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US Navy begins inquiry into toxic waste dumping in Subic Bay, Philippines - aside from Phil Senate inquiry

US Navy begins inquiry into toxic waste dumping in Subic Bay, Philippines - aside from Phil Senate inquiry | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
The US Navy has launched its own investigation into allegations that its contractor has been dumping on Subic Bay hazardous wastes which it siphons from US Navy ships docked here.
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Extensive Coral Bleaching in the Pacific Shocks Scientists ("corals are affected in varying degrees")

Extensive Coral Bleaching in the Pacific Shocks Scientists ("corals are affected in varying degrees") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Coral bleaching occurs when the coral reacts to changes in environment, such as a rise in temperature, and expels the algae living in its tissue.

A crew of scientists who are spending two years aboard a research ship traveling around the world have said they were shocked to find basically all of the Pacific Ocean's reefs to be affected by bleaching.

"What we've seen in really isolated spots like Samoa for example, even though it's very far away from [developed] countries with pollution, we struggled to find any coral life," the captain of the ship, Nicolas De La Brosse, told the ABC. 

"It doesn't matter where you are in the Pacific, coral is starting to bleach." 

Coral bleaching occurs when the coral reacts to changes in environment, such as a rise in temperature, and expels the algae living in its tissue. The coral and algae rely on each other to survive. Without the algae the coral turns white and if the bleaching event is severe or repeats it can cause the coral to die and never recover.


Bert Guevara's insight:
With oceans absorbing much of the global warming, it only follows that the corals will be affected. Now, the whole of the Pacific is affected.

"A crew of scientists who are spending two years aboard a research ship traveling around the world have said they were shocked to find basically all of the Pacific Ocean's reefs to be affected by bleaching."
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Warming Could Push Earth’s Rains Northward ("less rains & more aridity for tropics? moving equator?")

Warming Could Push Earth’s Rains Northward ("less rains & more aridity for tropics? moving equator?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Key rain belts could be pushed northward as the Northern Hemisphere warms faster than the Southern Hemisphere.

A new study that does just that suggests that Earth’s rain belts could be pushed northward as the Northern Hemisphere heats up faster than the Southern Hemisphere. That shift would happen in concert with the longstanding expectation for already wet areas to see more rain and for dry ones to become more arid. 

The study, detailed Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, “adds to the large body of evidence that climate change is going to mess with the large-scale motions of air and water in the atmosphere. And this matters, because those patterns largely determine where it's rainy or arid, broadly speaking,” NASA climate scientist Kate Marvel, who wasn’t involved with the study, said in an email. 

These changes in rain distribution could have implications for future water resources, particularly in areas where water supplies are already stressed, such as the western U.S. and parts of Africa.

From the basic physics of the atmosphere, scientists expect that as the planet heats up from ever-mounting levels of greenhouse gases, net global precipitation will increase because a warmer atmosphere holds more moisture. But that increase won’t be uniform and is likely to be concentrated in the already moist tropics. And because higher temperatures also increase evaporation, other areas, such as the already dry subtropics, are likely to dry out further.

But which regions are wet and dry are also determined by the locations of the Earth’s main rain belts. The positions of those rain belts, in turn, are tied to that of the so-called thermal equator (the ring around the planet’s middle where surface temperatures are highest). And the location of that equator is impacted by the balance of temperatures between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. 

Because the Northern Hemisphere has more landmass, it is heating up faster than the Southern Hemisphere, and, as some climate models have suggested, this could push the thermal equator northward, and along with it those key rain belts.

Bert Guevara's insight:
How can warming affect the rainy season in the Philippines? Check out what this new study has to say.

"But which regions are wet and dry are also determined by the locations of the Earth’s main rain belts. The positions of those rain belts, in turn, are tied to that of the so-called thermal equator (the ring around the planet’s middle where surface temperatures are highest). And the location of that equator is impacted by the balance of temperatures between the Northern and Southern hemispheres. 
"Because the Northern Hemisphere has more landmass, it is heating up faster than the Southern Hemisphere, and, as some climate models have suggested, this could push the thermal equator northward, and along with it those key rain belts."
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Toilet to Tap: Brewery Creates Beer from Recycled Wastewater ("sustainable brewing good idea, but...")

Toilet to Tap: Brewery Creates Beer from Recycled Wastewater ("sustainable brewing good idea, but...") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The brew was made exclusively from wastewater recycled via San Diego's Pure Water project.

A Southern California brewery has put sustainability on tap with a new brew made exclusively from wastewater, according to news reports. 

This month, Stone Brewing unveiled its "Full Circle Pale Ale," which was made using recycled water from San Diego's Pure Water project, reported Mashable. 

This was all done in the name of sustainability, the brewery said, noting how the historic drought in California affected the state's water sources. San Diego's Pure Water project — which aims to provide 30 million gallons (110 million liters) of recycled water a day to the city by 2021 — offered the brewery an opportunity to use a new water source to brew beer, while also helping raise awareness for the project, Mashable reported.

The unconventional brew even tastes great, the Times of San Diego reported, with the city's mayor calling the beer "fantastic." In fact, Stone Brewing CEO Pat Tiernan said the purified, recycled water was purer than the brewery's usual water supply, CW6 San Diego reported. 

"This particular water will just help us not require so much natural water to come in, and [will] give us a more reliable source. So for us to be able to re-use, that's part of our mantra, that's part of what we do," Tiernan told CW6. 

Though the Full Circle Pale Ale was a one-time-only brew made specially for an event, the wastewater beer isn't Stone Brewing's first foray into sustainability. The brewery's headquarters has its own water-reclamation system, according to Mashable, and uses solar energy for 20 percent of the building's power.

Bert Guevara's insight:
There may come a time that even our soft-drinks will be made from recycled water. It may just be a psychological barrier that prevents us from enjoying this kind of beer.

"The unconventional brew even tastes great, the Times of San Diego reported, with the city's mayor calling the beer "fantastic." In fact, Stone Brewing CEO Pat Tiernan said the purified, recycled water was purer than the brewery's usual water supply, CW6 San Diego reported."
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Atlantic City & Miami Beach: 2 takes on tackling rising waters ("Phil coastal towns also affected")

Atlantic City & Miami Beach: 2 takes on tackling rising waters ("Phil coastal towns also affected") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Sea level rise is making floods more common and as the New Jersey resort braces for the next Sandy, the well-heeled Florida city is throwing money at the problem.

