Archive for Other forms of Pollution
e360.yale.edu 15th August 2012
Quoted from source:
‘A Brazilian judge has ordered a suspension of the controversial Belo Monte dam project, saying that local indigenous people who will be affected by the massive hydroelectric project were not sufficiently consulted during the environmental assessment process. In a ruling issued Tuesday, Judge Souza Prudente of the Federal Tribunal of Brazil’s Amazon region found that no consultations were held with local communities before Congress approved what would be the world’s third-largest dam project. The $16 billion project, which is expected to produce 11,000 megawatts of energy, would flood 260 square miles of rainforest in Brazil’s Para state and displace more than 20,000 people who depend on free-flowing rivers for their livelihoods. “The Brazilian Congress must take into account the decisions taken by the indigenous communities,” Prudente wrote. “Legislators can only give the go-ahead if the indigenous communities agree with the project.” The developer of the project, Norte Energia, will be fined $250,000 per day if construction on the project continues. The company says it will appeal the decision to a higher court.’
www.bbc.co.uk 17th April 2012
A government appointed panel has stated that hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is more commonly known, should resume in the UK. The technique, used to extract gas trapped in underground rock, was put on hold following two earthquakes felt in the area of Blackpool due to fracking operations by a company called Cuadrilla. The panel was put together by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and their report on the process now goes out for a six-week consultation period before the DECC makes any final decisions. Although similar to a report put together by Cuadrilla that admits the company was responsible for the Blackpool earthquakes, the DECC appointed panel’s report claims other earthquakes could well happen, something Cuadrilla denies. However, these earthquakes are not likely to be larger than 3 on the Richter Scale (the previous two were 2.3 and 1.5 in April and May last year respectively). A decision to re-allow fracking in the country has angered environmentalists and conservationists who believe the coalition government (David Cameron’s self-described ‘greenest government ever’) should be doing more to reduce the UK’s reliance on fossil fuels. Fracking uses a combination of water and industrial chemicals that are sprayed at high-power into underground rock formations to loosen gas reserves trapped within them. In the US, there have been reports of contamination of the local water supply as a result, which in worst case scenarios causes tap water to become flammable.
www.bbc.co.uk 6th April 2012
A Japanese shrimping vessel that was washed to sea during the disastrous tsunami of March 2011 has been sunk in 9,000 ft of water by the United States Coastguard off the coast of Alaska. The Ryou-Un Maru, which was without power or lights, was deemed a hazard to other vessels and sunk using a cannon that punctured holes in the ship’s sides. The question many people have asked is why the Ryou-Un was not salvaged. In fact, the coastguard had already contacted the Japanese government to ask them whether they were interested in salvage. The reply was negative. Then, the coastguard had agreed to hold off taking action as a Canadian fishing vessel claimed salvage rights. When the larger Japanese ship proved difficult to tow though, the US authorities stepped in. Another question worrying conservationists is the 7,500 litres of diesel fuel that were not removed prior to the sinking. According to Petty Officer David Mosley the fuel ‘should very quickly dissipate in the ocean.’ The Ryou-Un is believed to be the vanguard of a large debris field from Japan that is making its way to the west coast of North America on North Pacific currents.
www.guardian.co.uk 8th April 2012
Quoted from source:
‘Air pollution during March reached the top level of the government’s new air pollution index. For most of the month high pressure systems caused air to slowly re-circulate over the UK and near continent. Without rain to wash it out, particle air pollution gradually built up as the air slowly passed over cities and industrial areas, causing all the UK to experience particle pollution problems. London was the first to measure very high or index level 10 air pollution. Air reaching London on 15 March had been over northern England four days earlier. It drifted over the densely populated and industrial areas of the Netherlands, Belgium and northern France before returning to the UK. Combined with traffic pollution from London, fine particles reached the greatest levels measured since new instrumentation was installed in 2008. The focus of the pollution problems moved northwards later in the month. Very high air pollution was measured in Manchester, Stoke, Preston, Blackpool, Warrington and Wigan in the north-west of England and Leeds, Sheffield and Stockton in the north-east. The worst polluted air then moved into Northern Ireland and Scotland. The winds in March brought our own air pollution back to us demonstrating how our cities contribute to poor air pollution in areas over hundreds of kilometres away. Tackling local air pollution can improve the health of people who live near busy roads and decrease the impacts of each city on the wider region.’
