Fire Earth

Mass die-offs from human impact and planetary response to the assault could occur by early 2016

Archive for the ‘Water pollution’ Category

10 million pieces of trash plucked from water in 1 day

Posted by feww on April 14, 2010

Flip-flops washed ashore near the Arctic Circle

“We saw flip-flops washing ashore on these islands in far northern Norway near the Arctic Circle,” said Cousteau, an environmentalist.

“People don’t wear flip-flops in the Arctic, at least not if they’re sane.”

Half a million volunteers around the world retrieved 10,239,538 pieces of trash from our ocean, lakes and waterways in a single day, September 19, 2009. The trash weighed about 3.4 million kg (7.4 million pounds), a tiny fraction of the total marine litter. Most of marine trash starts on land.

Clean This!


Citarum River, Indonesia.  More than 500 factories along the banks of the 330km long Citarum River, contribute to this man-made disaster. Source: Sea-way. Click image to enlarge.

Highlights from The 2009 International Coastal Cleanup

Volunteers around the world covered 14,827 miles, more than six times the length of the Mississippi river, and found:

  • 336 marine animals, including 138 birds, entangled in marine debris 120 of the animals were still alive and released. Fishing line and nets were some of the most dangerous items, trapping over 200 animals
  • 512,517 cups, plates, forks, knives and spoons enough to provide a full set of dinnerware to over 100,000 people
  • 8,881 bottles of oil/lube during the cleanup. This is the amount that would be used to change the oil in nearly 12,000 mid-sized cars
  • More than 40 percent of all trash was collected in the United States
  • About 20 percent of the garbage collected threatened public health, and most debris were a threat to marine animals.

Clean This!


Lake Tai, the 3rd largest lake in China, is covered in green algae. About 3,000 factories located on the shores of Lake Tai have turned the lake into one of the most polluted in China. Click image to enlarge.

What If:
What if the same number of volunteers removed  the same amount of trash from the ocean every day, instead of just one day of the year?
It wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference.

Why NOT?
For three reasons:

  • First, the amount of litter retrieved would still constitute only a tiny fraction of the overall trash in the world’s waterway.
  • Third, nearly all of the sewage, agricultural, industrial, chemical/toxic pollution that enter the waterways dissolve in the water and become invisible.

The Problem?

To stop the trash entering our oceans and waterways, you have to stop producing waste. There’s no other formula that works.

The source of our oceans’ grave illnesses are the system of exponential growth economy, that cannot thrive without generating mountains of harmful waste. You cannot stop the oceans from dying without first changing the economy from its current state, into an eco-centered Oikonomia.

How Effective is the Work Done by Ocean Conservancy?

Coca-Cola, the Dow Chemical and the likes that have embedded  Ocean Conservancy ares the Praetorian Guards of the predatory economic system. It’s difficult to see how those companies would seriously act against their own monetary interests.

Related Links:

Serial No 1,570. Starting April 2010, each entry on this blog has a unique serial number. If any of the numbers are missing, it may mean that the corresponding entry has been blocked by the authorities/Google in your country. Please drop us a line if you detect any anomaly/missing number(s).

Posted in dying oceans, marine trash, ocean pollution, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

The Resourceful Ganges River

Posted by feww on December 2, 2009

Image of the Day:

Day of the Dead on Holy Ganges River


“THE UNCARED FOR.”  A dead body floats on the banks of the Ganges as a devotee Hindu performs rituals in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, considered to be one of Hinduism’s holiest cities. Photo: K.R. Deepak. The Hindu. Image may be subject to copyright.

Will Religion and Ecology Ever Coincide?

Each year millions of tons of municipal sewage and industrial effluent are pumped in the Holy Ganges. In additions to millions of tons of municipal garbage, the uncared for bodies and remains of prayer materials and idols of Hindu goddess of valor, Durga, are also thrown into the holy river for good measure!

Let’s face it, what good is a river, especially one with holy water, if it didn’t cater for your daily needs?


Related Links:

Posted in Food Crisis, human evolution, religion, water crisis in India, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Photos from Down Under

Posted by feww on February 18, 2009

Australia: A Failing Continent

Killmore East-Murrindindi Complex Fire, Victoria


Among the areas devastated by bushfires in Victoria, Australia, in early February 2009 were Kinglake National Park and the surrounding rural and agricultural areas. The park is located on the slopes of the Great Dividing Range Mountains that arc northward through Victoria and along Australia’s East Coast. The park is only 65 kilometers (about 40 miles) north of Melbourne, and it is important to the city not just as a recreation area, but also because it protects some of the rivers and streams that supply the nearly four million city residents with water. Image created by Jesse Allen, using data provided courtesy of NASA/GSFC/METI/ERSDAC/JAROS,  and U.S./Japan ASTER Science Team. Caption [truncated
] by Rebecca Lindsey. Date image acquired: February 14, 2009 ; Posted: February 18, 2009]


There are reports more than 100,000 head of cattle have died in the flooding. A Georgetown grazier says the wet season has devastated many properties. (Photo taken February 2009 - exact date unknown - ABC Net North Qld - User submitted)

Debris left behind from the floodwaters hangs from a cane rail bridge at Upper Stone, west of Ingham, in north Qld, on February 7, 2009. (ABC Net - User submitted via ABC Contribute: macad)

Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. theage.com.au Image may be subject to copyright

Bushfires burn around Maroondah Dam on February 11. Photo: Craig Abraham. theage.com.au Image may be subject to copyright

The Moderators can clearly see what is happening to Australia. Why have the Australian government and scientific community buried their heads in the sand?

Related News Links:

Related Links:

4 images; 6 links; 270 words

Posted in desertification, Failing Continent, Melbourne, Victoria, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »

You want to lose weight without exercise?

Posted by feww on January 13, 2009

Go Live Near a Coalmine!

Coalmine blamed for diarrhea outbreak in Queensland, Australia

A coalmine has been blamed for an outbreak of diarrhea in Australia’s central Queensland town of Bluff.