“We can have floods at the drop of a hat,” Burke said. “Without even realizing we’re going to have them. It’ll be raining and within seconds you’ll see flooding in the street. You don’t read about it in the paper. You don’t hear about it on the radio or television. You just have water that just comes up and if you don’t have warning and move your car, you have water in the car.”

These flooding events have increased seven-fold in Atlantic City since the 1950s, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and are spurred by rainfall or simply a spring tide abetted by unhelpful gusts of wind.

The rising ocean, fed by melting glaciers and the expansion of warming water, is piling up water along America’s entire eastern seaboard. To compound the problem much of the mid-Atlantic coast is sinking, a hangover from the last ice age, meaning life and property is being swamped like never before.

And yet with no overarching national sea level rise plan and patchy commitment from states, many coastal communities are left to deal with the encroaching seas themselves. Wealthier areas are raising streets and houses, erecting walls and pumps. Those without the funds or political will have several state or federal grants they can access but often make muddled choices in the face of this sisyphean task.

Bert Guevara's insight:
I don't see a sustainable local approach to a global phenomenon. Sea level rise is more than just grabbing a mop or raising a sea wall or changing location.

"Once known as a “sunny place for shady people” due to its popularity with pre-war gangsters, Miami Beach is now often referred to as ground zero for the sea level rise phenomenon. But it’s perhaps more like a living laboratory experiment into what happens when you give a cashed-up place the task of avoiding drowning.
"City engineers admit that they are merely buying themselves time, perhaps 20 years or so, until Miami Beach will need to work the problem out again, possibly with some new technology. The seas are relentless, and rising ever further without end in sight. Much of southern Florida will eventually be reclaimed, but for now there is trillions of dollars of real estate to save."
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Climate change key suspect in the case of India’s vanishing groundwater ("not only in California")

Climate change key suspect in the case of India’s vanishing groundwater ("not only in California") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

New study links India’s water crisis to the impact of climate change, which has weakened recent monsoons.

Since the Green Revolution, Indian farmers have depended on groundwater to grow enough crops to feed the country’s 1.3 billion people, but groundwater is vanishing in many parts of the country. 

The combination of overpumping and climate change – resulting in weaker monsoons – has resulted in social disruption in many parts of India, including violent protests and suicides. 

India won’t be able to solve the problem with just water legislation: the country also needs to take a look at climate change as well.

In three short months during monsoon season, India historically receives 75 percent of their annual precipitation. Imagine awaiting this promised, bountiful rainfall and receiving 14 percent less than average. This is what happened in 2015 – and it compounded decades of drought. India is suffering a water scarcity crisis but, until recently, most people believed that over pumping groundwater was the number one reason behind it. Now, a new study published by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Gandhinagar in Nature Geoscience, shows that variable monsoon precipitation, linked to climate change, is likely the key reason for declining levels of groundwater.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The case of the vanishing aquifers -- gone forever?

"Since the Green Revolution, Indian farmers have depended on groundwater to grow enough crops to feed the country’s 1.3 billion people, but groundwater is vanishing in many parts of the country. 
"The combination of overpumping and climate change – resulting in weaker monsoons – has resulted in social disruption in many parts of India, including violent protests and suicides. 
"India won’t be able to solve the problem with just water legislation: the country also needs to take a look at climate change as well."
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Sea Shepherd Uncovers Huge Shipments of Shark Fins ("large-scale shark massacre lives on despite ban")

Sea Shepherd Uncovers Huge Shipments of Shark Fins ("large-scale shark massacre lives on despite ban") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Sharks are in big trouble around the world, with some populations crashing by more than 90 percent. Some species, such as the hammerhead shark, are facing a very real threat of extinction.

Despite a worldwide ban on the transportation of shark fins by major shipping carriers, a three-month investigation by Sea Shepherd Global—as part of their global shark defense campaign Operation Apex Harmony—has verified that large shipments of shark fin are still arriving in Hong Kong on airlines and shipping lines that have made "No Shark Fin" carriage ban commitments.

Since 2010, international wildlife conservation groups have been focusing on the shark fin supply chain by lobbying both airlines and shipping lines to ban the transport of shark fins and shark products. Yet the laundering of fins taken from illegal species of sharks inside consignments of fins from legal yet unsustainably-fished shark species is still rife. To their credit, Maersk, the world's largest shipping line, led the way as the first company to implement a worldwide ban on shark fin carriage in 2010, with 16 of the world's leading container shipping lines soon following their example.

"Maersk Line is committed to enforcing our policy not to carry sharks fin products on our ships. It is frustrating that some traders seemingly mis-declare the cargo they intend to ship with us in order to try to get around the restrictions we have put in place. However, we are grateful to Sea Shepherd for their investigative work to highlight this problem and we are working with Sea Shepherd and other NGOs as well as with HK Customs and other stakeholders to tighten our procedures to ensure the ban we place on carriage of shark fin is effective in the future," said Tim Smith, chairman and chief representative of the North Asia region, Maersk.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This nightmare wouldn't stop!
"Thousands and thousands of sharks slaughtered just for their fins to be turned into bowls of soup. For those people who have knowingly participated they need to hang their heads in shame."

"Well over thirty airlines and just under twenty container shipping lines now operate No Shark Fin cargo bans. Yet some airlines, such and Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airlines, are resisting industry best practice and are still propping up the crime-ridden shark fin trade. WildAid is calling on all passenger airlines, cargo airlines, container shipping lines as well as express parcel carriers such as FedEx and TNT, to act sustainably, ethically—and above all legally—by ruling out dirty shark fin shipments from their cargo holds," said Alex Hofford, of WildAid.
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California Farmers Use Floodwater to Replenish Aquifers ("giving back water to aquifers is urgent")

California Farmers Use Floodwater to Replenish Aquifers ("giving back water to aquifers is urgent") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

As the climate warms and infrastructure ages, California is trying to boost underground water storage.

