As everybody already knows, America is known for lots of Fast Food. But what not many people know is that we have a huge recycling problem that goes along with fast food. Only less than 35% of fast food waste is taken to recycling facilities. If you purchase one sandwhich and one coffee for only one year, that is nearly 20 pounds of extra paper waste. Numerous studies have shown that not much of this waste not only goes to the recycling places, but alongside the roads that we drive on. Fast food waste is the primary contributor to urban litter in the US.
Toxic metals from the only open pit mine in an estuary system in the United States are widespread in nearby sediment, water and fish and may be affecting marine and coastal animals that feed on them beyond the mine site, a new study finds.
Toxic metals from an open pit mine in the U.S. is spreading in nearby sediments. The water and fish could be affecting other marine and coastal animals. Human health and aquatics are both affected by the mine's contamination. People have found elevated levels of copper, zinc, cadmium and lead in the sediment, water and killfish. The killfish are bait for larger animals, but are found to be contaminated with toxic metals.
Green schemes to fight climate change by producing more bio-fuels could actually worsen a little-known type of air pollution and cause almost 1,400 premature deaths a year in Europe by 2020, a study showed on Sunday.
The report said trees grown to produce wood fuel - seen as a cleaner alternative to oil and coal - released a chemical into the air that, when mixed with other pollutants, could also reduce farmers' crop yields.
"Growing biofuels is thought to be a good thing because it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere," said Nick Hewitt, who worked on the study with colleagues from England's Lancaster University.
"What we're saying is 'yes, that's great, but biofuels could also have a detrimental effect on air quality'," he added.
The report, in the journal Nature Climate Change, looked into the impact of a European Union scheme to slow climate change by producing more biofuels.
Hewitt told Reuters there would be a similar impact wherever biofuels were produced in large quantities in areas suffering air pollution, including the United States and China.
Poplar, willow or eucalyptus trees, all used as fast-growing sources of renewable wood fuel, emit high levels of the chemical isoprene as they grow, the study said. Isoprene forms toxic ozone when mixed with other air pollutants in sunlight.
"Large-scale production of biofuels in Europe would have small but significant effects on human mortality and crop yields," said Hewitt.
Biofuels are thought to be convenient for farmers because they're seen as a cleaner alternative to oil and coal. Biofuels are still needing to be perfected though. Farmers use biofuels to help the climate change so they don't release as much carbon dioxide. Nick Hewitt, who works with colleagues from England's Lancaster University, says that biofuels are great, but have a bad effect on air quality.
Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have built a small fleet of portable pollution sensors that allow users to monitor air quality in real time on their smart phones. The sensors could be particularly useful to people suffering from chronic conditions, such as asthma, who need to avoid exposure to pollutants.
CitiSense is the only air-quality monitoring system capable of delivering real-time data to users’ cell phones and home computers—at any time. Data from the sensors can also be used to estimate air quality throughout the area where the devices are deployed, providing information to everyone—not just those carrying sensors.
Just 100 of the sensors deployed in a fairly large area could generate a wealth of data—well beyond what a small number of EPA-mandated air-quality monitoring stations can provide. For example, San Diego County has 3.1 million residents, 4,000 square miles—and only about 10 stations.
“We want to get more data and better data, which we can provide to the public,” said William Griswold, a computer science professor at the Jacobs School of Engineering at UC San Diego and the lead investigator on the project. “We are making the invisible visible.”
Pollution sensors have been created in University Of California in San Diego. This small sensor allows users to monitor exposure to pollution on their phones. CitiSense is the only air quality monitoring system capable of delivering data to peoples' cell phones. The sensors detect ozone, nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide.
Vermont has joined 11 other states, New York City and the District of Columbia in support of a Clean Air Act rule the would reduce toxic air pollution from power plants in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency recently promulgated rules that are meant to reduce toxic air pollution from coal and oil-fired power plants, known as the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The rules are meant to curb power plant emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants, such as arsenic, cyanide, nickel and selenium, that are known to cause cancer, respiratory illness, and other serious health effects. "Mercury is a powerful neurotoxin that can affect children’s brain development," stated Attorney General Bill Sorrell in a press release. "Emissions of mercury and other air toxics travel from out-of-state power plants to Vermont and contaminate our air, soil, water, and fish."