Nearly all of the 437 people who live in Bluff, 94 km east of Emerald in the Central Highlands, have had the ‘runs’ since water was discharged from the nearby Ensham coalmine after it was flooded by rain last year, AAP reported.


Cheneyite John Howard, former Australian dictator, affected by Diarrhea in this undated photo. Image may be subject to copyright.

“I put it down to the water,” resident Tim Cumming said. “I’m sure the old girl’s not poisoning me. … It can’t be her cooking. I’d be dead by now if it was.”

Mr Cumming believes the linking factor in the outbreaks of diarrhea was the water supply.

“Look, we all can’t be eating the same food, we put it back to the water.”

Water from the Ensham mine flowed into the Nagoa River to Bedford Weir, which is Bluff’s source of drinking water.

The water then flows into the MacKenzie and Fitzroy rivers to Rockhampton, report said.

Mr Cumming major concern was the pollution of the regional rivers.

“We have to have coal mines to keep the bloody country afloat but on the other side, how about we look after our own backyard and clean up what we’ve got here,” he said.

Related Coverage Links:

“The Environmental Protection Agency allowed further discharges of water after recent falls of 120mm at the mine site,” report said.

“After similar discharges last year, retired Monash University professor and international water quality expert Barry Hart, said the discharge caused poor drinking water quality in communities along the rivers.”

“The discharges are also a worry for rural lobby group AgForce, which has, for some time, expressed concern about the impact of mining operations on water quality in central Queensland, given the intensity of mining in the region.”

“This is causing concern for irrigators and livestock producers, as well as local communities, because of the potential long-term impact of salty water on farmland, livestock and river viability,” said AgForce vice-president Ian Burnett.

Related Links:

Australian Coal and the Planet

Posted in Bedford Weir, drinking water, Ensham coalmine, Nagoa River, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

One Step for Life; 6,400 Leaps to Extinction

Posted by feww on December 10, 2008

For every single step taken to restore ecosystems services, humans take 6,400 giant leaps in the opposite direction, destroying the planet’s ability to maintain life, ensuring extinction. —EDRO

As 99.98 percent of human effort goes to destroying Earth’s life support services, the planet experiences anthropogenic antiphase!

Original Entry:

Related Links:

Posted in Climate Change, collapse, first wave of collapsing cities, Food scarcity, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Out of the sinking pan, into the fire!

Posted by feww on August 13, 2008

Global Warming Tolls the Death Knell for Tuvalu

Massive tides, high winds and rising sea levels are causing erosion to the four reef islands and five true atolls that comprise the tiny country of Tuvalu.


Map of Tuvalu

Formerly known as the Ellice Islands, the low-lying Polynesian islands are located in the Pacific Ocean midway between Hawaii and Australia. The nine-island cluster contains 600 sq km of ocean, but only a total of 25 sq km of land.


Tuvaluans reaching end of the road. (AP Yonhap). Image may be subject to copyright!

“The residents of Tepuka Savilivili, an island 10 kilometers away from Funafuti, also sense the crisis. One day in 1997, an uninhabited island simply vanished. The residents explained that gale winds blew and covered the island during the night. The next day, the coconut trees had vanished.” Wrote Nam Jong-yeong.

Drinking water is mixing with salty ocean water; the coconut trees are vanishing; during high tides seawater covers most parts of the islands.

Thousands of Tuvaluans have already left the shrinking islands, most of them arriving in what they believe to be a safe destination: New Zealand.

Their new home, however, could breakup and sink in the south-western Pacific Ocean as a result of massive earthquakes. It’s rather like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire!

Related Links:

Posted in air pollution, Climate Change, energy, environment, food, health, new zealand, Tourism, Travel, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Could California Turn to Desert by 2011?

Posted by feww on June 5, 2008

Bets are on!

Schwarzenegger declares statewide drought

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a statewide drought in California after two years of below-average rainfall. “We have a serious drought,” said Governor Schwarzenegger on Wednesday.

“For the areas in Northern California that supply most of our water, this March, April and May have been the driest ever in our recorded history,” Schwarzenegger said. “As a result, some local governments are rationing water, developments can’t proceed and agricultural fields are sitting idle.”

“We must recognize the severity of the crisis we face, so I am signing an executive order proclaiming a statewide drought and directing my Department of Water Resources and other entities to take immediate action to address the situation.”

The executive order enables water officials transfer water around California swiftly dealing with unusually dry conditions that are destroying crops, affecting water quality and creating extreme fire hazards across the state, one of the nation’s top farming regions.


To enlarge, right click on the image and select View Image

“Mr Schwarzenegger warned that conditions could be even worse next year if there was another dry winter. The governor wants voters to approve a $12 billion bond to fund delta, river and groundwater improvements, conservation and recycling efforts, and reservoirs. But legislators have not agreed to the plan despite ongoing negotiations with the administration.” USA today reported.

“This drought is an urgent reminder of the immediate need to upgrade California’s water infrastructure,” Schwarzenegger said. “There is no more time to waste because nothing is more vital to protect our economy, our environment and our quality-of-life.”

[Note: Gov Schwarzenegger's statement is fundamentally flawed and factually incorrect because "to protect our economy," i.e., business as usual, results in the destruction of "our environment" and therefore harms "our quality of life."]

Related Links:

[Nothing short of a catastrophic ecosystem collapse would make humans change their unsustainable lifestyles!]