Using a network of levees and irrigation gates, Cameron inundated the orchards, vineyards and vegetable and alfalfa fields of Terranova Ranch, a farm in Fresno County that he manages, using the power of gravity to drive water back into an ailing underground aquifer.

Similar approaches are being considered and tested statewide as California confronts the impacts of aging infrastructure, rising temperatures and decades of unsustainable use of water from wells. Groundwater recharging can reduce flood risks, boost water storage and alleviate the sinking of lands that often follows heavy groundwater pumping.

“Our primary source of water is groundwater,” Cameron said. “We have a reservoir under our farm that needs to be replenished, and it’s a lot more easy to do that than try to build above-ground structures.”

“The Oroville crisis certainly does seem like a call to work with nature, rather than against her, by expanding groundwater storage as opposed to big new dams,” said Kate Poole, a leader of the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “There are many fewer environmental problems associated with groundwater storage.”

Rising temperatures are projected to cause California’s powerful winter storms to dump more rain and less snow, and to hasten the melting of snowpacks, requiring more water to be captured in winter and spring for use in the warmer months.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The latest water crises makes our engineers rethink the long-term strategy of storing water in aquifers. This urgency is just as critical for the Philippines.
This is one reason why we have to respect watersheds. Wake up developers and the mining industry! There is a need more important than real estate development -- clean water supply.

“Our primary source of water is groundwater,” Cameron said. “We have a reservoir under our farm that needs to be replenished, and it’s a lot more easy to do that than try to build above-ground structures.”
“The Oroville crisis certainly does seem like a call to work with nature, rather than against her, by expanding groundwater storage as opposed to big new dams,” said Kate Poole, a leader of the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council’s water program. “There are many fewer environmental problems associated with groundwater storage.”
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Tiny plastic particles from clothing, tyres clogging oceans, report warns ("new invisible pollutants")

Tiny plastic particles from clothing, tyres clogging oceans, report warns ("new invisible pollutants") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it


GENEVA, Feb 22 — Invisible particles washed off products like synthetic clothing and car tyres account for up to a third of the plastic polluting oceans, impacting eco-systems and human health, a | Life | Malay Mail Online

Unlike the shocking images of country-sized garbage patches floating in the oceans, the microplastic particles that wash off textiles and roadways leave the waterways looking pristine. 

But they constitute a significant part of the “plastic soup” clogging our waters — accounting for between 15 and 31 per cent of the estimated 9.5 million tonnes of plastic released into the oceans each year, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). 

In its report “Primary Microplastics in the Oceans”, IUCN found that in many developed countries in North America and Europe, which have effective waste management, tiny plastic particles are in fact a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste. 

In addition to car tyres and synthetic textiles, such particles stem from everything from marine coatings and road markings, to city dust and the microbeads in cosmetics. 

“Plastic waste is not all there is to ocean plastics,” IUCN chief Inger Andersen said in a statement, insisting that “we must look far beyond waste management if we are to address ocean pollution in its entirety.” 

“Our daily activities, such as washing clothes and driving, significantly contribute to the pollution choking our oceans, with potentially disastrous effects on the rich diversity of life within them, and on human health,” she warned. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
There is a new actor in the problem of marine pollution!

"In its report “Primary Microplastics in the Oceans”, IUCN found that in many developed countries in North America and Europe, which have effective waste management, tiny plastic particles are in fact a bigger source of marine plastic pollution than plastic waste.
“Our daily activities, such as washing clothes and driving, significantly contribute to the pollution choking our oceans, with potentially disastrous effects on the rich diversity of life within them, and on human health,” she warned.
"While microplastics are hard to spot, they can seriously harm marine wildlife and as they enter the global food and water supplies they are believed to pose a significant risk to human health."
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Global warming could lead to toxic fish ("increased toxic mercury levels could affect our seafood")

Global warming could lead to toxic fish ("increased toxic mercury levels could affect our seafood") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Global warming could lead to raised levels of toxic mercury in the fish we eat, new research suggests. Increased rainfall and melting snow and ice is expected to increase the flow of organic matter into aquatic ecosystems in large parts of the northern hemisphere. Research conducted in Sweden predicts that this could lead to a sevenfold increase in the mercury content of zooplankton, tiny marine animals at the base of the ocean food chain.

As the small creatures are eaten by larger ones, the mercury is concentrated until it reaches high enough levels in large fish such as cod to pose a potential risk to human health.

Mercury is a poison that can damage nerves. Children may be especially at risk from exposure to fish-derived mercury while their brains and nervous systems are developing in the womb.

In fish and other sea creatures, the metal is present in an organic form called methylmercury.

The new research shows that organic run-off linked to global warming is likely to encourage the growth of bacteria, which go on to dominate the aquatic food web.

A “heterotrophic” food web based around bacteria generally has more levels of different organisms than an “autotrophic” food web founded on phytoplankton - microscopic ocean plants.

With a greater number of stages, a heterotropic food web may have the effect of increasing mercury concentrations, experts believe.

The predicted higher levels of organic matter run-off were in accordance with climate change scenarios for large regions of the northern hemisphere, including the Baltic Sea, said the scientists.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Even fish are not safe from ocean warming and all the side effects that go along with it. As that happens, our seafood safety is affected.

"Global warming could lead to raised levels of toxic mercury in the fish we eat, new research suggests. Increased rainfall and melting snow and ice is expected to increase the flow of organic matter into aquatic ecosystems in large parts of the northern hemisphere. Research conducted in Sweden predicts that this could lead to a sevenfold increase in the mercury content of zooplankton, tiny marine animals at the base of the ocean food chain. 
"As the small creatures are eaten by larger ones, the mercury is concentrated until it reaches high enough levels in large fish such as cod to pose a potential risk to human health."
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The Great Barrier Coral Reef Is Dying Faster Than Ever ("death happening from Pacific to Caribbean")

The Great Barrier Coral Reef Is Dying Faster Than Ever ("death happening from Pacific to Caribbean") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The coral bleaching event that struck the Great Barrier Reef earlier this year was the deadliest ever recorded in the region, scientists confirmed this week.

