Pollution


Is this the solution to our waste problems? A research team at the University College London is working towards the creation of a Plastic Republic by 2030 in the North Pacific, and funding the project by selling off parcels of land on the future island:

We intend to engineer enhanced adhesive properties in Escherichia coli and marine bacteria to alter the composition and dynamics of resultant biofilms for the adhesion of micro-plastic pollutants, with an extended vision of creating mass aggregates, or ‘Plastic Islands’.

After months of planning, we are now rallying to construct a ‘plastic island’ using the principles of synthetic biology. In so doing we hope to provide a solution to one of the world’s major environmental problems – the North Pacific Garbage Patch.






Is the coming tide an uninhabitable ocean? Reports the AFP via Alternet: High levels of pollution may be turning the planet’s oceans acidic at a faster rate than at any time in…


Via ScienceDaily: Scientists are reporting discovery of an improved way to remove carbon dioxide — the major greenhouse gas that contributes to global warming — from smokestacks and other sources, including the…


When researching your local natural environs involves a DVD of The Shining…Via the International Business Times: The Jian River in Luoyang, China had become a “river of blood”…Locals were subject to the…


Not that this should be any great surprise, but maybe now that scientists are able to measure the adverse effects of combustion-engine vehicle pollution, legislators will take action. One can dream, anyway. From the Wall Street Journal:

Congested cities are fast becoming test tubes for scientists studying the impact of traffic fumes on the brain.

As roadways choke on traffic, researchers suspect that the tailpipe exhaust from cars and trucks—especially tiny carbon particles already implicated in heart disease, cancer and respiratory ailments—may also injure brain cells and synapses key to learning and memory.

New public-health studies and laboratory experiments suggest that, at every stage of life, traffic fumes exact a measurable toll on mental capacity, intelligence and emotional stability…






Space JunkVia the BBC:

Scientists in the US have warned NASA that the amount of so-called space junk orbiting Earth is at tipping point. A report by the National Research Council says the debris could cause fatal leaks in spaceships or destroy valuable satellites.

It calls for international regulations to limit the junk and more research into the possible use of launching large magnetic nets or giant umbrellas. The debris includes clouds of minuscule fragments, old boosters and satellites.

Some computer models show the amount of orbital rubbish “has reached a tipping point, with enough currently in orbit to continually collide and create even more debris, raising the risk of spacecraft failures,” the research council said in a statement on Thursday.




Sand has been used as a purifier for thousands of years. An innovative way of cleaning water, by adding graphite waste, provides a cost affective way to bring purified water to those who may not normally have access to a clean water source. Via Treehugger:

The solution is cheap since the sources of graphite could include the waste produced by graphite mining companies that still contains a significant amount of graphite. And the researchers believe that it is possible to modify the graphite oxide to pick out particular pollutants and therefore tailor the super sand to specific areas that might be having trouble with certain water-borne diseases or pollutants.






This sounds familiar, did they get advice from BP? The Guardian reports: Engineers battling to contain the crisis at Japan‘s Fukushima nuclear power plant appeared to have turned an important corner last…