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Earth is fighting to stay alive. Mass dieoffs, triggered by anthropogenic assault and fallout of planetary defense systems offsetting the impact, could begin anytime!

Posts Tagged ‘mercury contamination’

Mercury Threat to Oceans Escalating due to Climate Change

Posted by feww on January 29, 2017

More mercury than ever before threaten aquatic ecosystems –Study

Mercury levels in fish could increase by up to seven times the current levels as temperatures continue rising, say researchers.

Marine ecosystems, and mainly their coastal zones, have been estimated to contribute more than 60% of the total economic value of the biosphere . These ecosystem services are currently threatened by anthropogenic pollution and a changing climate. Increased terrestrial water runoff and accompanied input of terrestrial NOM and nutrients to lakes and coastal sea areas have been observed in several regions during the late 20th century. These increases are predicted to escalate for large regions worldwide following increased air temperatures and precipitation events.

The study Terrestrial discharges mediate trophic shifts and enhance methylmercury accumulation in estuarine biota has been published in Science Advances. 

Abstract

The input of mercury (Hg) to ecosystems is estimated to have increased two- to fivefold during the industrial era, and Hg accumulates in aquatic biota as neurotoxic methylmercury (MeHg). Escalating anthropogenic land use and climate change are expected to alter the input rates of terrestrial natural organic matter (NOM) and nutrients to aquatic ecosystems. For example, climate change has been projected to induce 10 to 50% runoff increases for large coastal regions globally. A major knowledge gap is the potential effects on MeHg exposure to biota following these ecosystem changes. We monitored the fate of five enriched Hg isotope tracers added to mesocosm scale estuarine model ecosystems subjected to varying loading rates of nutrients and terrestrial NOM. We demonstrate that increased terrestrial NOM input to the pelagic zone can enhance the MeHg bioaccumulation factor in zooplankton by a factor of 2 to 7 by inducing a shift in the pelagic food web from autotrophic to heterotrophic. The terrestrial NOM input also enhanced the retention of MeHg in the water column by up to a factor of 2, resulting in further increased MeHg exposure to pelagic biota. Using mercury mass balance calculations, we predict that MeHg concentration in zooplankton can increase by a factor of 3 to 6 in coastal areas following scenarios with 15 to 30% increased terrestrial runoff. The results demonstrate the importance of incorporating the impact of climate-induced changes in food web structure on MeHg bioaccumulation in future biogeochemical cycling models and risk assessments of Hg.

Terrestrial discharges mediate trophic shifts and enhance methylmercury accumulation in estuarine biota

Sofi Jonsson et al. http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/3/1/e1601239.full

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States of Emergency Declared in Peru and Nigeria

Posted by feww on May 24, 2016

Mercury contamination prompts state of emergency declaration in Peru

Peru’s President Ollanta Humala has declared a 60-day state of emergency in the three provinces of Madre de Dios, Southern Amazon, because of extremely high levels of mercury contamination allegedly from illegal gold mining.

The Executive Order proclaims states of emergency in the three province of Manu, Tahuamanu and Tambopata, covering the towns of  Puerto Maldonado, Inambari, Las Piedras, Labyrinth, Fitzcarrald, Huepetuhe, Madre de Dios, Iñapari and Iberia said a report.

About 41% of the population, 40,000 to 50,000 people,  have been exposed to high levels of mercury contamination, particularly in the area of the Upper and Lower Madre de Dios and reserves inhabited by indigenous people in Amarakaeri area, where the exposure is six times the maximum permissible levels, said the country’s environment minister.

The mercury exposure is poisoning the people, polluting rivers and contaminating the fish, he said.

Nigeria declares a state of emergency as insects destroy crops

Nigeria’s Kaduna State has declared a state of emergency after moths destroyed up to 80% of tomato farms across the state. The damage caused by the tomato leafminer (aka tuta absoluta and South American tomato moth) exceeds 1bn naira ($5.1m).

More than 200 tomato farms in Kaduna have been affected over the past month.

A leaf miner is the larva of an insect that lives in leaf tissue of crops and consumes it. Most leaf-mining insects are moths, sawflies (a type of wasp) and flies, though several types of beetles also destroy plants in similar ways.