Coral bleaching occurs when a disturbance—in this case unusually warm waters due to El Niño—causes corals to lose their color. The bright organisms can recover under the right conditions, but bleaching events typically lead some to die. More that two-thirds of corals in the northern part of the reef closest to shore, the most affected region, have died in the last nine months, researchers said. Around a quarter died farther offshore in the north.

“The coral is essentially cooked,” James Cook University researcher Andrew Baird, who participated in the survey, told Reuters.

The Great Barrier Reef, perhaps the world’s best known coral reef, is far from the only region hit hard by this year’s bleaching. Researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reported earlier this year that bleaching had occurred in a greater area than ever before, stretching from the South Pacific to the Caribbean.

Restoring coral reefs is a tall order in a warming climate. Scientists expect bleaching to get more frequent and more severe, even if the world fulfills commitments to limit climate change. And, once reefs are gone, they will not come back.

“If you think of corals as canaries [in a coal mine], they’re chirping really loudly right now,” said Jennifer Koss, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program director, earlier this year. “The ones that are still alive, that is.

Bert Guevara's insight:
What's the score with our coral reels? As a whole, they are dying, with small pockets of hope.

“The coral is essentially cooked,” James Cook University researcher Andrew Baird, who participated in the survey, told Reuters. ...
“If you think of corals as canaries [in a coal mine], they’re chirping really loudly right now,” said Jennifer Koss, NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program director, earlier this year. “The ones that are still alive, that is.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, December 1, 2016 5:43 PM
Great barrier reef dying?
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Bleached corals in the Pacific have started bouncing back ("amazing resurrection from the dead!!!")

Bleached corals in the Pacific have started bouncing back ("amazing resurrection from the dead!!!") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Small signs of recovery and arrival of new baby coral and fish have left scientists somewhat upbeat about prospects of coral recovery following major bleaching last year.

In a ghost town of dead coral off a remote Pacific island, scientists have found a little more life. 

In excursions a year ago and then last April, scientists examined the normally-stunning coral reefs around the island of Kiritimati and pronounced it mostly a boneyard of dead coral. 

About 85 per cent of the coral was dead, 10 per cent was sick and bleached but still technically alive, and only 5 per cent was doing okay. 

The same scientists returned this month and found that 6 to 7 per cent of the coral is alive and not bleached, says Julia Baum, coral reef scientist from the University of Victoria, in Canada.

“But despite this mass mortality, there are a few small signs of hope,” Baum says. “It’s clear that coral reefs have great resilience and the coral here is trying to recover.” 

Not only has some of the bleached coral recovered, she says, but “there are coral babies that have settled on the reef some time in the last year to year and half and these are the reef’s best hope for recovery”. 

A study published on Thursday in the journal Current Biology goes back more than a million years and finds that even during mass die-offs, coral species are able to rebound. 

Eakin points to Scott reef off western Australia where 12 years after the damaging 1998 El Niño coral die-off, nearly half the original reef revived. But it was damaged again by the recent El Niño. 

Even after the recovery seen at Kiritimati, Baum is wary. 

“It’s like having a patient who is very sick and instead of letting them recover we keep infecting them with more and more illnesses,” Baum says. “There’s only so much that any person – or any natural system – can take.”

Bert Guevara's insight:
New lessons in coral resiliency - they can rise from the dead!

“But despite this mass mortality, there are a few small signs of hope,” Baum says. “It’s clear that coral reefs have great resilience and the coral here is trying to recover.” 
"Not only has some of the bleached coral recovered, she says, but “there are coral babies that have settled on the reef some time in the last year to year and half and these are the reef’s best hope for recovery”.
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Eric Larson's curator insight, November 27, 2016 8:46 AM
Coral recovering?
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EPA Admin defends agency's drinking water plan in event of nuclear emergency ("disaster readiness")

EPA Admin defends agency's drinking water plan in event of nuclear emergency ("disaster readiness") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Gina McCarthy insisted that the nation's water supply will be protected in the aftermath of a nuclear emergency.

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency spoke to members of the National Press Club yesterday, addressing concerns over drinking water and public safety. Following reports of a new proposal to allow higher levels of radiation in drinking water, Gina McCarthy insisted that the nation's water supply will be protected in the aftermath of a nuclear emergency. 

"A lot of this information and this concern came out of Japan in the Fukushima incident," McCarthy said, referencing the 2011 earthquake that triggered a tsunami that damaged the cooling system at a nuclear plant, resulting in the release of radioactive chemicals into surrounding water bodies. 

The EPA's most recent Protective Action Guide (PAG 2016) lists three radioactive materials, which, if found to be present in water supplies at maximum levels would require government agencies to provide bottled water or evacuate residents. 

NBC Bay Area reports that when the EPA posted its plan for public review it received 67,404 responses, of which all but six were negative. 

McCarthy stressed that EPA'S policy concerning new levels for radioactive materials in water would only be used in the case of "an apocalyptic scenario following a nuclear disaster." She also stated that the organization would not be changing its current drinking water standards. 

"What we are trying to do is figure out how to actually start transitioning from a case where everybody is in their house and hunkered down, and can't drink drinking water to being able to understand what exposures, in a temporary way, would allow life to continue," she said.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Countries with nuclear power are always living in fear of what happens in case of a nuclear disaster. If the Philippines enters this nuclear energy scenario, we are gambling with our future safety and peace of mind.
No matter how modern nuclear plants are (our BNPP is half a century old), if something can go wrong, it probably will. 
In this article, the US EPA has no other alternative to drinking water problems, other than provide bottled water! - how convenient?
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Sharks are helping the Philippines recover from a typhoon ("hope in ecotourism w/ shark habitat")

Sharks are helping the Philippines recover from a typhoon ("hope in ecotourism w/ shark habitat") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Three years ago, the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. In one corner of the country, the people have found a surprising way to recover.

Malapascua, a small island resort that lay right in Haiyan's path, was particularly hard-hit. Buildings were flattened, fishing boats annihilated, and all power and communications lost. To most, it seemed that this once-popular tourist destination was finished. But all hope was not lost: Malapascua still had its thresher sharks.