Restrictions placed on hundreds of UK sheep farms as a result of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986 are to be lifted after the Food Standards Agency (FSA) found that the risk to eating lamb or mutton is now “very low”. The controls were originally placed on 9,800 upland farms holding more than 4 million sheep in Wales, northern Scotland, and northern Ireland after rain dumped contaminated water from the Chernobyl nuclear disaster some 1,600 miles away. Only 334 farms however, of which just 8 are outside Wales, have been recommended to have these restrictions lifted. The restrictions dictate that farmers had to call in officials to check their highland sheep for radioactive poisoning by the element caesium. In return, the farmers receive £1.30 per sheep. If the animal passes the test, it is allowed to be slaughtered, but if it fails then it is marked with dye and not allowed to be killed until retested 3 months down the line. These sheep can only be decontaminated naturally by being moved down from upland pastures, where caesium remains in soil and grass.
LMV director Ed Scott-Clarke is to join the Cayman Islands Department of the Environment and St Matthews University for an underwater cleanup taking place off the East coast of Grand Cayman. The main target of the cleanup is derelict fishing gear that continues to pose a dire threat to marine life (see pictures). ‘Ghost fishing’, as it is called, is one of the most obvious and most visible dangers of marine debris. Monofilament fishing line (line made from a single fibre of plastic) is one of the most persistent forms of plastic in the oceans. The Mote Marine Laboratory in Florida estimates that this type of fishing line may take as long as 600 years to break down. Obviously, plastics haven’t been around that long so this is just an estimate. However, monofilament does rank bottom in many studies on plastic degradation and there is an awful lot of it out there. When LMV was filming on Big Island, Hawai’i, one of the biggest forms of debris washing up on Kamilo Point (otherwise known as Trash Beach) was tangled masses of fishing nets. Other targets in the cleanup are plastic cups (which many bars and restaurants use on the island instead of glass) and aluminium cans.
www.telegraph.co.uk 2nd November 2011
The main company exploring for shale gas in the UK have admitted that small earthquakes that hit the Lancashire coast in April and May were caused by hydraulic fracturing, the process whereby water, sand and chemicals are blasted at high pressure underground to release trapped gas from rocks. The company, Cuadrilla Resources, insist the tremors were not dangerous and that ‘fracking’, as hydraulic fracturing is more commonly know, is a safe process. However, there is growing concern that this may not be true, particularly in light of stories from across the pond of fracking causing flammable tap water and people becoming ill from contaminated water. Protests are on the rise in the UK where one drilling operation in Lancashire has already been brought to a standstill and a meeting of industry investors was stormed. James Barnes, a member of Frack Off (the group responsible), said, “We hear a lot about energy shortages, and we really need to be investing in researching sustainable energy sources, rather than finding tiny pockets of non-renewable gas and destroying our planet in order to get to them.” Chris Huhne, the Energy Secretary, also warned against mass use of shale gas by saying not enough was known about it to “bet the farm on it”. Charities, including Friends of the Earth and WWF, are attempting to implement a moratorium on fracking until more evidence on its safety can be collected.
e360.yale.edu 5th October 2011
‘The European Union says crude oil extracted from Alberta’s tar sands should be ranked as a dirtier fuel source than oil tapped from conventional oil wells, a move that could effectively ban the import of the controversial oil. The European Commission endorsed a measure that would essentially rate fossil fuels based on the CO2 emited during extraction, refining, and combustion. The EU has proposed that tar sands oil be ascribed a greenhouse gas value of 107 grams per megajoule of fuel, compared with 87.5 grams for ordinary crude oil. “With this measure, we are sending a clear signal to fossil fuel suppliers,” said Connie Hedegaard, the EU’s climate change commissioner. “As fossil fuels will be a reality in the foreseeable future, it’s important to give them the right value.” Such a ratings system may eventually be applied to natural gas extracted from shale oil formations. The exploitation of Alberta’s tar sands has generated increasing protest from environmental groups. In addition to destroying large swaths of forest, the extraction and processing of the sludgy bituminous material typically requires more energy and water than conventional production. Canadian officials and petroleum industry leaders vowed to fight the measure, calling it a “stigmatization” of a fuel source found only in Alberta and Saskatchewan.’
