Wet wipe pollution is clogging up riverbeds across the UK

May 2, 2018 by  
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The UK’s obsession with wet wipes is completely changing rivers around the country. A London environmental group found a 1,000-fold increase in the number of wet wipes showing up in waterways, with more than 5,000 of them covering the bed of the Thames in just 116 square meters (about 1,250 square feet). “The Thames riverbed is changing. Wet wipes are accumulating on the riverbed and affecting the shape of the riverbed,” said Kirsten Downer of Thames 21 , a non-profit working to clean up the rivers in England. “It looks natural, but when you get close you can see that these clumps are composed of wet wipes mixed with twigs and mud.” The wet wipe industry has expanded beyond baby wipes – now there’s ‘moist towelettes’ for everything, including pet wipes and anti-malarial wipes. The market is expected to grow into a $4 billion industry by 2021, and as it grows, there will be an increase in wipes polluting waterways around the world. Even though many companies advertise their products as flushable, wet wipes are usually made from cotton and plastic weaved together, which means they definitely aren’t biodegradable. People “don’t realize that you are not supposed to flush wet wipes down the toilet,” Downer said to The Guardian . Related: “Family cloths” reusable toilet wipes: gross or great? A study in the UK showed that wet wipes are particularly insidious when it comes to clogging up sewers. According to the research, wet wipes comprised 93 percent of the material in blockages. “We want people to realize that this is not just happening on the Thames, but on rivers and canals all around the country,” Downer said. “All the time we were working, people kept coming to ask what we were doing. People are far more upset and concerned about the plastics problem than they ever have been.” Via The Guardian Images via Deposit Photos and Luca Micheli

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Wet wipe pollution is clogging up riverbeds across the UK

Environmentalists want to sculpt an Arctic ice ‘Trumpmore’ to show climate change is real

May 2, 2018 by  
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Would the face of a certain climate change -denying president carved on an Arctic iceberg last for one thousand years — or melt? That’s the question an environmental group is asking. They aim to sculpt Donald Trump’s face in ice “to end the debate on climate change.” Environmental association Melting Ice aims to “build the biggest ice monument ever to test if climate change is real” with what they’re calling Project Trumpmore . Inspired partly by Trump’s alleged dream of having his face carved onto Mount Rushmore, Project Trumpmore aims to make his dream come true…but perhaps not in the way he’d like. They want to sculpt the president’s face on an iceberg with the anticipation the artwork would melt away. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The plan is to build Trumpmore to match the size of the presidents on Mount Rushmore. Read more: http://projecttrumpmore.com/#s5 Posted by Project Trumpmore on  Wednesday, April 25, 2018 Related: ‘Trump Forest’ plants trees to offset the president’s climate ignorance Nicolas Prieto, Melting Ice chairman, said in a statement, “ Global warming is one of the most important issues and topics of today. There are still people who ponder whether it’s a real issue. We want to build the monument for all of us, so we can see how long the sculpture lasts before melting. Often people only believe something when they see it with their own eyes.” According to the statement, three young men “working in the creative field” are behind the project, hoping to create a concrete symbol with what they call their scientific art project. On their website, they said if they do reach the construction phase, they’d broadcast the process, estimated to take around four weeks, on a live feed. They said “a world-leading team of Finnish and Mongolian ice sculptors” would do the carving. There’s still a ways to go — the team estimates Project Trumpmore might cost 400,000 Euros, or over $478,000 if crafted responsibly. They said on their website they’ll work to minimize the carbon dioxide emissions generated from traveling and other work on Project Trumpmore, and are aiming to launch a crowdfunding campaign. They have yet to find a location for the giant face and ask if anyone knows of one to get in touch with them. You can find out more on the Project Trumpmore website . + Project Trumpmore Image via Project Trumpmore

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Environmentalists want to sculpt an Arctic ice ‘Trumpmore’ to show climate change is real