Thresher sharks are long-tailed creatures that use their tails as whips to stun other fish, making them easier to catch.

All three species of thresher shark are highly migratory, and are found both in high seas and shore waters. They only reproduce slowly, according to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Pelagic threshers produce just two offspring a year and do not reach sexual maturity until they are around 8 years old. 

Every day, pelagic thresher sharks head to Monad Shoal, a sunken island just off the coast of Malapascua. They have chosen this spot for a good reason, says Alessandro Ponzo, executive director of the Large Marine Vertebrates Project Philippines.

These "cleaning stations" lie along the rocky edge of the sea mount. "The sharks approach the area and hover to allow the fishes to remove the parasites from [their] bodies," he says.

Divers have been coming to the region since 1999 to witness this natural marvel for themselves. Each morning the divers wait on the sea mount edge, 66ft (20m) below the surface, for the sharks to approach. 

"There are no cages or baiting involved in our thresher shark tourism," says Anna Oposa, co-founder of campaign group Save Philippine Seas. "The sharks are there because they come to clean themselves on the reef every day."

Bert Guevara's insight:
This is an amazing story of how shark conservation helped a devastated fishing community recover from hopelessness. Sharks saved this village.

Divers have been coming to the region since 1999 to witness this natural marvel for themselves. Each morning the divers wait on the sea mount edge, 66ft (20m) below the surface, for the sharks to approach. 
"There are no cages or baiting involved in our thresher shark tourism," says Anna Oposa, co-founder of campaign group Save Philippine Seas. "The sharks are there because they come to clean themselves on the reef every day."
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Thousands of Sharks Found on Boat in Huge Illegal Haul ("Chinese illegal shark fishermen, again?")

Thousands of Sharks Found on Boat in Huge Illegal Haul ("Chinese illegal shark fishermen, again?") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The confiscation of the Chinese ship and arrest of its 20 crew in the Galápagos show just how hard it is to protect marine sanctuaries.

This part of Galápagos National Park—a marine sanctuary where absolutely no fishing is allowed—has the greatest abundance of sharks known in the world. It’s this that has made these waters a target of fishermen looking to supply Asian markets with shark fin and shark meat. Worldwide, shark populations are declining, with more than a quarter of sharks and related species considered to be threatened with extinction.

“There were thousands, if not tens of thousands, of sharks,” Salinas says. “This is going to be historic. The biggest seizure of sharks in the history of the Galápagos, for sure.”

The crew of 20 have been arrested, and the Ecuadorian authorities are planning a full accounting of the ship’s inventory. It’s illegal to cross the marine sanctuary’s waters without a permit, and it’s also illegal to catch, trade, or transport sharks there. Authorities do not yet know where the fish were caught, according to a statement from Ecuador’s Ministry of Environment.

“Sadly, this is day-to-day business on the ocean,” Salinas says. “There are thousands of these ships roaming the waters.”

The incident highlights the ongoing problem of illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing that occurs even in the world’s most protected waters.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The confiscation of the Chinese ship and arrest of its 20 crew in the Galápagos show just how hard it is to protect marine sanctuaries.
“There were thousands, if not tens of thousands, of sharks,” Salinas says. “This is going to be historic. The biggest seizure of sharks in the history of the Galápagos, for sure.”

This part of Galápagos National Park—a marine sanctuary where absolutely no fishing is allowed—has the greatest abundance of sharks known in the world. It’s this that has made these waters a target of fishermen looking to supply Asian markets with shark fin and shark meat. Worldwide, shark populations are declining, with more than a quarter of sharks and related species considered to be threatened with extinction.

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Scientists say the pace of sea level rise has nearly tripled since 1990 ("solution is global concern")

Scientists say the pace of sea level rise has nearly tripled since 1990 ("solution is global concern") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

A new study finds a much larger acceleration of global sea level rise than detected in previous work.

Their paper, just out in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, isn’t the first to find that the rate of rising seas is itself increasing — but it finds a bigger rate of increase than in past studies. The new paper concludes that before 1990, oceans were rising at about 1.1 millimeters per year, or just 0.43 inches per decade. From 1993 through 2012, though, it finds that they rose at 3.1 millimeters per year, or 1.22 inches per decade.

The cause, said Dangendorf, is that sea level rise throughout much of the 20th century was driven by the melting of land-based glaciers and the expansion of seawater as it warms, but sea level rise in the 21st century has now, on top of that, added in major contributions from the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica. 

“The sea level rise is now three times as fast as before 1990,” Dangendorf said.

Studying the changing rate of sea level rise is complicated by the fact that scientists only have a precise satellite record of its rate going back to the early 1990s. Before that, the records rely on tide gauges spread around the world in various locations.

Just how much control we are able to exert over the rate of sea level rise will critically depend on how rapidly global greenhouse gas emissions come down in coming years — making the entire outlook closely tied to whether the United States sticks with the rest of the world in honoring the Paris climate agreement.

Bert Guevara's insight:
This problem will not just go away even if all countries completely stopped their emissions for a year. The damage is so complex that reversing the melting and the heating will not be a linear solution.

“Sea levels will continue to rise over the coming century, no matter whether we will adapt or not, but I think we can limit at least a part of the sea level rise. It will further accelerate, but how much is related to how we act as humans,”
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The Nature Conservancy ("It's cheaper to prevent water problems at the source than it is downstream.")

The Nature Conservancy ("It's cheaper to prevent water problems at the source than it is downstream.") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

We're investing in clean, reliable water for today and tomorrow through our Nairobi Water Fund.

Since the 1970s, forests on steep hillsides and areas of wetlands have been converted to agriculture, removing natural areas for storing runoff water and soil from the land. Now, as rain falls over farms, soils are washed down into the river, which reduces the productivity of farmland and sends sediment into the rivers. This increased sedimentation can choke water treatment and distribution facilities causing complete service disruptions for days or weeks at a time. Today, 60 percent of Nairobi’s residents do not have access to a reliable water supply.

This growing challenge requires something innovative to protect the Tana River, increase downstream water quality and quantity and provide positive benefits for tens of thousands of farmers in the watershed. Enter the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund. Water funds are founded on the principle that it is cheaper to prevent water problems at the source than it is to address them further downstream. Public and private donors and major water consumers downstream contribute to the Fund to support upstream water and soil conservation measures, resulting in improved water quality and supply.