www.lemonde.fr 8th August 2011
One year after the French government launched the ‘Plan National de Lutte Contre les Algues Vertes’ (the national plan against Green Algae), the marine flora is still causing huge problems along the country’s coastlines. Recently, a herd of wild boar have been discovered dead on the shores of Brittany. Autopsies revealed that they had gorged themselves on green algae and had died from the resulting gases released from the decomposing plants. The algae first made its appearance around 4 decades ago but it is only recently that official bodies have begun to tackle the problem. 109 sites in Brittany, northwest France, are badly affected with cleanups sometimes taking away as much as 70,000 cubed metres of algae per year. Some of this is used as fertiliser. The cause of the scourge, which chokes the life out waterways, is easily identifiable. Fertilisers from local farms run-off into water-systems saturating the water with nitrates causing algae blooms. These farms have agreed to various measures to reduce this runoff, including turning 60% of land back to grassland and not using fertilisers. As yet though, success has not been achieved.
e360.yale.edu 29th July 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A new report says that the Vietnamese military is playing a central role in a multi-billion dollar operation to smuggle illegally cleared timber from neighboring Laos. During a two-year investigation, agents from the UK-based Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA), posing as timber buyers, found that a ban on the export of raw timber from Laos is regularly flouted, with an estimated 500,000 cubic meters of logs being funneled to Vietnamese furniture factories each year. That trade is fueling Vietnam’s surging wood processing industry but poses a threat to millions of rural and indigenous people who depend upon those dwindling forests, the report says. And according to the report, Crossroads: The Illicit Timber Trade Between Laos and Vietnam, one of the biggest loggers in Laos is the Vietnamese Company of Economic Cooperation (COECCO), which is owned by the Vietnamese military. “EIA first exposed the illicit log trade between Laos and Vietnam in 2008, and our latest investigations reveal that sadly nothing has changed,” said Faith Doherty, head of EIA’s Forest Campaign. Much of the illegal timber, the EIA report says, ultimately ends up in stores in the U.S. and Europe.’
www.nationalgeographic.com 25th July 2011
Washington DC lawmakers will consider over the next few weeks a controversial plan to take down four dams in the state of California in order to save endangered salmon. Dams have been blamed by various environmental groups for the drastic decline in salmon runs over the past century, from millions of fish to just 100,000 or so. The plan is, surprisingly, supported by local farmers as well as PacifiCorp, the operating company for the four dams (the Iron Gate, Copco 2, Copco 1, and John C. Boyle dams) all situated on the Klamath River. PacifiCorp, owned by Warren Buffett, has got behind the idea as it may cost more money to modify the dams with fish passages than it would to destroy them. Other major proponents of the plan are native American tribes that rely on salmon in their diet, and have done, according to archaeologists, for the past 9,000 years. The US Fish and Wildlife Service has warned that dam removal is not a ‘silver bullet’ though. Other factors such as water quality (increasingly affected by agricultural runoff) and water warming (due to climate change) also play a role and need to be kept in check if the local Chinook Salmon population is to recover. The four dams in line to be demolished were all created for hydropower and generate enough energy to power around 70,000 homes. Other dams on the river were constructed for irrigation but they are not at risk. The unlikely partnership of PacifiCorp, the Klamath Water Users Association (representing the region’s farmers) and the tribes (the Yurok, Karuk, Klamath, and Hoopa Valley), under the Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, benefits all: less cost for the energy company, more water for the farmers, and more salmon for the tribes.