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

March 22, 2018 by  
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Scientists recently found that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – now three times the size of France – is showing signs of exponential growth. In a new study published in the journal Nature , researchers provide a detailed analysis of the garbage patch after a monumental effort that required two planes and 18 boats to complete. “We wanted to have a clear, precise picture of what the patch looked like,” Laurent Lebreton, study lead author and lead oceanographer for the Ocean Cleanup Foundation , told the Washington Post . The study estimates that the mass of the garbage patch is four to sixteen times bigger than previously thought, highlighting the urgency of confronting global plastic pollution. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation worked in collaboration with scientists from New Zealand , the United States, Britain, France, Germany and Denmark . The study provides an in-depth account of the mass concentration within the Garbage Patch. Although the mass of the Garbage Patch appears to be growing, the study concludes that the area of the patch has remained relatively stable. This means that the Garbage Patch is simply becoming more dense. Related: The Ocean Cleanup launches San Francisco base in Pacific trash-busting bid The study also found that 46% of the Pacific Garbage Patch’s mass is composed of disposed fishing nets. “This suggests we might be underestimating how much fishing debris is floating in the oceans,” Chelsea Rochman, an assistant professor at the University of Toronto who studies marine plastic but was not associated with the study, told the Washington Post . “Entanglement and smothering from nets is one of the most detrimental observed effects we see in nature.” For all of the garbage floating in the Patch, scientists expect that much of the world’s plastic pollution is sinking, with much of that damage happening out of sight. + Nature Via the Washington Post Images via Depositphotos (1) and the Ocean Cleanup Foundation

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The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is growing at an exponential rate

Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

March 22, 2018 by  
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Could salt help soothe our climate woes? Senior scientist Robert Nelson of the Planetary Science Institute seems to think so. At a recent Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Texas, Nelson suggested that sprinkling salt above clouds could hold off sunlight and cool our planet, according to Science Magazine . But as with many geoengineering ideas, this one isn’t without controversy. Finely powdered salt injected into the upper troposphere might help humanity stave off some of the impacts of climate change, according to Nelson. His suggestion isn’t too far off those of other scientists who want to introduce microscopic particles into the stratosphere to reflect sunshine into space , imitating the impact of volcanic eruptions that have served to temporarily cool Earth. But his might be more benign than others, Science Magazine said. The senior scientist tossed out alumina or sulfur dioxide: the first could lead to chronic disease, embedding in our lungs if we inhaled it; the second could lead to acid rain or erode the ozone layer. Related: Trump administration could open door to geoengineering Instead, he turned to salt: it’s more reflective than alumina, according to Science Magazine, and harmless for people. Nelson also thinks if salt were crushed into tiny particles in the correct shape and diffused randomly, the mineral wouldn’t block infrared heat the Earth releases. Volcanologist Matthew Watson of the University of Bristol is one scientist who has called out potential problems with Nelson’s approach. He led an ultimately canceled geoengineering experiment, in which his team considered injecting salt in the stratosphere. But the substance contains a lot of chlorine , which he said could help destroy ozone. With limited amounts of water in the stratosphere, and salt so attracted to it, even a small amount could impact the formation of wispy clouds; we have know idea what consequences this would trigger. Nelson might be able to address issues by injecting salt into the upper troposphere instead of the stratosphere — at least, that’s what he hopes. But he said we should still work to curb carbon emissions , saying, “This would be a palliative, not a [long-term] solution.” Via Science Magazine Images via Depositphotos and Wikimedia Commons

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Scientists have a plan to cool the Earth with a sprinkle of salt

Bee-killing pesticides have been found in US drinking water

April 7, 2017 by  
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We’ve known that neonicotinoid insecticides are bad news for bee populations for several years now, but one thing we don’t know about these pesticides is how they impact human health. A new study from the US Geological Survey and the University of Iowa reveals how terrifying that question could be, revealing minute traces of neonicotinoid chemicals are present in at least some drinking water in the US. In the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters , researchers took samples from two water treatment plants in Iowa. Though many might assume waste treatment plants would be able to remove pesticides from drinking water, trace amounts of the neonicotinoids were still present after passing the water through the facilities’ carbon filtration systems. Granted, the amounts present ranged from 0.24 to 57.3 nanograms per liter, which Gizmodo describes as “like a single drop of water plopped into 20 Olympic-size swimming pools.” The amount is obviously incredibly small, but unfortunately scientists have no idea whether the residue that remains in drinking water could potentially impact human health. The Environmental Protection Agency has set no regulatory limits on the use of these substances, saying that previous studies have shown they have only low rates of adverse health effects for humans. There’s a catch, though – those older studies only looked at brief exposure to high concentrations of neonicotinoids. It’s still unknown whether low-level chronic exposure could result in long-term health problems. Related: Over 700 North American bee species are heading towards extinction Ideally, more research would be done to learn more about the effect these chemicals have on human health. But with Donald Trump and his cabinet attempting to loosen regulations on industries that pollute the environment and hobbling critical environmental research, it may be a few years before we know for certain whether low levels of neonicotinoids are harmful or not. Via Gizmodo Images via Pixabay ( 1 , 2 )

