be addressed. Mine assessments underestimate risk at high environmental cost. Contributing factors include the ecological complexity of rivers, policy shortcomings in weighing environmental risk

Urgent changes needed to reduce environmental costs of ‘fast fashion’

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Nature Reviews Earth & Environment . Stefan Müller (climate stuff) from Germany Fundamental changes to the fashion business model, including an urgent transition away from ‘fast fashion’, are needed to improve the long-term sustainability of the fashion supply chain, argue Kirsi Niinimäki and colleagues in a Review published in  Nature Reviews Earth & Environment . The fashion industry is the second largest industrial polluter after aviation, and accounts for up to 10% of global pollution. However, the industry continues to grow, despite rising awareness of the environmental impacts, in part owing to the rise of fast fashion, which relies on cheap manufacturing, frequent consumption, and short-lived garment use. The authors identify the environmental impacts of the fashion supply chain, from production to consumption, focusing on water use, chemical pollution, CO 2  emissions and textile waste. For example, the industry produces over 92 million tonnes

NASA images show fall in China pollution over virus shutdown

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PHYS.ORG Nitrous oxide levels over China. Jan. 1st, 2020 (l.). Feb. 25th, 2020. Nasa images. NASA satellite images show a dramatic fall in pollution over China that is "partly related" to the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the space agency said. Story here.

Full impact of mysterious Brazil oil spill remains unknown

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BirdLife International Last summer, an oil spill of unknown origin hit Brazil’s northeast coast – just as migrating shorebirds arrived in the area. Our Partner SAVE Brasil has been campaigning for action and striving to measure the impact on birds - but more support is urgently needed.  More here.

Depression and suicide linked to air pollution in new global study

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The Guardian Cutting toxic air might prevent millions of people getting depression, research suggests. Story here. Smoke from wildfires in Alberta, two provinces away, blankets Manitoba - 2018. A PinP photo. Here's a related story of mine that you might enjoy.  " Re-thinking extinctions " New research suggests that pollution may be playing a bigger and more ominous role in pushing many of Canada's plants and animals to the brink than earlier thought.   Larry.

Nitrogen crisis threatens Dutch environment—and economy

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Science Magazine Public domain - by  Sachiho   They're protesting a Dutch high court decision in May that suspended construction projects that pollute the atmosphere with nitrogen compounds and harm nature reserves. The freeze has stalled the expansion of dairy, pig, and poultry farms—major sources of nitrogen in the form of ammonia from animal waste. Also blocked are plans for new homes, roads, and airport runways, because construction machinery emits nitrogen oxides. All told, the shutdown puts some €14 billion worth of projects in jeopardy, according to ABN AMRO Bank. “It has really paralyzed the country,” says a political scientist  Details here.

Marine life, fisheries increasingly threatened as the ocean loses oxygen – IUCN report

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International Union for the Conservation of Nature The Daggernose shark, one of several larger species considered especially vulnerable. A NOAA rendering. The loss of oxygen from the world’s ocean is increasingly threatening fish species and disrupting ecosystems, a   new IUCN report   warns. Ocean oxygen loss, driven by climate change and nutrient pollution, is a growing menace to fisheries and species such as tuna, marlin and sharks, according to the report released today at the UN Climate Change conference in Madrid.

Re-thinking extinction

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New research  suggests that pollution may be playing a bigger and more ominous role in pushing many of Canada's plants and animals to the brink than earlier thought. by Larry Powell One of the species at risk, the small white lady's slipper,  Cypripedium candidum.  Photo by Mason Brock. Habitat loss, climate change and invasive species are often referred to as significant players in Earth's calamitous descent into a sixth Great Extinction. While those factors obviously play a part, this new study better recognizes the magnitude of the role played by yet another culprit in the piece - pollution. The authors of the research label contamination of our air, soil and water as a "pervasive, often invisible threat to biodiversity in Canada."  And, up until now, the threat it poses, especially to vascular plants (ones that flower, bear fruit and seed), they suggest, has been underestimated by experts in the field. These include ones who serve on Ottawa

Wexit and climate pollution: a tale of two Canadas

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National Observer This PinP photo was taken along a highway construction project in SK. There are already two Canadas when it comes to climate pollution, and they've been heading in opposite directions for years. A successful "Wexit" would split them into two separate countries: One would become the world's most climate polluting country per person, with an economy twice as dirty as China's. Story here.