Posted in air soil and water pollutions, civilization, Climate Change, CO2, CO2e, Coastal areas, Collapsing Cities, conserve, economy, energy, environment, food, Global Warming, government, health, politics, Water pollution, water shortages | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seeking Toxic Asylum

Posted by feww on May 29, 2008

submitted by a reader

Partenope: Naples Garbage Opera

Protagonists:

  • Queen Partenope: Played by the entire population of Naples and Campania [and the estimated 1.2 million tons of rotting garbage]
  • Prince Armindo of Rhodes: played by Il Duce [the leader] of Italy Silvio Berlusconi and his gang.
  • Prince Arsace of Corinth: The garbage incinerators in Germany, Switzerland and elsewhere
  • Prince Emilio of Cumae [who is at war with Naples and with Queen Partenope] : Played by the Camorra mafia

Full List of Actors:

  • Il Duce [the leader] of Italy Silvio Berlusconi
  • Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo
  • Camorra mafia
  • Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco, head of the influential Italian Bishops Conference
  • The corrupt regional governor, Antonio Bassolino, and 27 others under house arrest.
  • City’s chief officer and special commissioner Alessandro Pansa (one of the 27)
  • Rosanna Laraia, head of waste management in Italy’s Ministry for the Environment
  • Billions of missing, misappropriated, or unaccounted for euros [ € billions ]
  • Environmental campaigner Francesco Pascale
  • Sergio Sedia and his wife Giulia
  • President Giorgio Napolitano
  • Just over 1 million Neapolitans (and a further 5 million people living in Campania region and the province of Naples.)
  • Hundreds of police officers in riot gears
  • Probably as many as 10 million “super-charged” rats and 100 million cockroaches living in the garbage piles throughout the city of Naples

Composer:

  • Germany’s George Frideric Handel

Act I – Seeking Toxic Asylum

In Act I of the famous Naples Garbage Opera, Partenope, Sergio Sedia and his wife Giulia request “toxic asylum” in Switzerland.

Sergio and his wife Giulia live in the “Triangle of Death” near Naples where the mafia has illegally dumped tons of toxic waste. British medical journal, The Lancet, reported in 2004 on “considerably higher cancer and deformity rates” in the area compared with other parts of the Campania region near Naples.


[Other than rats and cockroaches, what sort of vermin would transform its place of habitat to this?] A woman wearing a filtered mask walks past piles of trash thrown into a street intersection in protest in Naples May 16, 2008. REUTERS/Ciro Messere/Agnfoto. Image may be subject to copyright. See FEWW Fair Use Notice!

“The (Italian) government has not protected my right to health, and in this area people are dying of cancers caused by tonnes of chemical and toxic waste illegally dumped here for more than 20 years,” said Sergio.

Camorra mafia has been secretly dumping thousands of tonnes of industrial waste since the 1980s in what is “the heart of some of Italy’s best farm land,” environmental groups said.

“This area is nearly entirely agricultural, there are no factories, but has mortality rates for cancers linked to pollution higher than the national average. Here one doesn’t die of a heart attack or an accident, but from tumors,” said Sedia, 34, who works in the finance industry.


Silvio Berlusconi Prime Minister of Italy (President of the Council of Ministers of Italy). Born 29 September 1936, he is an entrepreneur, media proprietor and Head of the

“What I eat and breathe every day makes me afraid because of the products — the asbestos, the lead, the dioxins that are there in the air, the soil, the ground water,” he told AFP.

Fearing also for the health of their unborn child, said Sedia, “we decided to demand protection abroad and our choice fell on Switzerland.”

“We want to save ourselves, and only another country can help us, because if waste is one enemy, the Italian state is another in continuing to deny there is a problem in this area.”

“The Italian authorities are trying to act as if the problem of contamination doesn’t exist,” he said.

“I am not very confident when I see the authorities test mozzarella (over dioxin poisoning) because it is a valuable product, but doesn’t conduct tests on us citizens because we don’t have any commercial value.”

Earlier this year samples of mozzarella cheese, made from buffalo milk, were found to have highlevels of the toxic compound dioxin. As a result, buffalo farms in the Campania region were quarantined.

Japan, Singapore and South Korea banned the import of Italian mozzarella, earlier this year. (Source)

continued …

Related Links:

    Posted in air pollution, corruption, energy, environment, food, health, incinerators, money, politics, soil pollution, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

    EU needs more pesticides, scientists claim

    Posted by feww on April 24, 2008

    Scientists: Reduction in pesticides makes EU uncompetitive!

    (Reuters) Scientists from seven European Union countries have warned against a planned reduction in the number of pesticides allowed in the EU, claiming this could increase resistance of pests and make crop cultivation uncompetitive.

    “The scientists [...] fear that reducing the available range of pesticides could lower their efficiency as it is likely that it will increase resistance.” they said.

    The boll weevil (Anthonomus grandis) is a beetle measuring an average length of six millimeters, which feeds on cotton buds and flowers. (photo credit: Clinton & Charles Robertson, via wikipedia)

    “In order to safeguard the production of food at affordable prices, it is essential to provide farmers with access to sufficient diversity of crop protection solutions.” the scientists’ spokesman from the UK’s Rothamsted Research institute added: “This is essential to prevent or delay the development of resistant pests, and to maintain the efficacy of remaining crop protection products,” he added.

    Is their concern legitimate, or are they sacrificing the truth for the sake of their careers? The Chemical giants are doing booming business with their “+cide” products. Are the scientists party to their business “success?” FEWW would welcome any information provided by genuine whistleblowers. [Strict confidentiality of the sources of information is assured.]

    A pesticide is a substance or mixture of substances used for preventing, controlling, or lessening the damage caused by a pest. A pesticide may be a chemical substance, biological agent (such as a virus or bacteria), antimicrobial, disinfectant or device used against any pest.


    Codling moth: It is native to Europe and was introduced to North America, where it has become one of the regular pests of apple orchards. It is found almost worldwide. It also attacks pears, walnuts, and other tree fruits.

