By analysing sooty birds housed in museum collections, scientists have been able to track patterns of US air pollution over the last 135 years. As the new study shows, air at the turn of the 20th century was even dirtier than we thought -- a finding that will now be used to improve our climate models.
Tagged With pollution
A new and unexpected source of radioactive material left over from the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster has been found up to 97km away along coastlines near the beleaguered plant. The discovery shows that damaged nuclear reactors are capable of spreading radiation far from the meltdown site, and in some surprising ways.
A so-called "fatberg" -- a tightly congealed mass of fat, wet wipes, diapers, and condoms -- is blocking a section of London's Victorian-era sewage network. It could take weeks for utility crews to remove the horrific mass, which, if not removed, could cause raw sewage to spill onto London's streets.
Adani is fighting the Queensland Environment Department, rather than pay a $12,000 fine for polluting the Great Barrier Reef - a breach the mining giant reported itself.
The Mackay Conservation group is calling for Adani to instead start engineering works on its Abbot Point port facility in North Queensland to make sure it doesn't happen again.
Sea snakes are a striking sight on the sun-dappled Pacific and Indian Ocean coral reefs they call home. They swim with deliberate, yet graceful winding movements above the reef, and they are often conspicuously-coloured, with many species sporting patterns flush with yellows, oranges and blues, broken up by stripes, blotches and spots. This scaly skin, delicately painted by evolution, is part of what makes encounters with them so memorable. However, one species of sea snake -- the turtle-headed sea snake (Emydocephalus annulatus) -- is losing its captivating stripes. The culprit behind this robbery? Pollution.
Something weird is going on with human sperm production. For decades, scientists have warned that sperm counts are dropping among Western men, but no one has really been able to prove it. In what is now the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind, scientists have presented compelling evidence in support of this rather alarming assertion, showing that sperm counts have dropped more than 50 per cent in just four decades.
From 1347 to 1351, a nightmare disease ravaged Europe, afflicting victims with putrid black boils, fevers, vomiting, and in short order, death. Daily life ground to a halt as the Black Death spread along medieval trade routes, claiming an estimated 20 million lives with ruthless efficiency. Now, a team of researchers is asserting that the plague had an unexpected impact: Clearing the air of a toxic pollutant for the first time in over a thousand years.
Where there are landfills there are seagulls. An estimated 1.4 million of these opportunistic feathered critters feed on these vast tracts of waste across North America. And as a new study from Duke University shows, the voluminous amounts of poop from these gulls is compromising the water-quality of nearby lakes and reservoirs.
On Wednesday, Michigan's Attorney General announced it will charge Nick Lyon, the Health and Human Services Director, with involuntary manslaughter for his role in the Flint water crisis. During the crisis, caused in part by substandard water treatment, 100,000 residents were exposed to elevated levels of lead, a dangerous neurotoxin, and were at elevated risk for Legionnaire's disease, a waterborne illness linked to 14 deaths in the city since 2014.
By now it's well documented that those tiny plastic microbeads used in face scrubs and toothpastes are contaminating lakes and oceans at an alarming rate. Starting next month they will be officially banned in the US for personal care products, but oily faces rejoice, eco-friendly replacements are already in the works.
You might think you were born in Australia, or New Zealand, or Malaysia or the surrounding area -- but let me tell you, friend, you're wrong. In a sense, we were all spawned on a tiny island full of trash, floating miserably far, far out there. Only now are we beginning to understand the horrifying gravity of what our garbage species hath wrought.
In a chance discovery, a research team from Europe has learned that a common insect larva is capable of breaking down the plastic found in shopping bags and other polyethylene-based products. This trash-munching caterpillar could inspire scientists to develop a new chemical process to tackle the growing problem of plastic waste.
As anyone who has ridden in an old train through a long tunnel knows, the air down there is unpleasant. New research done in Canada shows that air pollution levels in Toronto's subway system are ten times greater than those above ground. It's a troubling realisation for subway-goers, but there are ways to keep these underground systems clean.
As the White House was preparing to implement deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency earlier this month, Mustafa Ali, head of the Office on Environmental Justice, resigned. A week later, his motivation for departing became clear, when President Trump released a hardline budget draft that called for slashing EPA funding by 31 per cent, and eliminating as many as 3200 agency jobs. Ali's resignation, and the ensuing budget draft, are disturbing signs that America's poor and people of colour are going to continue suffering disproportionately from pollution under Trump. Sadly, that's nothing new.
As America's newly-elected leaders do everything they can to roll back environmental regulations, the future is looking more and more like a smog-filled dystopia. But not all scientific progress has ground to a halt. Scientists at the National University of Singapore have created a transparent smog-filtering window screen that could make our lives a little less wheezy.