Category: Pollution


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Logo: The Washington Times

Interior Sally Jewell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, before the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee hearing on the Animas River Spill in Colorado. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
Interior Sally Jewell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, before the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee hearing on the Animas River Spill in Colorado. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta) more >

– The Washington Times – Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said Wednesday she is unaware of anyone being fired, fined or even demoted for the Gold King Mine spill, prompting Republicans to accuse her of taking the EPA off the hook for the toxic blowout.

“So you’re letting the EPA get off scot-free it sounds like. They are not being held accountable,” said Rep. Doug Lamborn, Colorado Republican, at the House Natural Resources Committee hearing.

Republicans took Ms. Jewell to task for the Interior Department’s investigation into the Aug. 5 spill, saying the October report failed to hold anyone responsible for unleashing 3 million gallons of orange, toxic wastewater into the Animas River near Silverton, Colorado.

“You’re directly responsible for this report. The EPA had promised this committee a thorough investigation,” said Rep. Tom McClintock, California Republican. “We have not gotten one. What we have gotten is a complete, deliberate whitewash.”

 

 

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the guardian

Botswana sells fracking rights in national park

Licences for more than half of the Kgalagadi transfrontier park, one of Africa’s largest conservation areas, have been granted to drill for shale gas

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion.
The Kgalagadi transfrontier park straddles Botswana and South Africa and is home to the cheetah and black-maned Kalahari lion. Photograph: Jeffrey Barbee/Alliance Earth.org

 

The Botswana government has quietly sold the rights to frack for shale gas in one of Africa’s largest protected conservation areas, it has emerged.

The Kgalagadi transfrontier park, which spans the border with South Africa, is an immense 3 6,000 sq km wilderness, home to gemsbok desert antelope, black-maned Kalahari lions and pygmy falcons. But conservationists and top park officials – who were not informed of the fracking rights sale – are now worried about the impact of drilling on wildlife.

Prospecting licences for more than half of the park were granted to a UK-listed company called Nodding Donkey in September 2014, although the sale has not been reported previously. That company changed its name earlier this month to Karoo Energy.

Park officials said that no drilling has yet taken place, but the Guardian found oil sediment on the ground near a popular camp site. There was an overwhelming smell of tar and a drill stem protruded from an apparently recently drilled hole. It is not known who had carried out the drilling or when.

Scientist Gus Mills worked and lived in Kgalagadi for 18 years studying cheetahs and hyenas. He said he is worried about the impact on wildlife and environment.

“The development that is going to have to go on there, with infrastructure that has to be moved in, seems to be yet another nail in the coffin of wild areas in the world.”

Dr Peter Apps, who studies large predators for the Botswana Predator Conservation Trust , said drilling could have a range of impacts, notably on water sources in the park.

 

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Biodegradable is Bunk: World’s ‘Ocean Waste Baskets’ Still Filled With Plastic Trash

Such products ‘will not bring about a significant decrease either in the quantity of plastic entering the ocean or the risk of physical and chemical impacts on the marine environment,’ UN report states.

Pieces of plastic litter a black rock beach on the island of Hawaii in 2008.  (Photo: LCDR Eric Johnson, NOAA Corps./via flickr/cc)

Plastics in the world’s oceans, whether floating or resting at the bottom, is a problem that’s on the rise, and is said to have “reached crisis proportion.”

And while they may be assumed to be more eco-friendly, plastics labeled “biodegradable” still pose a threat to marine environments, a new United Nations study has found.

The report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), Biodegradable Plastics and Marine Litter. Misconceptions, Concerns and Impacts on Marine Environments (pdf), explains how these products still fail to tackle the growing problem.

The agency’s executive director, Achim Steiner, underscored the magnitude of the problem. “Recent estimates from UNEP have shown as much as 20 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans each year. Once in the ocean, plastic does not go away, but breaks down into microplastic particles.”

The report notes that just what proportion of this plastic is biodegradable versus non-biodegradable has yet to be analyzed.

One of the problems, the report states, is that in order for some of the plastic debris to be completely broken down, conditions found in industrial compositing units that can achieve prolonged temperatures of above 50°C are needed. Yet those conditions “are rarely if ever met in the marine environment.”

And while some have the inclusion of a pro-oxidant, which would induce degradation, “[t]he fate of these fragments (microplastics) is unclear, but it should be assumed that oxo-degradable polymers will add to the quantity of microplastics in the oceans, until overwhelming independent evidence suggests otherwise.”