    Pests include insects, plant pathogens, weeds, mollusks, birds, mammals, fish, nematodes (roundworms) and microbes that compete with humans for food, destroy property, spread or are a vector for disease or cause a nuisance. Although there are benefits to the use of pesticides, there are also drawbacks, such as potential toxicity to humans and other animals.Pesticides are hazardous to some wildlife in the sea because it gets evaporated and goes into the clouds.Then it rains, surface run-off into the sea and poisons them. (Source Wikipedia)

    Types of pesticides

    There are multiple ways of classifying pesticides:

    • Algicides or Algaecides for the control of algae
    • Avicides for the control of birds
    • Bactericides for the control of bacteria
    • Fungicides for the control of fungi and oomycetes
    • Herbicides for the control of weeds
    • Insecticides for the control of insects – these can be Ovicides (substances that kill eggs), Larvicides (substances that kill larvae) or Adulticides (substances that kill adult insects)
    • Miticides or Acaricides for the control of mites
    • Molluscicides for the control of slugs and snails
    • Nematicides for the control of nematodes
    • Rodenticides for the control of rodents
    • Virucides for the control of viruses (e.g. H5N1)


    A weevil of the Curculionidae family: Lixus angustatus (Image credit: Alvesgaspar, via wikipedia)

    Weevils are often found in dry foods including nuts and seeds, cereal and grain products. In the domestic setting, they are most likely to be observed when opening a bag of flour although they will happily infest most types of grain including oats, barley and breakfast cereals. Their presence is often indicated by the granules of the infested item sticking together in strings, as if caught in a cobweb. If ingested, E. coli infection and other various diseases can be contracted from weevils, depending on their diet.

    Pesticides can also be classed as synthetic pesticides or biological pesticides (biopesticides), although the distinction can sometimes blur.

    Broad-spectrum pesticides are those that kill an array of species, while narrow-spectrum, or selective pesticides only kill a small group of species.

    A systemic pesticide moves inside a plant following absorption by the plant. With insecticides and most fungicides, this movement is usually upward (through the xylem) and outward. Increased efficiency may be a result. Systemic insecticides which poison pollen and nectar in the flowers may kill needed pollinators such as bees.

    Most pesticides work by poisoning pests. (Source Wikipedia)

    Posted in environment, food, health, pesticides, poisoning, politics, soil, soil degradation, Water pollution, whistleblower | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

    The Floating Toxic Garbage Island

    Posted by feww on April 10, 2008

    WILD FACTS SERIES: North Pacific Gyre

    A patch of garbage dubbed the Great Pacific Garbage Patch floats in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in North Pacific Gyre. Depending on the source, the size estimate of the patch varies from the size of Texas to twice as large as the continental United States.

    • About 46,000 pieces of plastic float on each square mile of sea (Source: telegraph.co.uk)
    • Researcher Dr Marcus Eriksen believes the Great Pacific Garbage Patch stretches from about 500 nautical miles off the coast of California, across the Northern Pacific to near the coast of Japan.
    • According to the Independent newspaper 100 million tons of plastic garbage float in the North Pacific Gyre.


    The North Pacific Gyre (top, center)is one of five major oceanic gyres. (Image Credit: NOAA)

    Following are links to a series of short videos by VBS.TV.


    Marine debris on the Hawaiian coast (Image Credit: NOAA)

    Related Links:

    An Interesting animation of how the garbage entering the ocean is caught by the gyre.

    .

    Posted in Bisphenol A, california, Hawaii, infertility, Pacific Ocean, plastic bags, polyethylene, PVC, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments »

    China Under Siege

    Posted by feww on April 2, 2008

    Our thanks to Lisa G. for the links!

    Lethal Pollution, Grinding Poverty, DSS, Encroaching Deserts, Sinking Cities

    Poverty

    “We eat somehow, but it’s never enough,” Li said. “At least we’re not starving.”

    “In this region of southern Henan Province, in village after village, people are too poor to heat their homes in the winter and many lack basic comforts like running water.” Report

    Air Pollution

    • China is World No. 1 CO2 Polluter; the US follows closely. Report
    • Chinese Air Pollution Deadliest in World, Report Says.
    • Pollution kills 750,000 in China every year. Report
    • According to the World bank statistics, China has 16 of the 20 most polluted cities on earth!
    • Beijing pollution risky for endurance athletes. Report


    Eastern China Pollution. Beijing has completely disappeared under the haze. Image Credit: SeaWiFS Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE [Visualization Date: 1999-11-20. Sensor: OrbView-2/SeaWiFS]


    “An opaque layer of polluted air covers much of southeastern China, obscuring parts of the landscape. Increasing use of heating fuels like wood and coal contributes to this haze. The image, captured on January 2, 2000, is from the NASA Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS). (Courtesy SeaWiFs Project, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center, and ORBIMAGE)”

    Encroaching Deserts

    The Gobi Desert: China’s Green Walls Losing the Battle Against Encroaching Deserts


    Outside of Shanshan, Xinjiang China. Photo Credit: pmorgan via flickr

    Pollution

    Pollution in China Photo Gallery (11 pictures)


    “Wuhan, Hebei province: A man collects dead fish in Donghu lake, where officials say an estimated 30,000kg of fish have been killed by a combination of pollution and hot weather
    Photograph: Wuhan/AP” Image may be subject to copyright.
    See Feww Fair Use Notice!

    DSS [Dust and Sand Storm]


    A severe DSS (dust and sandstorm) originating from China blanketed South Korea. A road in Yeouido, Seoul is obscured by sand and dust on March 21, 2002. [Photo Credit: english.chosun.com] Image may be subject to copyright. See Feww Fair Use Notice!