A number of dangerous chemicals that have been frozen in the Arctic ice are being released as rising temperatures cause ice-caps to melt. The chemicals are called Persistent Organic Pollutants (or Pops) and include the industrial chemicals PCBs, and the pesticides DDT, lindane, and chlordane. They have all been banned under the 2004 Stockholm Convention due to the damaging effect they have on the environment and on human health. Studies carried out by Canadian and Norwegian scientists (the former based at Alert weather station in northern Canada and the latter at Zeppelin research station at Svalbaard) have shown that despite a global reduction in Pops emissions, air concentrations of PCBs and HCBs have been on the rise since 2004 due to chemicals being released from melting Arctic ice. Pops are stored in the fatty tissues of organisms that inadvertently consume them and are passed up the food chain because of this. Larger organisms at the top of the food chain, such as dolphins, seals, and orcas, therefore receive dangerously high concentrations of the chemicals that have profound effects on their health. In humans, Pops are related to cancers and physical deformity, among other defects and diseases. There is little scientific knowledge on the scale of Pops stored in high altitude regions.
Japanese agricultural officials have warned that more than 500 cattle slaughtered for Japanese supermarkets have been infected by radiation from the Fukushima nuclear disaster several months ago. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was severely damaged in the tsunami of March this year, which devastated the Japanese coastline after an earthquake measuring 9.0 on the Richter scale struck off the nation’s coast. Beef has now joined a wide variety of foodstuffs that have tested positive for radioactive cesium including spinach, tea, milk and fish. Officials blame the cattle meat contamination on hay left outside during the nuclear fallout. This hay has been found as far away from the plant as 85 miles implying the fallout was wider than initially thought. Attention now turns to the Japanese government who have been unwilling to extend the ban on food exports from just a 12 miles radius of the plant. The reason behind this decision was to reduce the amount of people put out of work and also the amount of compensation claims levelled against Tokyo Electric Power, the operating company of Fukushima. With the amount of contamination reports on the rise though, the government have now banned meat shipments from the entire of the Fukushima prefecture, an area of 5700 square miles. Farmers from the area still claim they are being kept out of the loop and have had no information from the government on how to tackle the problem.
www.sciencedaily.com 1st July 2011
A research trip put together by two students at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography has found that over 9% of fish sampled in the area of the North Pacific called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch have ingested plastic. The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) travelled across the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre, which stretches between the North East Asian coast and western North America and sampled a total of 141 fish from 27 species. Based on the figure of 9.2% of sampled fish had plastic in their stomachs, the authors of the study, Peter Davidson and Rebecca Asch, went on to calculate that fish in the “intermediate levels of the North Pacific ingest plastic at a rate of roughly 12,000- to 24,000 tons per year.” Most of the plastic pieces were smaller than a human fingernail and many were too small for their original purpose to be determined. Furthermore, the study’s authors believe that the 9.2% is an underestimate as some fish may regurgitate plastic pieces, they may pass through the body, or a fish may die from eating it. It is impossible to measure these exceptions. SEAPLEX put down 132 net tows (130 came up with plastic) across a distance of 1,700 miles of the North Pacific. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is not, as is commonly thought, an island of human waste but rather it is ‘highly dispersed’ and therefore impossible to map from satellite or plane. For this reason, research on the matter is still relatively young.
www.seaweb.org 6th July 2011
In the absence of a global move to reduce carbon emissions, many have asked the question whether anything can really be done to reduce the effects of ocean acidification on the marine environment. A new paper, released in the journal Science, has tried to tackle this question by putting forward a number of ideas that could be implemented by local and national governments to better protect their coastlines. Although the growing amount of CO2 in our atmosphere is increasing the level of the gas absorbed by the oceans (thereby creating carbonic acid), several other factors also play a role in this process. Freshwater input from rivers, pollution, and soil erosion all affect the acidic level of seawater. Although the report, headed by Ryan Kelly of the Center for Ocean Solutions at Stanford University, is aimed towards the United States, it’s lessons are relevant on a global scale. The first issue they tackle is to reduce acidification-related runoff. This can be done by using state funding and the Clean Water Act to prevent stormwater surges, upgrade water treatment facilities, and restore wetland areas. Secondly, in order to reduce coastal erosion (which carries with nutrient runoff and acidification-inducing fertilisers) local governing bodies should encourage vegetation growth that stabilises coastal sediment. Thirdly, “enforcement of federal emissions requirements for such industrial pollutants as nitrogen oxide and sulfur oxide should provide local benefits given these pollutants’ short atmospheric resident times.” The paper insists that these more local moves challenge the commonly held belief that the problem of ocean acidification can only be dealt with on a national scale.