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Bee-killing pesticides have been found in US drinking water

Trump to sign executive orders rolling back Obama’s climate protection policies

February 21, 2017 by  
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The environment could be the next victim of President Donald Trump’s executive orders. The Washington Post reported  that according to individuals briefed on the measure, Trump is seeking to curtail some of President Barack Obama’s policies on water pollution , coal and the environment through upcoming executive orders . Signing such orders would signal the Trump administration will work to champion the fossil fuel industry , regardless of the economic growth the country could see through renewable energy . According to The Washington Post, people familiar with the proposals who asked to remain anonymous said Trump is currently preparing executive orders and could announce them later this week. The orders largely target rules put in place under Obama to protect the environment. It could take a while to actually implement the orders, but they would serve as a reminder the Trump administration is dead set on promoting fossil fuels. Related: Insider says Trump could pull America out of Paris deal within days One order could direct the Environmental Protection Agency to start rewriting a 2015 regulation limiting greenhouse gas emissions of electric utilities. Under the same order the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land Management could rescind a freeze on federal coal leasing. Another order could change the 2015 Waters of the United States rule, which provides authority for the federal government over rivers, wetlands, and streams that feed into large water bodies. The rule impacts some development that could pollute the smaller waterways. Trump has said such regulations aiming to safeguard the environment hurt economic growth. He’s condemned rules put in place to reduce the use of fossil fuels as an attack on the coal industry. While the president’s moves could face legal battles, the lifting of the coal leasing freeze could take effect immediately. Via The Washington Post Images via Wikimedia Commons and U.S. Department of the Interior on Flickr

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Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

February 21, 2017 by  
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For those looking to get away from the chaos of modern life, a stunning luxury eco-lodge is currently on the market. The solar-powered Melody Key Lodge is a timber home located on 5.24 acres of secluded island paradise, just 25 miles from Key West, Florida. But if you’re on a tight budget, you might not want to read on. The breathtaking lodge previously owned by an undisclosed rockstar comprises a three-story timber structure with three bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The top open floor, which houses the gourmet kitchen, dining area, living and lounge space, offers beautiful 360-degree views of the ocean. Lucky guests will be able to choose between a dip in the pristine beaches or the adjacent freshwater pool. Related: For $2.3 million, this breathtaking self-sufficient Scottish island could be yours The home, which is listed for $6,900,000, is perfect for wealthy folks looking to go off grid . In addition to its integrated solar system and backup generator, there’s also a desalination water system. Add in all-you-can-eat seafood, and off-grid living has never been so luxurious. + Engel & Völkers Florida Keys Via Uncrate  

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Self-sustaining island eco-lodge in Florida has its own desalination system

Over 80 percent of the well water tested in China is contaminated

April 12, 2016 by  
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Smog is often regarded as the main indicator of China’s pollution problem, but a recent study highlights another worrying issue: over 80 per cent of the well water tested is contaminated. These 2,103 underground wells provide water for country dwellers and villagers, but the data showed they are not safe for bathing or drinking. Read the rest of Over 80 percent of the well water tested in China is contaminated

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Over 80 percent of the well water tested in China is contaminated

US on course to ban harmful microbeads from bath and body products

December 9, 2015 by  
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The House of Representatives approved a bill to phase out the use of plastic microbeads in personal care products. The plan to ban microbeads in products such as body scrubs and toothpastes would take effect beginning 1 January, 2017. The next step is Senate approval, which is likely to occur based on some lawmakers already moving toward banning the beads in their states. The decision is huge for the safety of our waterways, as well as those who use them. Read the rest of US on course to ban harmful microbeads from bath and body products

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Why New York City Is Tackling Water Pollution Naturally

November 30, 2015 by  
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Brooklyn residents are very familiar with the Gowanus Canal in New York City. This canal has become one of the most polluted the waterways in the U.S. thanks to waste disposal and sewage runoff as well as industrial pollution from paper mills,…

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