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Archive for the ‘environmental disaster’ Category

Killing Life in Beijing

Posted by feww on March 26, 2014


‘The great virtue of Heaven and Earth is creating life’  —I Ching

China issued a “yellow alert” yesterday amid 5th consecutive day of deadly air pollution in Beijing, Tianjin and Hebei Provinc . Beijing AQI reached a peak of of 417 at 11:00 am local time on Wednesday.

“Foggy weather will appear in north China and areas along the Yellow and Huaihe rivers, while some parts of Beijing and Tianjin, and the provinces of Hebei, Shandong and Liaoning will see heavy air pollution until Wednesday morning, the National Meteorological Center (NMC) said on Tuesday,” Xinhua reported.

“Yellow” is the 2nd lowest [despite the life-threatening smog] of a four-tier alert system—red, orange, yellow, blue—indicating the severity of air pollution.

The reoccurring heavy smog episodes have been described as “Apocalyptic” by Beijing residents.

beijing aqi 26-03-14
AQI for Beijing and surrounding areas. Source:

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Posted in Environmental Catastrophe, environmental disaster, Environmental Holocaust, Global Disaster watch, global disasters, global health catastrophe, significant events | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Puyehue Ash: Patagonia Declared a Disaster Area

Posted by feww on July 5, 2011

Patagonia mountain in SW Argentina has been declared a disaster area due to Puyehue ash

Argentine government has declared the Patagonia mountain range in SW Argentina an environmental disaster area because of the millions of tons of volcanic ash from Puyehue eruption that have blanketed the entire region.

The country’s air travel and tourism industries have been severely affected by the ongoing eruption that began on June 4.

The skiing resort city of Bariloche and Villa La Angostura in the Andean mountains have been among the hardest hit areas, with the airports in both cities remaining shut since the eruption began.

The two provinces of Rio Negro and Neuquen, located at the northern edge of Patagonia, have also been declared as disaster areas due to loss of livestock, crops and severe damage.

Some 4,300 Chileans who were forced to evacuate after the eruption were allowed to return to their homes on Sunday, reports said.

“In a speech broadcast on national television, Kirchner said $2.41 billion [pesos, or about 600million dollars] would also be awarded to 1,400 farmers and businesses in the affect area on the condition that they don’t fire their workers.” AFP reported.

However, the border crossing between Chile and Argentina at Cardenal Samore remains closed because large sections of the road on both sides of the crossing are buried under a thick layer of volcanic debris.

Movement of volcanic ash clouds from Puyehue-Cordon Caulle Eruption between 5 and 12 June, 2011. Credit: NOAA and EUMETSAT

Puyehue eruption has forced thousands of flight cancellations in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Paraguay and Uruguay and, causing major disruptions in air travel throughout the Southern Hemisphere.

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Posted by feww on November 18, 2010

Bleeding Heart!

How to Turn the World’s Fourth Largest Lake into a Desert

The Bleeding Heart of Central Asia! The vast salt plain that encompasses what was once the Aral Sea is now called the Aralkum Desert.
Image Source: ESA. Click image to enlarge. Download HI-RES (JPEG 818 kb)

Original caption: This Landsat image features the heart-shaped northern tip of the western half of the Large Aral Sea (or South Aral Sea) in Central Asia. The whitish area surrounding the lakebed is a vast salt plain, now called the Aralkum Desert, left behind by the evaporating sea. The Thematic Mapper on Landsat 5, jointly managed by NASA and the US Geological Survey, acquired this image on 24 July 2010. ESA supports the Landsat series as a Third Party Mission, meaning it uses its ground infrastructure and expertise to acquire, process and distribute Landsat data to users.

Map of Aral Sea. Source: World Bank.

Once described as the world’s fourth largest lake, fed by two major rivers of Amu Darya in the south, and the Syr Darya in the north,  Aral Sea spanned an area of about  70,000 km² with a total volume of more than 1 trillion cubic meters  (1,000 cubic km) in 1960. The bountiful sea provided annual catches of about 50,000 tons without fail.  The scenic deltas of its major tributaries, dotted with dozens of smaller lakes, were rich wetlands and marshes teeming with life, covering an area larger than half a million hectares.