    Sinking Cities

    Desertification

    The catch is that China has become not just the world’s manufacturer but its despoiler, on a scale as monumental as its economic expansion. A fourth of the country is now desert. More than three-fourths of its forests have disappeared. Each year, uncontrollable underground fires, sometimes triggered by lightning or mining accidents, consume 200 million tons of coal, contributing massively to global warming. A miasma of lead, mercury, sulfur dioxide, and other elements of coal-burning and car exhaust hovers over most Chinese cities. An excerpt from: China’s pollution nightmare is now everyone’s pollution nightmare

    Water Pollution


    Harbin, China. NASA image by Robert Simmon, based on Landsat-7 data provided by the UMD Global Land Cover Facility. Below excerpts from NASA Earth Observatory :

    The Songhua River flows north out of the Changbai Mountains, cutting across the Manchurian Plain of northern China. As China’s northernmost river system, the Songhua is an important artery in transporting agricultural products grown on the plain. On its northward course, the river wends its way past Harbin, the capital of China’s Heilongjiang Province, where it provides another lifeline. As much as 80 percent of the city’s public water supply comes directly from the river. That supply was cut off after an explosion at a petrochemical plant dumped 100 tons of benzene and other harmful chemicals into the river on November 13, 2005. As the chemical slick reached the city, officials turned off water supplies to prevent illness until the chemicals passed.

    This Landsat image, taken on September 21, 2001, shows Harbin’s relationship with the Songhua. The city extends south and east from the banks of the river. A few smaller communities line the opposite bank of the river, connected by a maze of tan dirt roads. The city itself appears to be densely populated with a few small green squares of park or open land.

    China: Facts and Trends

    First Development, Then Environment

    “China’s rapid growth has affected everything from world energy supplies to grain prices and is now threatening the health of its citizens. The environmental degradation that continues to coexist with economic growth has caused unsustainable rates of deforestation, high levels of air pollution, and low levels of water quality and quantity. This paper addresses the current environmental situation and focuses on the struggle for clean water.” Excerpt from Environmental and Water Scarcity Issues in China

    Lin Fen: The Dirtiest City In the World


    Image Courtesy of Tim Wang @ Tim Wang’s eLearning Blog

    Posted in air pollution, China, Climate Change, DSS, Encroaching Deserts, energy, environment, Grinding Poverty, health, Lethal Pollution, politics, sinking cities, Travel, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , , | 3 Comments »

    Toxic Sludge

    Posted by feww on March 25, 2008

    New Zealand: Contaminated Soil, Air, Water

    “Unsustainable industrial and farming activities [have resulted] in chemical contamination of soil, air and water. Arsenic, copper, DDT, dieldrin and lead are the lethal legacy of decades of unsustainable agriculture. Successive governments have advocated for the use of toxic pesticides in New Zealand. [Administrator] Officials assured New Zealanders these pesticides were safe, even in the face of evidence that showed otherwise. Some persistent pesticides, like endosulphan, are still allowed, creating the contaminated sites of the future.” ~ Green Party of Aotearoa NZ


    Toxic Sludge. Photo Credit: NZ Greens

    Posted in air, new zealand, soil, Toxic Sludge, water, Water pollution | 6 Comments »

    Canada: A Cesspool of Industrial Pollution

    Posted by edro on March 21, 2008

    The poorest environmental records of the industrialized countries

    Report: Canada has one of the poorest environmental records of the industrialized countries. The primary finding is that for the twenty-five environmental indicators examined, Canada’s overall ranking among OECD nations is a dismal 28th out of 29. See: Abstract

    Posted in air polution, Canada, energy, OECD, waste, Water pollution | Leave a Comment »

    Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part III

    Posted by feww on March 21, 2008

    WILD FACTS SERIES –
    Tourism: The Most Destructive Human Activity After Warfare

    • After warfare, tourism [euphemistically eco-tourism] is the most destructive human activity. ~ EDRO

    • Tourism [euphemistically and deceitfully referred to as eco-tourism] Is Eco-Terrorism!

    • A Definition of Eco-terrorism by Paul Watson: An act that terrorizes other species and threatens the ecological systems of the planet.

    Basic ecological facts:

    1. Human activities degrade ecosystems.
    2. Intensive human activities destroy ecosystems.
    3. After warfare, tourism is the most destructive human activity. ~
    EDRO

    An excerpt from: Beautiful coastlines disappearing under concrete
    Humans may live in almost every corner of the globe, but our favourite place is the sea. As coastlines around the world are [rapidly] turned into new housing, holiday homes, and tourist developments, this intense human presence is taking a huge toll on marine ecosystems and species.

    • Coastal areas are the most densely populated areas.
    • Tourism is the world’s top growth industry.
    • The coasts are a powerful magnet for tourism.
    • The continental shelf is among the most productive and biologically diverse areas on Earth.
    • About 80% of all tourist flock to coastal areas.
    • Beaches and coral reefs are the most popular destinations.
    • The coral reefs in Honolulu, Hong Kong, Manila, and Singapore have been destroyed mainly from coastal development.
    • Eight of the world’s ten mega cities are located on the coast: Buenos Aires, Calcutta, Lagos, Los Angeles, Mumbai, New York City, Shanghai, and Tokyo.

    “Massive influxes of tourists, often to a relatively small area, have a huge impact. They add to the pollution, waste, and water needs of the local population, putting local infrastructure and habitats under enormous pressure. For example, 85% of the 1.8 million people who visit Australia’s Great Barrier Reef are concentrated in two small areas, Cairns and the Whitsunday Islands, which together have a human population of just 130,000 or so.” WWF Reported.

    In New Zealand about one half of a million tourists go dolphin watching and more than one million visitors whale-watching off Kaikoura each year. As a result, up to 10 per cent of bottlenose dolphins in New Zealand’s Fiordland are injured and scarred by collisions with boats.

    The 2.6 million “eco-tourists” who fly to New Zealand each year to watch whales and dolphins destroy the marine environment and harm the creatures they come in contact with. But the marine pollution, the harm and the damage they inflict on the defenseless creatures is only part of the overall picture. The visitors consume an estimated 3.2 billion gallons of fuel to fly in and out of New Zealand.

    Overdevelopment
    The largest sources of stress to the marine ecosystems are mega developments in coastal areas built to attract tourists including airports, resorts, golf courses, marinas, duty-free shopping centers and amusement parks.

    In many areas “mangrove forests and seagrass meadows have been removed to create open beaches tourist developments such as piers and other structures have been built directly on top of coral reefs.”