Contributing to the problem, the report says, is evidence suggesting the biodegradable label could make the public more likely to litter.

The report concludes that “the adoption of plastic products labelled as ‘biodegradable’ will not bring about a significant decrease either in the quantity of plastic entering the ocean or the risk of physical and chemical impacts on the marine environment, on the balance of current scientific evidence.”

Peter Kershaw, one of the authors of the study, put the problem in blunt terms.

“Essentially the ocean is being used as a waste basket and the waste basket is getting fuller and fuller, and so the impacts of that plastic litter are just going to keep on increasing,” he toldCBC News.

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Activist Post

Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Program

Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity from Microwave Technology Finally Medically Proven

wifi emfsBy Catherine J. Frompovich

Finally, there’s documented medical proof that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a real-time health issue that actually can be verified using standard medical procedures and testing capabilities.

An international group of researchers aced it when they published their findings from the clinical study “Metabolic and Genetic Screening of Electromagnetic Hypersensitive Subjects as a Feasible Tool for Diagnostics and Intervention” in the November 2014 issue of Mediators of Inflammation.

So, the million-dollar-question has to be, “When will utility companies get up to speed on the latest in microwave technology damage to the human body?” Also, “When will public utility commissions nationwide institute proper procedures to protect consumers from such damage?”

Pennsylvanians currently are being bombarded by non-thermal health problems from public utility companies’ electric, natural gas and water Smart Meters, which operate using microwave technology.

Furthermore, the PA House Consumer Affairs Committee Chair Robert Godshall sits on Opt-Out Bills that will permit electrosensitive consumers and others to keep safe analog meters, which have been in use for decades.

 

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UC Davis Home Page

September 24, 2015

 

Man holding a big fish to the camera in a fish market with baskets of fish in the background

UC Davis researchers found plastic and fibrous debris in 25 percent of the fish sold in Indonesian and California markets. (Dale Trockel/photo)

Roughly a quarter of the fish sampled from fish markets in California and Indonesia contained human-made debris — plastic or fibrous material — in their guts, according to a study from the University of California, Davis, and Hasanuddin University in Indonesia.

The study, published today in the journal Scientific Reports, is one of the first to directly link plastic and human-made debris to the fish on consumers’ dinner plates.

“It’s interesting that there isn’t a big difference in the amount of debris in the fish from each location, but in the type — plastic or fiber,” said lead author Chelsea Rochman, a David H. Smith postdoctoral fellow in the Aquatic Health Program at the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine. “We think the type of debris in the fish is driven by differences in local waste management.”

‘Waiter, there’s some plastic in my fish’

The researchers sampled 76 fish from markets in Makassar, Indonesia, and 64 from Half Moon Bay and Princeton in California. All of the fragments recovered from fish in Indonesia were plastic. In contrast, 80 percent of the debris found in California fish was fibers, whereas not a single strand of fiber was found in Indonesian fish.

 

 

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Wake Up World

Baby10th September 2013

By Raluca Schachter

Contributing Writer for Wake Up World

I have to admit, even the title sounds disturbing! But I believe it’s high time to stop sugar coating the reality we live in. I see in my practice more and more children who share their parents’ nutritional deficiencies and toxicity. Yes, a pure, innocent baby who’s barely starting life is also touched by the harsh environment we live in these days, and parents can pass down their imbalances to their baby.

This article is not supposed to offer a pessimistic view, but rather to help raise awareness, prepare and teach you about how to better take care of your children’s health.

This became really necessary considering that:

  • Environmental toxicity is one of the most important causes of chronic illness in the world today.
  • Heavy metals as well as petrochemicals play an important role in toxic buildup and disease.
  • Every man, woman and child in the United States has at least one petrochemical solvent in their blood stream and likely more than 100.
  • In the past 40 years, every single person tested in the United States has been found to have styrene in their blood…
  • … and given that everyone has styrene in their blood, the excretion of this petrochemical solvent in the urine should also show up on everyone’s test.
  • The most symptomatic and chronically ill individuals are those with poor excretion patterns.

How Toxic Is Our World Today?

Over 80,000 man-made chemicals have been added to our environment. Most of them are toxins and a great many are carcinogens and endocrine disrupters. The situation with each passing year grows worse, not better. Toxins now pervade the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, and the seemingly endless array of body care products — toothpastes, mouthwashes, hair products, makeup, shampoos, soaps, lip balms, body lotions, sun products, etc.