“Governor Nasir El-Rufai has declared a state of emergency on tomatoes in the state. In the past one month 12 local government areas of the state who produce tomatoes have lost 80% of their tomatoes harvest,” said the Commissioner of Agriculture.

“In three local government areas about 200 farmers have lost one billion naira worth of their tomatoes. So you can imagine the magnitude of the losses. It is so severe that even Dangote [conglomerate] who has established a tomato processing plant in Kano had to shut down production.”

At least eight other states in northern Nigeria have also been affected by the insects, the Commissioner added.

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States of Emergency Declared In Canada, Peru, Puerto Rico

Posted by feww on April 11, 2016

State of emergency declared in Peru’s Ucayali community due to mercury contamination

The Ministry of Health has declared a state of emergency in the Santa Rosa de Serjali community in Ucayali due to mercury contamination.

“The community of Santa Rosa de Serjali in Ucayali has been contaminated with high levels of mercury, with symptoms first appearing as early as November of 2014,” said a report.

Mass evacuation, as massive fire continues burning at Bay de Verde

“It’s absolute devastation,” said a worker at the Bay de Verde plant. “I got a phone call this morning at 6:30 and when I got out of bed and came downstairs, all I could see was black smoke coming from down in the plant.”

“My first thought was, ‘Oh my god, what’s gonna happen?'”

“Half of the [southern section of the community of about 700] has been evacuated, our emergency plan has been initiated and I have declared a state of emergency,” said the mayor.

State of emergency declared in Attawapiskat over spate of suicide attempts

Of the 2,000 citizens of Attawapiskat on remote James Bay, 101 people have tried to kill themselves, with one person dying, since September. The youngest was 11, the oldest 71, according to the First Nation’s chief, CBC reported.

On Saturday night alone, 11 people attempted to take their own lives, said Chief Bruce Shisheesh.

The Attawapiskat First Nation is an isolated First Nation located in Kenora District in northern Ontario, Canada, at the mouth of the Attawapiskat River on James Bay.

State of emergency declared at Puerto Rico government bank

Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla has declared a state of emergency at the Government Development Bank. He says the move is intended to protect the residents.

The executive order is aimed at  protecting the bank’s dwindling liquidity by only allowing withdrawals needed for the delivery of essential public services.

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Open Sewer: The Primal Function of a River

Posted by feww on March 19, 2010

“12,000 years of [alleged] human civilization and all we have to show for is Google, Facelift [Facebook] … and cluster bombs.” —JPB

Perhaps, the title of this post could also be incorporated in the above quote, which comes from an email written by one of the blog’s contributors.

12,000 years of civilization and the Neanderthals are still using rivers as an open sewer; however, the waste is getting deadlier each year.

High levels of mercury found in Cataraqui River: Queen’s study

Public release: Queen’s University, CanadaThe Inner Harbour on the Cataraqui River in Kingston, Ont., has mercury levels in sediment more than two times the Canadian government’s most severe effect limits, according to a Queen’s University study.

“Mercury levels in this part of the river have never been studied before,” says biology professor Linda Campbell. “Now we know the sources of the problem and just how widespread it is.”

Most of the western shore of the Cataraqui River south of Belle Park and above the LaSalle Causeway Bridge had levels of contamination, with the worst area around the Cataraqui Canoe Club, just south of the former Davis Tannery.

Over the past century, the area has been home to many industries, such as a coal gasification plant, tannery and lead smelter, municipal dump, textile mill and fuel depot. The report found rain is washing contaminated shoreline soil near the canoe club into the river, adding to the sediment already contaminated by decades of industry.

The mercury comes in two forms, mercury and its organic and more toxic form, methylmercury. Right now, most of the mercury around the rowing club seems to be associated with the sediment in its inorganic form, with very little if any actually being mobile in the river water.

Rower and canoeists don’t have to be too concerned about the high mercury levels because they don’t drink the water or spend a long periods of time swimming there. But more studies will be needed to determine the impact on marine life.

“People have always been worried about lead, chromium and PCBs in the Cataraqui River,” says Professor Rutter, Director of Analytical Services Unit in the Environmental Studies department who worked on the study. “This study looked at mercury. We need to know what and where the major sources of contamination are before we can make a decision on how to solve the problem.”

The findings are were just published in Science of the Total Environment. The City of Kingston and Ontario Ministry of Environment have also received the study results for consideration when making future decisions about contaminants in the river.

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