    Mangrove Forest (Photo Credit: NOAA)

    The Insanity of Tourism

    • Many tourist resorts discharge their untreated sewage into the coastal waters.
    • Jet skiing, boating, sailing, windsurfing, diving, snorkeling, and fishing have destroyed coral reefs in many parts of the world.
    • Building Dams, dykes, and other protection against storm surges and high tides destroy ecosystems and rare habitats like salt marshes.
    • Providing additional food and freshwater for millions of tourists is a major problem. Dramatic increases in consumption of seafood leads to overfishing. Local sources of freshwater and other natural resources are degraded. Collecting or trading in marine souvenirs accelerate the rate by which marine ecosystems are degraded and destroyed.
    • Increasing numbers of dolphins, whales, marine turtles, sharks, seals and birds are disturbed, injured or killed from accidents with large numbers of boats ferrying “eco-tourists” close to their habitats.

    Superjumbo Floating Towns

    Increasingly, popular cruise ships capable of carrying up to 6,000 passengers and crew are a major source of marine pollution. Weighing in excess of 160,000 tons, the billion-dollar 340-meter long sea monsters (they contain 1,700-seat theaters, shopping malls, a hospital and 3 massive wave pools one with a surf simulator) pollute the marine environment through dumping millions of tons of untreated sewage, garbage cleaning agents, chemicals and bilge oil (a mixture of oil, water, lubricants, and other pollutants) as well as tens of billions of tons of ballast water. [The Floating Towns consume about 13 tons of fuel per hour!]

    “Dumped bilge oil accounts for nearly 10% of all oil entering the oceans each year. On the eastern coast of Canada alone, dumped bilge oil kills at least 300,000 seabirds each year – more than the total number killed by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska in 1989.” WWF reports .

    The Fastest-growing Sector
    Tourism is the world’s fastest-growing economic sector; it generates about 12 percent of Global Domestic Product, GDP, Employs about 250 million people, and transports nearly 1billion overseas travelers per year.

    The Continental Shelf

    The continental shelf, the extended perimeter of each continent and its associated coastal plain, holds about 85 percent of all ocean resources.

    sediment.png
    The Coast and its associated continental shelf. Credit: wikimedia


    cyan-hl.png
    Credit NOAA
    . Source: Wikimedia

    Comments by Readers
    :

    [Quote] Unless you can walk, swim or skydive to your “eco-tourism” destination WITHOUT stressing the earth, [eating, drinking otherwise] littering the environment or relieving yourself during the visit, “eco-tourism” IS an oxymoron.

    Eco tourism destroys biodiversity and harms local communities AND is a greenwash. http://www.twnside.org.sg/title/eco5.htm

    Eco tourism is harming marine wildlife. http://www.cdnn.info/eco/e020829/e020829.html

    dead-baby-dolphins.jpg
    The Baby Dolphins Death Row in New Zealand

    A good Eco-Tourist stays at home; otherwise, they build a Hotel on top of the Eco-Systems they think they are saving. http://www.hobotraveler.com/2005/05/agro-tourism.html

    cut-open-by-ecotourism.jpg
    The New Zealand Deep Cut: photos courtesy of Care For The Wild International

    Adventure travel and Eco-tourism destroy the very things they are supposed to venerate http://photo.net/bboard/q-and-a-fetch-msg?msg_id=000Fwi

    Building of dams and development of eco tourism destroy the ecology of the regions and the natural environment. http://nara.tumblr.com/post/8465159

    A major impact on the forest are the pressures caused by accommodating the physical needs and comforts of tourists; impacts of providing wood for fuel, accommodation and access routes, together with the problems caused by tourists’ rubbish, put a large stress on the environment. For example, litter has been strewn along the trails of popular Himalayan tourist routes, and the alpine forest decimated by trekkers looking for fuel to heat their food and bath water [and dump their feces]. http://www.unesco.org/education/tlsf/TLSF/theme_c/mod16/uncom16t03s02.htm

    The “Knights of Eco Tourism” [and their airlines, hotel chains…] are the rubber barons of 21st century. [end quote] ~ submitted by Lisa

    [Quote] Monetizing Earth’s ecosystems is the most troubling issue that hasn’t been addressed. The argument that “looking at only the damage side of eco-tourism is ignoring the impact of whatever activity the land might otherwise be put to if not for eco-tourism” is fallacious. The former British Crime [Genocide] Minister, Tony Blair, was once asked why Britain under his Labor government exports more weapons then ever before [about $10 billion each year]. His reply was, if Britain didn’t export weapons someone else would! [If such fallacy goes unchecked, the only possible outcome of the vicious spiral of destruction in any system, social or ecological, would be the ultimate demise of that system, its total collapse.]

    Tourism, by definition, is a business activity that involves providing accommodation, food, services, entertainment… for people who visit a place for pleasure. In our exponential growth culture, businesses must grow exponentially in order to remain viable, let alone be profitable. Exponential growth in tourism means larger numbers of visitors crowding into the same attractions; in the case of eco-tourism, frequently, fragile ecosystems are damaged irreversibly. Eco-tourism, like plague, destroys everything in its path.

    One of the links Lisa posted, “Eco tourism harming New Zealand’s marine wildlife,” is about the mounting impact of tourism on whales and dolphins around New Zealand’s coastline: http://www.cdnn.info/eco/e020829/e020829.html

    injured-mutiliated-killed.jpg
    Hector’s Dolphin: More marine mammals are being injured and killed in collisions with boats carrying Eco-tourists in New Zealand. Photo courtesy of CDNN

    Here are some of the facts quoted from the report:

    About one half of a million tourists go dolphin watching in New Zealand. “Whale-watching off Kaikoura attracts up to one million visitors a year.”

    “In Fiordland, 7 per cent of bottlenose dolphins had been scarred by collisions with boats, said Otago University marine ecologist David Lusseau.”