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Phys.org

Study: Dispersants did not help oil degrade in BP spill

November 9, 2015 by By Seth Borenstein
Samantha Joye, a professor of marine sciences in the University of Georgia Franklin College of Arts and Sciences, studies the oil plumes generated by the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout. Credit: Todd Dickey/University of Georgia

The chemical sprayed on the 2010 BP oil spill may not have helped crucial petroleum-munching microbes get rid of the slick, a new study suggests.

And that leads to more questions about where much of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill went. If the new results are true, up to half the oil can’t be accounted for, said the author of a new study on the spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

After the 172 million gallon (650 million liter) spill, the chemical dispersant Corexit 9500 was applied by airplane on the slick to help it go away and help natural microbes in the water eat the oil faster. The oil appeared to dissipate, but scientists and government officials didn’t really monitor the microbes and chemicals, said University of Georgia marine scientist Samantha Joye.

So Joye and colleagues recreated the application in a lab, with the dispersant, BP oil and water from the gulf, and found that it didn’t help the microbes at all and even hurt one key oil-munching bug, according to a study published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“The dispersants did a great job in that they got the oil off the surface,” Joye said. “What you see is the dispersants didn’t ramp up biodegradation.”

In fact, she found the oil with no dispersant “degraded a heckuva lot faster than the oil with dispersants,” Joye said.

 

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Dispersants Did Not Help In BP Spill, Half Of Oil Not Accounted For: Study

bp_wave_001By Joe Wright

The fallout continues from the Deepwater Horizon explosion that directly killed 11 workers and ravaged the food chain and the environment more than 5 years ago.

Since then we have seen little accountability, despite a nominal fine against BP for its role in unleashing 4 million barrels of oil (approx. 200 million gallons). In fact, the EPA lifted a ban which subsequently resulted in BP being awarded $40 Billion in new contracts, essentially erasing all that was “lost” by BP from their criminality.

Running in tandem with BP’s negligence was the use of Corexit 9500 oil dispersant (owned by Nalco, a Goldman Sachs subsidiary) as a supposed means to drastically minimize the impact. Contrary to that assertion, evidence continues to mount that it did the exact opposite.

Early on, reports began to surface of health anomalies that many believed were attributable to the spraying of the chemical dispersant. Corexit was not only sprayed over the water, but over houses as well. One family documented how all of them became sickened, and afterward tested very high for chemical poisoning. A crew of activists called Project Gulf Impact were on the scene to expose what was taking place, and similarly reported sickness to their own crew, as well as suppression of their media coverage.

 

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Banned for household use since 2000
pesticide-field-sprayings-735-250
by Julie Fidler
Posted on November 1, 2015

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Friday a proposal that would ban a pesticide commonly sprayed on citrus fruits, almonds, and other crops.

Chlorpyrifos has been in use since 1965 as an insecticide for oranges, apples, cherries, grapes, broccoli, and asparagus. Dozens of farmworkers have been sickened by chlorpyrifos is recent years. In September 2014, a coalition of environmental health groups sued the EPA, asking the agency to ban the toxic chemical.

The agency cited scientific evidence in defense of its ban on chlorpyrifos for household use in 2000. Prior to the ban, chlorpyrifos was the most widely used household pesticide in the U.S. Sold as Dursban, the Dow-made chemical was found in flea collars and was routinely used to kill household pests, such as roaches, termites and ants.

At the time, the agency warned that farmworkers who mixed chlorpyrifos, sold for farms as Lorsban, or applied it using backpack sprayers or open-cab tractors faced a potentially unacceptable level of risk. The agency also said it needed to research how chlorpyrifos drifting from nearby fields or tracked home on clothing put children’s health at risk.

The National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Pesticide Action Network North America (PANNA) say that chlorpyrifos interferes with the brain development of fetuses, infants and children. [1] It has also been found to cause genetic damage in children, though it is reversible, and one study linked the insecticide to an increased risk of autism in unborn children.

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(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)
WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) –

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Environment Pollution USA State of Connecticut, Waterbury Damage level Details

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Environment Pollution in USA on Tuesday, 20 October, 2015 at 03:29 (03:29 AM) UTC.

Description
Department of Energy and Environmental Protection crews were on the scene of a Waterbury oil spill Monday, as 500 gallons of fuel spilled into the basement of the Exchange Place Towers on Center Street. This impacted a sump pump that discharged to the catch basin network. The catch basin network discharges to Great Brook which is tributary to the Naugatuck River. DEEP officials say an additional estimated 100 gallons of fuel reached the surface waters. Crews were able to contain most of the 100 gallons near where the brook meets the river. A contractor has been hired to assist in the cleanup of both the basement and surface water. No word on how long the cleanup process will take.