The Nairobi Water Fund builds on the Conservancy’s experience addressing similar issues in Latin America, where more than 30 water funds are either underway or in development. This fund is now the first of its kind in Africa, and will serve as a model as leaders across the continent look for innovative ways to solve ever-increasing water challenges.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Do we have anything similar to this in the Philippines?

"This growing challenge requires something innovative to protect the Tana River, increase downstream water quality and quantity and provide positive benefits for tens of thousands of farmers in the watershed. Enter the Upper Tana-Nairobi Water Fund. Water funds are founded on the principle that it is cheaper to prevent water problems at the source than it is to address them further downstream. Public and private donors and major water consumers downstream contribute to the Fund to support upstream water and soil conservation measures, resulting in improved water quality and supply."
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Green light for shark exports - Times of India ("the embattled shark faces grave future from man")

Green light for shark exports - Times of India ("the embattled shark faces grave future from man") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The month of May often sees huge landing of sharks at Cochin harbour. The landings have steadily increased from 1.3 tonnes in 2007 to 381.2 tonnes in 2014 and reduced to 283.6 tonnes in 2015.

Across the country , sharks are not targeted due to the lack of a domestic market. The export markets, especially southeast Asian nations, seek shark fin. What troubled the sector was the addition of five species of sharks and two manta rays to CITES certification which meant that exporters would have to get a no-objection clearance from a government body .

Now, Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) - the scientific authority for assessing the survival of a species and whether it should be traded - has cleared the sharks and rays for export. These include scalloped hammerhead shark Sphyrna lewini, great hammerhead shark Sphyrna mokarran, smooth hammerhead shark Sphyrna zygaena, oceanic whitetip shark, Carcharhinus longimanus, giant manta ray Manta birostris and reef manta ray Manta alfredi.

Welcoming the decision, seafood exporters said that a ban often doesn't work. "It is better to regulate and monitor.Fishermen will continue their catch and will find markets anyway . Instead, it would be better to allow sharks to be caught with caution against juvenile fishing and endangered species. There is a huge domestic market for the shark meat while Singapore and Hong Kong continue to be the export markets for fins," said Anwar Hashim, former president, Seafood Exporters Association of India. 

There is no targeted fishery for hammerhead sharks which is just 0.73% of the total shark landings in India.


Bert Guevara's insight:
More bad news for the embattled shark. 

"Welcoming the decision, seafood exporters said that a ban often doesn't work. "It is better to regulate and monitor. Fishermen will continue their catch and will find markets anyway . Instead, it would be better to allow sharks to be caught with caution against juvenile fishing and endangered species. There is a huge domestic market for the shark meat while Singapore and Hong Kong continue to be the export markets for fins,"
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Great Barrier Reef may never recover from bleaching – study ("ocean warming too hot for recovery")

Great Barrier Reef may never recover from bleaching – study ("ocean warming too hot for recovery") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Record-high temperatures in 2015 and 2016 drove an unprecedented bleaching episode.

Record-high temperatures in 2015 and 2016 drove an unprecedented bleaching episode, which occurs when stressed corals expel the algae that live in their tissue and provide them with food. 

Bleached coral is more susceptible to disease, and without sufficient time to recover – which can take one decade or several depending on the species – it can die. 

For the new study, an international team examined the impact of 3 major bleaching events – in 1998, 2002 and 2016 – over the reef's entire 2,300-kilometer (1,400-mile) length. 

In 2016, they found, the proportion of constituent reefs experiencing extreme bleaching was over 4 times higher than in the two previous episodes. 

Only 9% escaped bleaching altogether, compared with more than 40% in 2002 and 1998. 

"The chances of the northern Great Barrier Reef returning to its pre-bleaching assemblage structure are slim given the scale of damage that occurred in 2016 and the likelihood of a fourth bleaching event occurring within the next decade or two as global temperatures continue to rise," the team wrote. 

Earlier this month, researchers warned that the reef was already experiencing an unprecedented second straight year of bleaching. 

Local reef protection "affords little or no resistance" to extreme heat, the researchers wrote in the journal Nature.

Bert Guevara's insight:
No good news coming for the Great Barrier Reef. Corals all over the planet are also struggling under ocean warming and acidification.

"Bolstering resilience will become more challenging and less effective in coming decades because local interventions have had no discernible effect on resistance of corals to extreme heat stress," the study said. 
The only solution, the researchers argued, is "urgent and rapid action" to limit global warming that is expected to further increase water temperatures and coral die-offs.
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There's A Bold New Plan To Make Ocean Trash A Thing Of The Past ("time nations to get act together")

There's A Bold New Plan To Make Ocean Trash A Thing Of The Past ("time nations to get act together") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Ten countries have already signed on.

The way things are going now, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish by 2050. An ambitious United Nations campaign aims to stop this from happening. 

On Wednesday, UN Environment announced its #CleanSeas initiative at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Bali, Indonesia. The campaign focuses on two major sources of marine litter: single-use plastic bags and microplastics in cosmetic products. The goal is to eliminate these major sources of marine litter by 2022. 

“We’ve stood by too long as the problem has gotten worse,” Erik Solheim, head of UN Environment, said in a statement. “It must stop.”

Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans. Much of it can’t be broken down and will remain in the oceans for centuries. The debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. It also causes fish to be smaller and slower than those raised in clean water. 

There’s also a concern that it could be harmful for humans to consume fish that have ingested plastic, but more research needs to be done on the issue. 

Plastic pollution costs $8 billion in damage to marine ecosystems each year, according to UN Environment. 

Ten countries, which are considered pioneers in addressing the issue, have joined the #CleanSeas initiative. They include Indonesia, Uruguay, Belgium, Costa Rica and France. The United States hasn’t yet joined in.

Bert Guevara's insight:
Would you rather stop eating fish or clean the oceans?