e360.yale.edu 15th June 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The Gulf of Mexico’s hypoxic zone, an oxygen-depleted area created by excessive nutrient pollution, isexpected to reach record proportions this year as a result of the extreme flooding in the Mississippi River basin, according to a forecast by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Using nutrient load data compiled by the U.S. Geological Survey, scientists calculate that the hypoxic zone, also known as the “dead zone,” could cover 8,500 to 9,421 square miles, an area about the size of New Hampshire. The dead zone — which is created when algal blooms remove oxygen from the water and suffocate marine life — has reached an average 6,000 square miles during the last five years. But with the flow rate of the Mississippi and Atchafalaya Rivers nearly double the normal rate this spring, the quantity of nutrients entering the Gulf is about 35 percent higher than usual, according to NOAA. The dead zone, located along the coast, forces Gulf fishermen farther offshore.’
www.latimes.com 30th May 2011
The ongoing debate on the effects of dropping millions of gallons of chemical flame retardants on US forests has led to the US Forest Service to propose reductions in their use. Currently, around 28 million gallons of fire retardants are used annually with a third of this dropped over California, where many homes back onto fire-prone wild-lands. The chemicals used in such drops have fatal effects in aquatic environments causing the deaths of marine species. The proposed reduction therefore won’t necessarily reduce the total amount of fire retardants dropped over wild-fires but will limit the area over which they can be used. In 2000, the Forest Service adopted guidelines limiting retardants to more than 300 feet from waterways. However, a pilot can still bypass this boundary if there is a risk to (human) life, property, or if there are terrain limitations. The new proposed guidelines would eliminate these exceptions except for the case of endangered life and also make national forests draw up areas further away from waterways which would be safe from retardants to protect endangered species. A final decision on the Forest Service plans is expected by the end of the year.
http://www.guardian.co.uk 26th May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Britain’s beaches have had one of their best years in a quarter of a century of the Good Beach Guide, the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) has said. Across the UK, 461 beaches were given the top recommended award for having excellent bathing water quality in the guide, the third highest number in the guide’s 24-year history, and a significant increase on last year. Some 42 more bathing spots reached the top grade in 2011 than in 2010. But 46 failed to meet even the basic standards of water quality set in European law 35 years ago, the MCS said, a slight increase on last year’s figure of 41. And with stricter standards coming into force from 2015 – but being monitored from next year – the society raised concerns that almost double the number of beaches could fail in the future Blackpool‘s south and central beaches, St Andrews’ east sands, the beach at Aberdyfi, Gwynedd, Wales, and Lyme Regis’s church beach were among the coastal stretches which failed the current tests for water quality. But Bude’s Summerleaze beach and Par, both in Cornwall, managed to turn around their fortunes, going from failing the standards last year to being recommended this year. Other top quality beaches recommended by the Good Beach Guide include Polzeath and Newquay in Cornwall, Bognor Regis in West Sussex, Sheringham in Norfolk, Tenby in Pembrokeshire, Portobello central beach in Edinburgh, and Portrush in Antrim, Northern Ireland.
The MCS grades 758 beaches around the UK and the Channel Islands, with the cleanest spots given the recommended status. Beaches which meet the higher quality level under current EU rules are given the guideline grade, while those that reach the mandatory minimum levels required by the law are given a basic pass. Those that do not meet the standards are classed as failing.’
e360.yale.edu 6th May 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Endosulfan — an insecticide that has been linked to birth defects, cancer, and retardation — has been banned by the 127 governments that belong to the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants. The organochlorine insectcide has been widely sprayed on cotton, coffee, tea, cashews and other crops, and studies have shown a high incidence of developmental and reproductive damage in rural communities where Endosulfan has been heavily used. Endosulfan is the 22nd chemical to be placed on the United Nations’ list of persistent organic pollutants to be eliminated worldwide. The ban, approved at a meeting in Geneva this week, will take effect next year, although certain limited uses may be permitted until a final phase-out in 2017. Eighty nations have already banned the insecticide. The impacts of Endosulfan have been particularly severe in the Indian state of Kerala, where extensive use on cashew plantations has left thousands of people, many of them children, suffering from a host of physical and developmental illnesses.’