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Cleanup crews to return to oil spill site in Waterbury

Posted: Oct 20, 2015 6:19 AM CST Updated: Oct 20, 2015 6:19 AM CST

(WFSB photo) (WFSB photo)

WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) – A near environmental disaster continued to be cleaned up in downtown Waterbury Tuesday.

More than 1,500 gallons of heating oil spilled in the basement of an apartment building on Center Street on Monday afternoon.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection then said a sump pump flushed hundreds of gallons of the fuel into the Naugatuck River, putting wildlife in danger.

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DEEP crews work to contain oil spill at Waterbury brook, building

An estimated 500 gallons of fuel spilled out into the basement of a Waterbury building with about 100 gallons spilling out into a nearby body of water on Monday.

Members of the emergency response unit from the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection were called to an oil spill at the Exchange Place Towers, which is located at 44 Center St. DEEP said the leak started in the basement.

Continue reading >>

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Study Reveals Corporate Media’s Refusal to Acknowledge Civilian Victims of US Wars

 

A U.S. military burn pit at forward operating base Zeebrudge in Helmand province, Afghanistan pictured in March 2013. (Photo: Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

A U.S. military burn pit at forward operating base Zeebrudge in Helmand province, Afghanistan pictured in March 2013. (Photo: Sgt. Anthony L. Ortiz)

Mainstream media outlets are systematically disregarding the hazardous health impacts of widespread U.S. military burn pits on civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby playing a direct role in “legitimating the environmental injustices of war,” a harrowing new scholarly report concludes.

“During the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the US Department of Defense burned the majority of its solid waste in open-air pits or trenches, producing large amounts of potentially hazardous emissions,” noted Eric Bonds, assistant professor of sociology at University of Mary Washington, in his investigation, published in the journal Environmental Politics.

“It is well known that the uncontrolled burning of plastics, Styrofoam, electronics, unexploded weapons, and other manufactured and highly processed materials releases harmful toxins and particulate matter into the air,” Bonds continued.

“This echoes the other history of Agent Orange when the U.S. government turned its back on the people of Vietnam and walked away, cleaning up just a handful of contaminated places but never acknowledging harm done to Vietnamese civilians or compensating them for their suffering.”
—Eric Bonds, University of Mary Washington

However, when he surveyed major U.S. newspaper stories from 2007 to 2014, Bonds found that discussions of the negative health impacts of these burn pits overwhelmingly focused on the plight faced by U.S. military service members and veterans—but the actual civilians nearby were almost entirely missing from the picture.

“The search produced 49 distinct stories. While five of these stories made passing reference to civilian impacts, and one story mentioned potential impacts to civilians on par with impacts to soldiers, the vast majority of news stories made no mention that Iraqi and Afghan civilians might also have been harmed by the U.S. military’s burning of waste,” he wrote.

What’s more, Bonds noted, “When journalists describe the pollution itself, how it billowed over military bases and covered living quarters with ash and soot, such accounts never mention that this pollution would not have stopped at the cement barricades and concertina wire at base boundaries, but must have also settled over civilians’ homes and the surrounding landscapes.”

 

From Balad air base in Iraq to Shindad base in Afghanistan, these sites are in fact located in close proximity to “farmsteads, townships, cities, cropland, orchards, and rivers.”

As Common Dreams previously reported, Dr. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, independent environmental toxicologist based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, has identified a correlation between burn pits and spikes in birth defects among Iraqi communities nearby.

According to Bonds, by failing to tell the stories of the Iraqi and Afghan people impacted, the media has a hand in the injustices committed against them.

“This echoes the other history of Agent Orange when the U.S. government turned its back on the people of Vietnam and walked away, cleaning up just a handful of contaminated places but never acknowledging harm done to Vietnamese civilians or compensating them for their suffering,” Bonds told Common Dreams.

As in Vietnam, people in Iraq and Afghanistan are demanding acknowledgment of—and reparations for—the harm done by U.S. burn pits and toxic munitions.

Iraqi civil society groups including the Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq and the Federation of Workers Councils and Unions in Iraq have organized within their communities and levied international demands for the U.S. to clean up its burn pits, depleted uranium, white phosphorous, and other toxic waste which is creating an ongoing public health crisis in Iraq.

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