    “‘I am afraid Doubtful Sound will become another Milford Sound, where about 7 per cent of the population bear scars from boat collisions and where dolphins avoid the fiord when boat traffic is too intense,’ he said.”

    As for the pollution created by the air travel to New Zealand, “About 1.56million visitors from Northern Hemisphere [about 62% of the total number of tourists who visited New Zealand in 2006] produced a total of 17million tons of CO2e on their return flights to New Zealand last year, which significantly contributed to further deterioration of our failing ecosystems.”
    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO0611/S00286.htm

    To watch dolphins, whales… the “eco-tourists” from North America and Europe consumed about 2.71 billion gallons of fuel on their return flight to New Zealand.

    As Lisa says, a good eco-tourist should stay at home to avoid flying, driving and building hotels, roads and other infrastructure on top of the eco-systems they are trying to save.

    There’s no reason why concerned local communities couldn’t take advantage of the 21st century’s bleeding-edge technology videoing their precious ecosystems and broadcasting to paid subscribers (the true eco-tourists) throughout the world. Financially, it’s a much more viable option. It makes perfect commercial sense when compared to building harmful, expensive accommodation and infrastructure accommodating the tourists. Environmentally, it’s an infinitely more intelligent option because of the near zero impact on both the local ecosystems and biosphere. [End quote] ~ A Concerned Reader

    Related Links:

    Coastal Development

    Coastal development like below projects destroy marine habitat.

    coastal-development.jpg
    Another Coastal Development. Source: Social responses (PDF)


    Huntington Beach, California.


    Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)


    Source: Blog of San Diego


    Acapulco Hotels, Mexico. Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)


    China (Source: Watthead) Image may be subject to copyright.


    Image may be subject to copyright. (Source Google)



    The Palm, Deirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
    See FEWW Fair Use Notice.



    The Palm, Jumeirah, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
    See FEWW Fair Use Notice.


    The Palm, Jebel Ali, Dubai, United Arab Emirates Copyright © 2007 The Emirates Network
    See FEWW Fair Use Notice.

    Plastic Pollution

    alba.jpg
    moore-trashed-pacificnov03a.jpg
    (Above) Albatross chick (Photo Credit: Cynthia Vanderlip. Source: mindfully.org)
    (Below) Decomposed carcass of a Laysan albatross on Kure Atoll (North Pacific)
    with gut full of plastic objects.
    “The bird probably mistook the plastics for food and
    ingested them while foraging for prey. The plastic goes down the gullet quite easily.
    But since it is not digested, as in the original plan for all life, it gets stuck before
    exiting the stomach. There it sits to block the entry and digestion of legitimate food.
    Even the tiniest of pieces can cause blockages.” (source:
    mindfully.org)

    Only if all nations adopt a “Zero Waste” policy, could marine pollution be stopped!

    ocean-polution-credit-gavin-newman.jpg
    Ocean Pollution: Shamefully yours! (Credit: Gavin Newman)

    Impacts of Coastal Armoring

    “Environmental impacts of coastal armoring are both site specific and cumulative. Coastal armoring can potentially damage or alter local coastal habitats, deprive beaches of sand, lead to accelerated erosion of adjacent beaches, hinder access and present problems with public safety.”

    Photo Credit: NOAA

    Coming Soon:
    Oil Pollution

    References:

    • Landry, C.A., S. Manning, and A.O. Cheek. 2004. Hypoxia suppresses reproduction in Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. e.hormone 2004 conference. Oct. 27-30. New Orleans.
    • Murphy, C. . . . P. Thomas, et al. 2004. Modeling the effects of multiple anthropogenic and environmental stressors on Atlantic croaker populations using nested simulation models and laboratory data. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
    • Johanning, K., et al. 2004. Assessment of molecular interaction between low oxygen and estrogen in fish cell culture. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
    • Nutrients in the Nation’s Waters–Too Much of a Good Thing? U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1136.

    Related Links:

    Please see our Fair Use Notice!


    Posted in ballast water, bilge oil, dolphins, Overdevelopment, Water pollution, whales | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

    Oceans, Where Life Started, Are Dying – Part II

    Posted by feww on March 16, 2008

    WILD FACTS SERIES – Lethal Marine Pollution

    Major Problems: Fertilizer Runoff; Tourism; Coastal Developments; Marine Transportation; and Ocean Warming due to climate change

    Pollution Load

    About 80% of the pollution load in the oceans originates from land-based activities directly affecting up to 80 percent of the world’s coastal areas and threatening the well-being of up to 4.5 billion people who live within a 60km radius of the coast, according to the UNEP (about 2billion people live in coastal urban centers).

    mega-cities
    Of the world’s 23 mega-cities (those with over 2.5 million inhabitants),
    16 are in the coastal belt and are growing at a rate of about one million
    people per day. ~ UN (Image credit: NOAA)

    The sources of water pollution include

    • Municipal and industrial wastes
    • Agricultural runoff
    • Atmospheric deposition


    Creeping Dead Zone (Pub. Domain. Credit NASA)

    Creeping Dead Zones

    The hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the oceans are called dead zones. The 200 or so oxygen depleted regions in our oceans are normally caused by nutrients from runoff (chemical fertilizer, manure, sewage…). The increase in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous in the water is called eutrophication, a process that promotes excessive growth and decay of weedy plants and that is likely to cause severe reductions in water quality. When the decaying organic matter produced by aquatic vegetation or phytoplankton (an algal bloom) sinks to the bottom it undergoes breakdown by bacteria (bacterial respiration), a process which consumes the dissolved oxygen in the water and produces carbon dioxide. Respiration kills zooplankton, fish, crabs, clams, shrimp, and all other species that swim in the water or dwell on the muddy bottom of the lakes, rivers, estuaries and other water bodies. The water becomes cloudy and turns to a shade of red, yellow, green, or brown.

    The size of aquatic and marine dead zones varies from about 1 to 70,000 square kilometers.