The Aral Sea has been shrinking steadily since 1960, as water was diverted for irrigation. It reduced to a pond measuring about 8% of its original size in 2007, and split into three lakes: North Aral Sea, and the two heavily shrunk eastern and western basins of the South Aral Sea.

The south-eastern lake completely disappeared last year, leaving behind the south-western lake, now a thin strip of shallow water. (See image).

Aral Sea captured by MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite –  true-color image dated March 26, 2010. A plume of dust blows from the sediments of the South Aral Sea toward the southeast, along the Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan border. Northeast of the plume, two red outlines indicate hotspots associated with fires.The lakebed sediments, prone to forming dust plumes, have become a repository for salt, fertilizers, and pesticides and pose a threat to human health in the region. Source: Nasa/Modis website.

Two images of Aral Sea. L: 2008. R:1989.  Source: Nasa

This natural-color satellite image shows the Aral Sea on August 16, 2008. The colored contour lines show the approximate shorelines of the sea since 2000. The image is from the MODIS on NASA’s Aqua satellite. The contour lines are based on MODIS data. The image documents the progress of a conservation plan to stabilize the North Aral Sea, and the continued decline of the South Aral Sea. Deeper, clearer waters are darker blue; shallower, murkier waters are greenish. Source: NASA

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Posted in Aral Sea, Aralkum Desert, Environment Holocaust, Environmental Catastrophe, environmental disaster | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Australia hit by another man-made disaster

Posted by feww on March 13, 2009

Container ship leaked much more oil off Queensland coast than originally reported

Parts of Australia’s northeast coast of Queensland was declared a disaster area Friday after a massive oil spill from a damaged cargo ship, The Pacific Adventurer, contaminated numerous beaches.

Oil escapes: divers discovered further damage in the ship’s hull (Greens/Senator Bob Brown, via Abc News Au).

“Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh declared Moreton Island, Bribie Island and southern parts of the Sunshine Coast as disaster zones after a ship lost more than 30 tons of fuel when its hull was pierced by a container washed overboard.” A report said.

“It may well be the worst environmental disaster Queensland has ever seen,” Bligh told Australian Associated Press. “The ship was capable of carrying 100 tons of oil and the spill was now much larger than initial reports indicated.”

Map of Australia with a blow-up of southeast Queensland and the  Sunshine Coast. The Sunshine Coast has a population of about 290,000 with an additional 50,000 visitors and seasonal workers.

“At least 60 kilometers (37 miles) of beach coastline had been covered by the slick, which came from the Hong Kong-flagged ship Pacific Adventurer after it was damaged on Tuesday in heavy seas generated by tropical cyclone Hamish.” The report said.

“If there is any grounds for prosecution of this ship and its owners, we will not hesitate to take that action. We will also be pursuing them for compensation as this is going to be a very big clean-up cost,” Bligh said.

Blackened sandy beach near Cape Moreton on Moreton Island, Queensland. Photo: AP. Image may be subject to copyright.

Ship owner Swire Shipping had previously stated that  no more than 42,000 liters of oil escaped from the ship; however, they now say substantially more oil was spilled.

Popular tourist resorts including the coastal towns of Caloundra, Mooloolaba, Maroochydore and Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine coast, have been affected by the large spill.

Tire tracks seen near  Queensland. Photo: EPA.
Image may be subject to copyright.

“It’s certainly bigger than the first reports I was getting in terms of the extent of it and the magnitude of what’s impacting our beaches,” Sunshine Coast Council Environment Manager Stephen Skull said.

Environmental Protection Agency, which has closed access to a number of beaches and camping grounds in the area,  said the spill had already affected dozens of  seabirds and turtles.

Disaster zone: Warana beach on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.  Photo: EPA. Image may be subject to copyright.

Meanwhile, the search is on for 31 containers of ammonium nitrate, used for making explosives and fertilizer, which were lost from the ship near Brisbane, Queensland’s regional capital.

“If the containers, which have 620 tons of ammonium nitrate, leak it could cause major algae blooms which would choke marine life in Moreton Bay,” say marine scientists.

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Posted in Bribie Island, disaster zone, environmental disaster, Sunshine Coast, The Pacific Adventurer | Tagged: , , , , | 12 Comments »