Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

Plastic fibres found in tap water around the world, study reveals

SOURCE: The Guardian DATE: September 5, 2017 SNIP: Microplastic contamination has been found in tap water in countries around the world, leading to calls from scientists for urgent research on the implications for health. Scores of tap water samples from more than a dozen nations were analysed by scientists for an investigation by Orb Media, who shared the findings with the Guardian. Overall, 83% of the samples were contaminated with plastic fibres. The US had the highest contamination rate, at 94%, with plastic fibres found in tap water sampled at sites including Congress buildings, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters, and Trump Tower in New York. Lebanon and India had the next highest rates. “We have enough data from looking at wildlife, and the impacts that it’s having on wildlife, to be concerned,” said Dr Sherri Mason, a microplastic expert at the State University of New York in Fredonia, who supervised the analyses for Orb. “If it’s impacting [wildlife], then how do we think that it’s not going to somehow impact...
Climate change, sewage and fertilisers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn

Climate change, sewage and fertilisers could trigger mass extinction of life in oceans, scientists warn

SOURCE: Independent DATE: Aug 9, 2017 SNIP: The ocean is slowly being suffocated with levels of oxygen falling at a similar rate to 94 million years ago when there was a mass extinction of marine life, scientists have warned. While that event was caused naturally, humans are responsible for several different factors driving the increase in “dead zones” in our seas. Writing in the journal Science Advances, the researchers said that current rates of deoxygenation were similar to those 94 million years ago during what is known as Oceanic Anoxic Event-2 (OAE-2). OAE-2, which developed over about 50,000 years, is believed to have caused the extinction of about 27 per cent of marine invertebrates. One of the researchers, Dr Sune Nielsen, of Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in the US, said: “Our results show that marine deoxygenation rates prior to the ancient event were likely occurring over tens of thousands of years, and surprisingly similar to the two per cent oxygen depletion trend we’re seeing induced by anthropogenic activity over the last 50 years. “We don’t know if the ocean is headed toward another global anoxic event, but the trend is, of course,...
Climate Change Could Uncover An Abandoned Arctic Nuclear Base

Climate Change Could Uncover An Abandoned Arctic Nuclear Base

SOURCE: Huffington Post DATE: May 25, 2017 SNIP: Climate change is causing record levels of ice to disappear from the Arctic, and the melt is unearthing something that was supposed to stay buried for centuries — an abandoned U.S. nuclear base. Camp Century was built in Greenland in 1959 during the peak of the Cold War. The subterranean base held between 85 and 200 soldiers year-round. The base was built under the pretense that it would be a centre for scientific experiments on the icecap and a space to test construction techniques in Arctic conditions. If the ice melts at Camp Century, it will release an abundance of PCBs as well as other physical, chemical, biological and radiological wastes (including thousands of barrels of diesel) that could eventually be swept to Canada. The study from Geophysical Research Letters predicted that by 2090 ice around Camp Century will begin to melt, and it will take nearly another century before the camp is fully unearthed. But meltwater runoff could carry chemical waste into the sea as soon as the ice sheet starts melting. Since that study was published, scientists found that the Arctic is warming more than twice as fast as the rest of earth. The “Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic” report, published in April 2017, significantly increased the projections of how fast global sea-levels will rise, meaning that ice could melt at Camp Century sooner than...
Air and water problems are worsening on a global scale, U.N. says

Air and water problems are worsening on a global scale, U.N. says

SOURCE: Washington Post DATE: May 23, 2016 AUTHOR: Chris Mooney SNIP: In a sweeping synthesis of global data, the United Nations Environment Programme has intensively catalogued environmental assaults across the six different major regions of the globe. And it finds that, overall, damage to the planet is happening more rapidly than before, through slights ranging from air pollution, to the proliferation of human and toxic waste, to water scarcity and climate change. … “The world shares a host of common environmental threats that are rapidly intensifying in many parts of the world,” said a UNEP news release accompanying the report’s release. The root causes, McGlade said, basically boil down to two major systemic occurrences with multiple ramifying consequences: a changing climate and an intense trend toward greater urbanization. The warming of the planet threatens ecosystems and the humans who depend on them for food, water and services, even as the push into expanding cities clusters people in more closely, creating water shortages, waste disposal problems, more deleterious contacts with wildlife and...