Vermont has now joined New York City and the District of Columbia to support the Clean Air Act to reduce toxic air pollution from power plants in the United States. The EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) made rules that are called the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards. The rules are to cut down power plant emissions of mercury and other pollutants that pollute the air. These pollutants can cause cancer, respitory illness, etc.
A renowned Alberta water scientist is urging the federal government to take action after he discovered deformities in fish in the Athabasca River downriver from oil sands developments bear a striking resemblance to ones found in fish after spills in U.S. waters.
University of Alberta ecologist Dr. David Schindler said the only way to know for sure which petrochemicals — and in what concentrations — cause the deformities is to conduct whole ecosystem experiments at the Experimental Lakes Area (ELA) in Northern Ontario.
"I propose that the ELA site and laboratory should be kept open to conduct these important experiments, which have implications for future effects of oil extraction and transport in or near both marine and freshwater ecosystems," Schindler wrote in a letter to Environment Minister Peter Kent and Fisheries Minister Keith Ashfield.
The ELA was shuttered on March 31 after its funding was cut in last year's budget. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) says it is in negotiations with other parties to take over the operation of the one-of-a-kind facility. The government will save $2-million a year by off-loading the outdoor laboratory made up of 58 small pristine lakes.
Schindler cited a number of studies that looked into the effects of oil and chemical contamination on fish fish after the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska and the Deepwater Horizon accident in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as in the lower Athabasca River. He included photos of fish from the Athabasca with two tails, bulging eyeballs and gaping sores.
"In both the Gulf of Mexico and the Athabasca River, the high incidence of malformations and the grotesque appearance of some of the fish make consumers reluctant to eat them," wrote Schindler. He added that was a threat to the Gulf of Mexico's commercial fishery and the Athabasca's subsistence fishery.
Schindler's "eureka moment" came last week when he was forwarded an article about a study done on fish in the Gulf of Mexico.
"I was really struck with how similar some of those malformations were. And of course, they'd come on in only a little over a year since that Gulf spill," Schindler told the CBC.
The timing of the letter is hard to ignore. It comes hard on the heels of the ELA's closure with a September 1 deadline looming for Ottawa to find a new operator or return the property to the province of Ontario. Schindler is a vocal member of the advocacy group "Save ELA."
Asked if this was just a ploy to keep the facility open, Schindler responded: "That's exactly what they said when I proposed that acid rain was a problem in 1974."
Research from the ELA was instrumental in helping Canada and the U.S. negotiate, draft and sign the Acid Rain Treaty of 1991.
For the Ottawa's part, Environment Canada insisted it is taking its responsibilities around the oil sands seriously.
"Our government launched a comprehensive oil sands monitoring plan that enhances the monitoring of water, air, land and biodiversity," Kent spokesperson Rob Taylor wrote to the CBC.
DFO said it is happy with the freshwater science being done at other facilities across the country.
"On the Experimental Lakes Area, the government continues to actively work towards establishing a new operator for the ELA site so that research there can continue," wrote Ashfield spokesperson Erin Filliter.
Schindler is glad to hear that.
"Frankly, I would like to see the Experimental Lakes Area funded independently of DFO. It's always been a Cinderella project and for 30 years DFO has been a very bad stepmother."
An Alberta water scientist wants the federal government to take action about Athabasca's water pollution. The reason is because the water scientist found deformities about the fish that live in Athabasca. He found the fish in down river from oil sands going into the U.S. Oil pollution is what is causing the deformities.
There is more air pollution in cities than there is anywhere else. Air pollution is causing more deaths in cities according to MIT. According to Barrett, a person who dies from air pollution causes typically dies about a decade earlier than he or she might have otherwise. Sources of pollution comes from electric power generation, industry, commercial and residential.
35 percent in deaths & disabilities since 1990 has reduced over about a 20 year period of time. Air pollution has not only created respitory disease, but also cardiovascular disease. The main cause of air pollution is automobiles and factories. The air pollution downed 35 percent due to cleaner manufacturing processes.