"Each year, more than 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans. Much of it can’t be broken down and will remain in the oceans for centuries. The debris injures and kills fish, seabirds and marine mammals. It also causes fish to be smaller and slower than those raised in clean water.
"There’s also a concern that it could be harmful for humans to consume fish that have ingested plastic, but more research needs to be done on the issue."
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Making the Deep Blue Sea Green Again ("state of the oceans is an urgent international issue")

Making the Deep Blue Sea Green Again ("state of the oceans is an urgent international issue") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it
“Our ocean is the first and eternal playground of our children, they don’t go to parks they go to the ocean, they go to the beach, they go to the coral reefs, and all that is just collapsing around them,” Jumeau told IPS. 
The tiny country off the East Coast of Africa is one of 39 UN member states known as small island states, or as Jumeau likes to call them: “large ocean states.” 
Ambassadors and delegations from these 39 countries often speak at UN headquarters in New York steadfastly sounding the alarm about the changes to the world’s environment they are witnessing first hand. Jumeau sees these island states as sentinels or guardians of the oceans. He prefers these names to being called the canary in the gold mine because, he says: “the canaries usually end up dead.” 
Yet while much is known about the threats rising oceans pose to the world’s small island states, much less is known about how these large ocean states help defend everyone against the worst impacts of climate change by storing “blue carbon.” 
“We are not emitting that much carbon dioxide but we are taking everyone else’s carbon dioxide into our oceans,” says Jumeau.
Despite decades of research, the blue carbon value of oceans and coastal regions is only beginning to be fully appreciated for its importance in the fight against climate change. 
“There’s proof that mangroves, seas salt marshes and sea grasses absorb more carbon (per acre) than forests, so if you’re saying then to people don’t cut trees than we should also be saying don’t cut the underwater forests,” says Jumeau.
Mangroves guard against erosion and protect coral reefs. They are also provide nurseries for fish.
Bert Guevara's insight:
In June 2017, which is also Environment Month, there will be a U.N. Ocean Conference to tackle the deteriorating condition of our oceans.
The Philippines has as much stake as any other country on the condition of our oceans, considering its long coastline.

“If you look at the trends right now, you see more and more overfishing, we are seeing more and more pollution, plastic litter coming into our oceans, and we’re also seeing all the stress that the ocean is under due to climate change, acidification of the water, but also the warming and sea level rises and all of this is putting a tremendous, tremendous pressure on our oceans,” said Lövin.
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Dolphin & whale deaths rise 5-fold with 56 mammals washing up on beaches (man-made causes increasing")

Dolphin & whale deaths rise 5-fold with 56 mammals washing up on beaches (man-made causes increasing") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Fifty-six dolphins and whales have washed up on beaches in Ireland so far this year making 2017 the worst on record for such strandings. 

The number of deaths is a fivefold increase on the same period in 2010. They have prompted an unprecedented meeting this week between experts from state marine and wildlife agencies and fishing and trawler organisations to discover what is killing so many of the species. 

Pollution, trawler nets, disease, natural causes and inclement weather are all possible causes for the demise of the marine mammals whose beached bodies are being discovered almost every other day on some part of the coastline. 

Former taoiseach Charlie Haughey famously made Ireland the first whale and dolphin sanctuary in Europe in 1991 during his last term in office but this decade has seen more than 1,000 of the creatures stranding. 

While some die of natural causes like hunger or illness, others bodies bear the tell-tale marks of having been caught in a net but there are no conclusive causes of death as the animals currently don’t undergo an autopsy in Ireland. 

The death toll is heaviest every January and February and it is rising ever year. 

“Every January and February, I see a non-stop stream of dead dolphins coming in all over the country. It’s something we didn’t get to the same level at all before 2011,” he said. 

The numbers have snowballed from around 30 strandings a year at the start of the century to figures of around 200 annually in recent years. If the dolphins or whales are caught up in the giant trawler nets they suffer a terrible death of drowning or being crushed while being towed by the mammoth ships underwater. 

Bert Guevara's insight:
A silent ocean kill is happening that is not properly monitored. Do we care enough for dolphins and whales?

"Pollution, trawler nets, disease, natural causes and inclement weather are all possible causes for the demise of the marine mammals whose beached bodies are being discovered almost every other day on some part of the coastline.
"It is thought the numbers washing up onshore are only a tiny fraction of the mammals caught in nets which are thrown overboard and disappear without a trace at sea. 
“One study suggests as little as 8% of dolphins dying at sea are actually recorded,” said Mr O’Connell."
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Sharks Could Be Resistant To Cancer And Scientists Think They Know Why ("stop shark fin hunting now")

Sharks Could Be Resistant To Cancer And Scientists Think They Know Why ("stop shark fin hunting now") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

The ancient creatures may be even tougher than they look.

At 400 million years old, the shark animal group is one of the oldest on the planet. So it’s no surprise it’s picked up some impressive tricks along the way. 

Scientists know the ancient creatures are super effective wound healers, and they suspect they have a greater resistance to cancer too. 

Now a new study suggests a link between sharks’ natural survival mechanisms and their fine-tuned immune systems, and it could pave the way for new approaches to treatments in humans. 

Researchers identified two immune genes, legumanin and Bag1, which if over-expressed in humans are associated with cancer, but in sharks appear to have been modified as a result of natural selection. 

It’s thought that the protein produced by the genes in sharks may have a new function, potentially protecting the animals from even acquiring cancer.

The Bag1 gene is often involved in inhibiting cells’ death in people, preventing those that are dysfunctional from being eliminated. 

But in sharks it’s suspected that the gene may have evolved to remove its tendency to inhibit programmed cell death. 

“Several studies have demonstrated anti-tumor properties of shark-derived compounds in lab studies,” said Mahmood Shivji, the study’s co-lead and director of Nova Southeastern University’s Save Our Seas Shark Research Center.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The shark that we are killing by the millions (for their fins) may hold the secret to man's longer life. Ocean life holds a lot of undiscovered secrets that were created for man. 
This does not mean we should eat shark meat!