To find out more about the physical deformities caused by Endosulfan, visit the Endosulfan Victims website here
www.boston.com 6th May 2011
The Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), a scientific coalition of 8 countries bordering the region, has announced that mercury levels in Arctic will rise 25% by 2020 unless more is done to combat emissions. The group warned that climate change will likely worsen the problem as mercury stored in permafrost will be released into waterways, which may have a profound effect on local wildlife including whales and polar bears. Although Europe, North America, and even Russia have made large gains in reducing emissions in recent years, the global output of mercury is still on the rise. This is due to countries such as China, the world’s number one mercury polluter who is responsible for about half of the global output.
(LMV note:) Mercury is one of the worst endocrine disrupting chemicals out there and can have very serious effects on animals and people alike. For the latter, look up Minamata disease: a condition that afflicted thousands of Japanese residents after a local factory dumped mercury into the local water supply. Endocrine disruption is when a chemical mimics a natural occurring hormone in the body therefore disrupting the natural order of things. Visit the University of Missouri’s Endocrine Disruptors Group to find out more.
www.telegraph.co.uk 19th February 2011
The winter of 2010/2011 was the coldest in record in the UK. The heavy snowfall and sub-zero temperatures meant councils throughout the country needed to spread large amounts of salt on the roads to keep them navigable. However, common rock-salt, the most used substance in road gritting has an unintended side-effect: it is incredibly harmful to trees. “The gritting salt leeches into the soil around the tree and draws moisture out of the roots leading to signs similar to drought. It can eventually kill the tree,” said Emma Hill, Policy Director at Trees for Cities. The true extent of the damage, she continued, will only be visible come Spring. The effect will be highest in cities, where roads were gritted more regularly. Already Southwark Council in south London have expressed concerns that hundreds of the borough’s trees have died due to excess gritting. Despite the obvious environmental concerns, the side-effect of gritting is also expensive. It costs around £250 to take down a dead tree and as much as £400 to plant a new one. Total cost of damage may run into the tens, even the hundreds, of thousands. Councils have now said that they are exploring alternative methods of de-icing roads for next winter.
e360.yale.edu 18th February 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The rapidly growing leather tannery industry in Bangladesh is exposing most of its workforce to poisonous chemicals and dumping untold amounts of toxic waste into public waterways, according to a report by Agence France-Presse (AFP). In the Dhaka district of Hazaribag, which is home to hundreds of tanneries, more than 22,000 cubic liters of waste is dumped into the Buriganga River, a critical water supply for area residents, government officials say. And more than 90 percent of tannery workers suffer from some illness — from asthmas to cancer — as a result of exposure to chemicals used to convert raw hide into leather for shoes and other products, according to a 2008 survey. “We get no training, no safety equipment — workers have to learn to be careful of the chemicals,” one worker told AFP. Local environmental advocates say the government tolerates such practices because of the increasing amount of money the tanneries attract to the poverty-stricken region. In Bangladesh, leather is the fastest-growing export, with more than $460 million in merchandise shipped in 2009, most of which is produced in Hazaribag’s tanneries.’
www.latimes.com 7th February 2011
Quoted from source:
‘Describing seaside fireworks displays as wholesome and patriotic, an Orange County legislator wants to prevent the California Coastal Commission from snuffing them out. State Assemblywoman Diane Harkey (R-Dana Point) introduced a bill last month that would exempt municipal fireworks displays from regulation under the state Coastal Act by declaring they do not constitute “development.” The bill comes in response to increasing pressure from environmental groups to clamp down on fireworks. Environmentalists say the noise and explosive debris generated by the displays threatens wildlife and degrades water quality. In 2008, the Coastal Commission barred a fireworks show in the Mendocino County town of Gualala over concerns it was scaring away nesting seabirds. Activists challenged the decision in court, but the agency’s jurisdiction was upheld last year by a state appeals court. ”These are Fourth of July, flag-waving, apple pie American activities, and they are free for most of the public,” Harkey said. “Right now, in this economy, is not the time for a heavy bureaucracy to be reining them in”…In addition to noise, smoke, sulfur and ash, fireworks emit trace amounts of copper, zinc, sulfate, nitrate and barium, which produce bright colors when burned. Many fireworks also contain perchlorate, which can contaminate water sources.’