    A dense bloom of poisonous cyanobacteria in the Potomac River estuary
    (Credit:NOAA)

    Gulf of Mexico

    The largest dead zone in the US coastal waters measures about 25,000 square kilometer in the Gulf of Mexico caused by high-nutrient runoff dumped by the Mississippi River whose vast drainage basin covers the Midwest, the center of U.S. agribusiness. Another dead zone off the coast of Texas was discovered in July 2007.

    According to a USGS study most of nutrients (75 percent of nitrogen and phosphorus) come from just nine states (total of 31 states share the basin) in the Mississippi River Basin: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee. Some 12 percent of the pollution originates from urban sources.

    • Corn and soybean cultivation is responsible for the largest share of nitrogen runoff to the Gulf.
    • Animal manure (see also New Zealand and Australia) on pasture and rangelands contribute a total of 37 percent to phosphors pollution.
    • Crop cultivation is responsible for a total of 43 percent of phosphorus runoff.

    Low oxygen levels in the waters of the Gulf Coast have affected the fish reproductive system causing “decreased size of reproductive organs, low egg counts and lack of spawning.” The nation’s largest and most productive fisheries are threatened as the result.

    The Following excerpts are from Wikipedia: In a study of the Gulf killifish by the Southeastern Louisiana University done in three bays along the Gulf Coast, fish living in bays where the oxygen levels in the water dropped to 1 to 2 parts per million (ppm) for 3 or more hours per day were found to have smaller reproductive organs. The male gonads were 34% to 50% as large as males of similar size in bays where the oxygen levels were normal (6 to 8 ppm). Females were found to have ovaries that were half as large as those in normal oxygen levels. The number of eggs in females living in hypoxic waters were only one-seventh the number of eggs in fish living in normal oxygen levels. (Landry, et al., 2004)

    Another study by the University of Texas at Austin Marine Science Institute was done on the Atlantic croaker fish in Pensacola Bay, Florida. The study was of year-old croakers that live in an estuary that has summer-long hypoxic conditions. During the study, none of the fish spawned at the expected time, or later. Examination of sample fish determined that they lacked mature eggs or sperm. (Murphy, et al., 2004)

    Fish raised in laboratory created hypoxic conditions showed extremely low sex-hormone concentrations and increased elevation of activity in two genes triggered by the hypoxia-inductile factor (HIF) protein. Under hypoxic conditions, HIF pairs with another protein, ARNT. The two then bind to DNA in cells, activating genes in those cells.

    Under normal oxygen conditions, ARNT combines with estrogen to activate genes. Hypoxic cells in a test tube didn’t react to estrogen placed in the tube. HIF appears to render ARNT unavailable to interact with estrogen, providing a mechanism by which hypoxic conditions alter reproduction in fish. (Johanning, et. al, 2004)

    It might be expected that fish would flee this potential suffocation, but they are often quickly rendered unconscious and doomed. Slow moving bottom-dwelling creatures like clams, lobsters and oysters are unable to escape. All colonial animals are extinguished. The normal mineralization and recycling that occurs among benthic life-forms is stifled.

    According to USGS Associate Director for Water, Dr. Robert Hirsch, the number of water quality monitoring stations along the Mississippi River Basin region has been decimated from 425 stations 15 years ago to just 32.


    A combined sewer overflow runoff entering Fall Creek in Indianapolis, Indiana
    (photo credit: Charles Crawford; courtesy USGS).

    Agrofuel [biofuel] Crop Impact in The Gulf of Mexico

    According to a computer model designed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of British Columbia, the exponentially increasing amounts of fertilizer needed to meet US production goals for biofuel production, especially the corn-ethanol, would increase the nitrogen loading from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico by up to 19 percent, increasing the size of dead zones.

    The Mississippi River is about 2,300 miles (3,705 kilometers) long, according to the US Geologic survey. The River Basin or Watershed drains 41% of land in United States, an area of about 1.8 million square miles. Thirty-one states and two Canadian provinces are included in the watershed. The Mississippi carries an average of 500,000 tons of sediment each day.

    The US Pacific Coast

    Dead zone in the US Pacific coast covers an area of about 3,000 square kilometers. Worsened by strong winds caused by climate change, the Pacific dead zone has reoccurred every summer since 2002. See Photos of research during hypoxic events off the Oregon Coast

    ROW

    Other countries and regions where other dead zones have been reported since the 1970s include

    • Chesapeake Bay (US)
    • strait called the Kattegat strait (Scandinavia)
    • The Baltic Sea (in multiple fishing grounds)
    • Northern Adriatic
    • And coastal waters of
    • South America
    • China
    • Japan
    • Throughout Southeast Australia
    • New Zealand (Both Australia and NZ are major sources of industrial agriculture as well as sheep and cattle factory farming)


    A map of the world’s dead zones created by Dr. Robert Diaz of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS). Diaz estimates that the number of dead zones will double within a decade. Source: NASA

    Coming Soon:
    Oil Pollution

    References:

    • Landry, C.A., S. Manning, and A.O. Cheek. 2004. Hypoxia suppresses reproduction in Gulf killifish, Fundulus grandis. e.hormone 2004 conference. Oct. 27-30. New Orleans.
    • Murphy, C. . . . P. Thomas, et al. 2004. Modeling the effects of multiple anthropogenic and environmental stressors on Atlantic croaker populations using nested simulation models and laboratory data. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
    • Johanning, K., et al. 2004. Assessment of molecular interaction between low oxygen and estrogen in fish cell culture. Fourth SETAC World Congress, 25th Annual Meeting in North America. Nov. 14-18. Portland, Ore.
    • Nutrients in the Nation’s Waters–Too Much of a Good Thing? U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1136.

    Related Links:

    See Also:  Our Dying Oceans (Parts I, II,III, and IV)

    FEWW Fair Use Notice!

    Posted in Climate Change, Coastal Developments, eco tourism, Fertilizer Runoff, Ocean Warming, Tourism, Water pollution | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

     
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