Tag Archives | Pollution

EPA Puts Former Senior Administrator Who Supported Whistleblower in Prison

EPAVia Corporate Crime Reporter:

Where are the criminal prosecutions of the major corporations responsible for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? Still nowhere to be found. Where are the prosecutors? Where is the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)? Not prosecuting major polluters.

Instead, what are they doing? Cracking down on whistleblowers. And those who support whistleblowers. While the corporate crooks are running free.

Next time you think of this disparity of justice, remember these two words: Jon Grand.

For more than twenty years, Grand was a senior administrator at the EPA in Chicago. Never had a run in with the law. Then, he made the mistake of supporting an EPA whistleblower.

In 2000, Grand was talking on the phone with colleagues in Washington. And the EPA people in Washington were making disparaging remarks about Marsha Coleman-Adebayo – a young African-American EPA staffer who was suing the EPA and its administrator – Carol Browner – for race and sex discrimination.

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Pollutants Linked to 450% Increase in Risk of Birth Defects in Rural China

China PollutionForget climate change deniers, there are more urgent reasons to eliminate pollution. Via ScienceDaily:

Pesticides and pollutants are related to a 450 percent increase in the risk of spina bifida and anencephaly in rural China, according to scientists at The University of Texas at Austin and Peking University.Two of the pesticides found in high concentrations in the placentas of affected newborns and stillborn fetuses were endosulfan and lindane. Endosulfan is only now being phased out in the United States for treatment of cotton, potatoes, tomatoes and apples. Lindane was only recently banned in the United States for treatment of barley, corn, oats, rye, sorghum and wheat seeds.

Strong associations were also found between spina bifida and anencephaly and high concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), which are byproducts of burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal. Spina bifida is a defect in which the backbone and spinal canal do not close before birth.

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Solar Plant Pollutes River in China … Riots Ensue

Solar PanelWhat does sustainability truly mean in an industrial world? Villagers in Zhejiang Province are wondering the same thing since the production of solar cells and batteries at a factory in the area has effectively poisoned their river and their children … Via the BBC:

Hundreds of villagers in eastern China have held three days of protests at a solar panel plant over pollution fears. Around 500 people started gathering at Zhejiang Jinko Solar company in Haining city, Zhejiang province, on Thursday. Some of protesters stormed the factory, overturning several company cars and destroying offices, officials said. Residents in the nearby village of Hongxiao said they became concerned after the deaths of a large number of river fish.

One 64-year-old villager told the Associated Press that the factory — located close to a school and kindergarten – discharges waste into the river and spews dense smoke out of a dozen chimneys.

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We Have to Clean Up Outer Space Now in Order to Safely Launch New Spacecraft

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.
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Niger Delta Villagers Vs. Oil Giant Shell’s Destruction of Their Land

OginisOnce again, unregulated Big Business makes everything better. John Vidal writes in the Guardian:

Goi is now a dead village. The two fish ponds, bakery and chicken farm that used to be the pride and joy of its chief deacon, Barrisa Tete Dooh, lie abandoned, covered in a thick black layer. The village’s fishing creek is contaminated; the school has been looted; the mangrove forests are coated in bitumen and everyone has left, refugees from a place blighted by the exploitation of the region’s most valuable asset: crude oil.

A long-awaited and comprehensive UN study exposed the full horror of the pollution that the production of oil has brought to Ogoniland over the last 50 years.

The UN report showed that oil companies and the Nigerian government had not just failed to meet their own standards, but that the process of investigation, reporting and clean-up was deeply flawed in favour of the firms and against the victims.

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Earth’s Oceans On Brink Of Mass Extinction In One Generation

cousteau-fish-school_1393_600x450Clear the ocean of all of those pesky fish, and then we can put all sorts of cool things down there. Via the Independent:

The speed and rate of degeneration of the oceans is far faster than anyone has predicted; many of the negative impacts identified are greater than the worst predictions; the first steps to globally significant extinction may have already begun.

The world’s oceans are faced with an unprecedented loss of species comparable to the great mass extinctions of prehistory, a major report suggests today.

The seas are degenerating far faster than anyone has predicted, the report says, because of the cumulative impact of a number of severe individual stresses, ranging from climate warming and sea-water acidification, to widespread chemical pollution and gross overfishing.

The coming together of these factors is now threatening the marine environment with a catastrophe “unprecedented in human history”, according to the report, from a panel of leading marine scientists.

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‘Super Sand’ Cleans Dirty Drinking Water

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.
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Australia’s ‘Kill A Camel’ To Cut Pollution Concept

800px-Camel_in_the_Thar_Desert

Photo: Dan Searle (CC)

How can we curb the emission of greenhouse gases? Get rid of a bunch of camels, apparently. Via Physorg:

Australia is considering awarding carbon credits for killing feral camels as a way to tackle climate change.

The suggestion is included in Canberra’s “Carbon Farming Initiative”, a consultation paper by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, seen Thursday.

Adelaide-based Northwest Carbon, a commercial company, proposed culling some 1.2 million wild camels that roam the Outback, the legacy of herds introduced to help early settlers in the 19th century.

Considered a pest due to the damage they do to vegetation, a camel produces, on average, a methane equivalent to one tonne of carbon dioxide a year, making them collectively one of Australia’s major emitters of greenhouse gases.

In its plan, Northwest said it would shoot them from helicopters or muster them and send them to an abattoir for either human or pet consumption.

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Asthma Rate Rising Sharply in U.S.

Peak flow meters used to measure one's maximum speed of expiration.

Peak flow meters used to measure expiration speed.

Roni Caryn Rabin writes in the New York Times:

Americans are suffering from asthma in record numbers, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly one in 10 children and almost one in 12 Americans of all ages now has asthma, government researchers said.

According to the report, from 2001 to 2009 the prevalence of asthma increased among all demographic groups studied, including men, women, whites, blacks and Hispanics. Black children are most acutely affected: the study found that 17 percent of black children — nearly one in five — had a diagnosis of asthma in 2009, up from 11.4 percent, or about one in nine, in 2001.

While officials at the Centers for Disease Control emphasized that asthma could be controlled if managed effectively, they were at a loss to explain why it had become more widespread even as important triggers like cigarette smoking had become less common.

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Hey Smokers, You’re Killing The Fish

Photo: Sillyputtyenemies

Photo: Sillyputtyenemies (CC)

It turns out that fish are also helpless victims of smokers. No joke, as reported by Jeffrey Kluger for TIME:

For smokers, the world has always been one big ashtray, with cigarettes flicked away pretty much anywhere. That’s especially true now, since smokers are increasingly forbidden to light up in restaurants, office buildings and even new no-smoking condos. In the great river of litter human beings create each year, so tiny a thing as a cigarette butt hardly seems to amount to much. But with the world’s smokers burning through a breathtaking 5.6 trillion cigarettes per year — 4.5 trillion of which are simply tossed away outside after they’re smoked — little things add up fast. That, as it turns out, can be especially dangerous for one type of nonhuman critter: fish.

About a third of all of the trash found on U.S. shorelines consists of cigarette butts.

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