Quoted from source:
‘The Warriors of Qiugang, a film co-produced by Yale Environment 360 and featured exclusively on its website, has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject). This e360 video report, co-produced with filmmakers Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon and shot in China, was among the Oscar nominees announced yesterday. The film chronicles the story of the Chinese village of Qiugang and its battle against a polluting chemical factory. “This is a tremendous honor for Yale Environment 360,” said e360 editor Roger Cohn. “And we hope that this helps bring attention to the brave stand of the people of Qiugang”.’
Watch the film exclusively at Yale e360 here.
www.ft.com 19th January 2011
Quoted from source:
‘A group of 36 Chinese environmental groups has accused Apple of failing to address concerns over pollution and worker health issues in factories supplying components for its gadgets. In a report to be published on Thursday, the groups rank Apple last in a list of 29 multinational technology companies based on how each company dealt with inquiries about pollution and occupational health hazard incidents at factories in their supply chain. The report underscores a growing environmental awareness in China and the nascent attempts by the country’s heavily monitored and restricted non-governmental organisations to draw attention to important social issues. The environmental groups’ condemnation of Apple is the result of a more than year-long attempt at influencing environmental and worker health protection practices at 29 multinationals. The groups list HP, BT, Alcatel-Lucent, Vodafone, Samsung, Toshiba, Sharp, and Hitachi as positive examples that responded to their inquiries and took some steps to adjust problematic practices at their suppliers or improve supervision systems. A number of other technology companies, including Nokia, LG, SingTel, and Ericsson are also cited for being unresponsive and not taking action to correct the problems, but none fares as badly as Apple, which is criticised for being evasive and not responding to the NGOs’ concerns. One of the health hazard cases the groups say Apple did not respond to was the poisoning of workers at Lianjian Technology, a subsidiary of Taiwan-based Wintek, which produces touchscreen modules for Apple mobile devices. In that case, 49 workers were hospitalised and diagnosed as having been poisoned with the chemical cleaning agent n-hexane in 2009, a case widely publicised in Chinese state media. The workers claim to have been left with debilitating illnesses and say they have not received any response to complaints they sent to Apple.’
For the whole article please click here to be taken to the Financial Times website.
www.nytimes.com 24th January 2011
Anyone visiting the website of the ‘Waters Advocacy Coalition‘ would be forgiven for believing the group was another environmental organisation trying to protect North America’s waterways, such is the impression given by the banner “Protect the Clean Water Act” accompanied by images of crystal clear streams and rivers (see above). So when the Coalition protested on the subject of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rescinding a Clean Water Act Permit for the Mingo Logan Coal Company in West Virginia it may come as a surprise to some that they were in support of the coal company. In a rebuke of the EPA ruling, the Coalition wrote to President Obama’s Council on Environmental Quality stating that the decision “has no legal foundation, is not warranted on the facts and will chill investments and job creation across America. The implications could be staggering, reaching all areas of the U.S. economy including but not limited to the agriculture, home building, mining, transportation and energy sectors.” As it turns out, the Coalition is actually a lobbying body for some of the USA’s ‘largest industrial and agricultural concerns’ including ‘the American Farm Bureau Federation, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the National Industrial Sand Association and the National Mining Association.’
e360.yale.edu 14th January 2011
Quoted from source:
‘The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has revoked a permit for a large mountaintop removal mining project in West Virginia, saying it would use “destructive and unsustainable mining practices” that would threaten the health and water supplies of the surrounding Appalachian communities. While the EPA said mining projects elsewhere in the state could continue, agency officials rescinded a permit under the Clean Water Act for Arch Coal’s proposed 2,300-acre Spruce Mine operation in Logan County, a controversial project that would dump mining debris into more than 7 miles of rivers. The decision could affect dozens of other mountaintop removal mining projects, in which companies blast off the tops of mountains to get at the coal seams below. Across Appalachia, the practice has buried more than 2,000 miles of streams and damaged more than a million acres of forest. Peter Silva, EPA’s assistant administrator for water, said, “We have a responsibility to protect water quality and safeguard the people who rely on clean water.”’
To watch e360′s documentary on the subject click here.