“It’s intriguing that we are now seeing evidence of evolutionary adaptation in these specific shark immunity genes, which just happen also to be involved in promoting cancer in humans,” Shivji added. 
"He said that more research was required to confirm the notion that sharks are more resistant to cancers, stressing that eating shark meat would not cure or prevent cancer. The meat’s high mercury content could even damage our health."
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Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate ("no room for denialism when waters really rise")

Perils of Climate Change Could Swamp Coastal Real Estate ("no room for denialism when waters really rise") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

Homeowners are slowly growing wary of buying property in the areas most at risk, setting up a potential economic time bomb in an industry that is struggling to adapt.

Real estate agents looking to sell coastal properties usually focus on one thing: how close the home is to the water’s edge. But buyers are increasingly asking instead how far back it is from the waterline. How many feet above sea level? Is it fortified against storm surges? Does it have emergency power and sump pumps? 

Rising sea levels are changing the way people think about waterfront real estate. Though demand remains strong and developers continue to build near the water in many coastal cities, homeowners across the nation are slowly growing wary of buying property in areas most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. 

A warming planet has already forced a number of industries — coal, oil, agriculture and utilities among them — to account for potential future costs of a changed climate. The real estate industry, particularly along the vulnerable coastlines, is slowly awakening to the need to factor in the risks of catastrophic damage from climate change, including that wrought by rising seas and storm-driven flooding. 

But many economists say that this reckoning needs to happen much faster and that home buyers urgently need to be better informed. Some analysts say the economic impact of a collapse in the waterfront property market could surpass that of the bursting dot-com and real estate bubbles of 2000 and 2008. 

The fallout would be felt by property owners, developers, real estate lenders and the financial institutions that bundle and resell mortgages.

Over the past five years, home sales in flood-prone areas grew about 25 percent less quickly than in counties that do not typically flood, according to county-by-county data from Attom Data Solutions, the parent company of RealtyTrac. Many coastal residents are rethinking their investments and heading for safer ground.

Bert Guevara's insight:
When sea-level rise begins to affect the real estate industry, then climate reality wakes up the deniers and the apathetic public.
The Philippines, with all its coastlines, is experiencing a higher rate of sea level rise from the Pacific region, compared to other regions of the world. It's time to re-write the textbooks.

"It is not just property owners, buyers and sellers who are struggling to estimate the potential financial impact of climate change on the real estate market. These risks compound as individual mortgages get bundled and sold as securities. In his April report, Mr. Becketti, the Freddie Mac economist, emphasized how difficult it was to predict whether the bubble in coastal real estate would slowly deflate or suddenly pop."
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We cannot survive without our oceans. We must act to save them - now ("primary life support system")

We cannot survive without our oceans. We must act to save them - now ("primary life support system") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

We have a choice. We can degrade the salty water that covers most of our planet or we can steward it in a way that enables it to take care of us.

The oceans of the Earth can exist without us. If we humans become extinct, they won’t even notice we’re gone. We, however, simply cannot exist without our oceans. We need them. They are the primary life support system on Earth, the lungs, climate regulator, and ultimate food factory - connected deeply to each of us and nearly every economic activity that makes our world go round. 

For those old enough to remember - and for the young and curious, too - you may know “Earthrise,” the iconic photograph taken on 24 December, 1968 by a 35-year-old American astronaut and engineer named William Anders as he looked through a small, frosty window of Apollo 8, the first spacecraft to leave Earth’s gravity and orbit the moon. 

From 380,000km away, our spectacular planet appeared as a vulnerable, mostly blue sphere, vividly illustrating their size and importance – they cover some 70% of the Earth with an average depth of four kilometers.

Since then, we’ve explored just 10% of our oceans’ contents. We’ve learnt they provide 99% of the Earth’s living space and contain around 80% of all living organisms. They are the largest space in our universe known to be inhabited by organisms. 

They provide our Earth with a moist, livable climate, full of oxygen from trillions of microscopic plants floating like tiny stars in a watery, immense universe, producing close to 100 million tons of food each year, enough to provide one in every four or five people with their daily protein.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The ignoramus of the human species can kill our lifeline. By mismanaging our oceans, we are killing ourselves.

"Since then, we’ve explored just 10% of our oceans’ contents. We’ve learnt they provide 99% of the Earth’s living space and contain around 80% of all living organisms. They are the largest space in our universe known to be inhabited by organisms. 
"They provide our Earth with a moist, livable climate, full of oxygen from trillions of microscopic plants floating like tiny stars in a watery, immense universe, producing close to 100 million tons of food each year, enough to provide one in every four or five people with their daily protein."
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Dirty Danube: looming pollution threats to world’s most int'l river ("microplastics is new threat")

Dirty Danube: looming pollution threats to world’s most int'l river ("microplastics is new threat") | Water Stewardship | Scoop.it

After barely surviving decades of pollution during the communist era, the Danube is facing new threats from microplastics, pesticides and pharma waste.

Looking out over the Danube river as it passes through central Budapest, Gabor Farkass, director of Hungarian Plastics Association, bemoans his local authority’s careless attitude to recycling . “There are some sad pictures coming out in the media, because [scientists] check the riverbed, they check inside fish and birds, and they find a load of plastic,” he says. After barely surviving decades of heavy pollution by industries in the communist era, the ecological status of the Danube river has dramatically improved. But threats from new sources of pollution are looming on the world’s most international river, which tracks almost 1,800 miles through 10 countries and four capitals.

The river is seeing a rise in plastic waste, pesticide run off and pharmaceutical waste. But perhaps the biggest difficulty is working out exactly what and where these problems are. The last Joint Danube Survey report by International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) lists the top 20 hazardous substances to the entire river and found that just seven of them are officially reported on. 

“We have a massive lack of information about what kind of pollutants industries are releasing into the Danube,” says Adam Kovacs, technical expert for pollution control at the ICPDR. He says that EU legislation is behind industrial development. 

One of the newer pollution threats is microplastics, which can affect fish and fish larvae that confuse the particles with food sources. A study in Austria last year discovered that 40 tonnes of microplastics, pieces of plastic 5mm or smaller in diameter, are being transported each year through the country’s stretch of the river alone. It found that littering, wind carry and ineffective waste management are key contributors as larger plastic particles in the environment breakdown into smaller microplastics. 

If the synopsis sounds bleak, that’s because it is; despite the apparent urgency there is not yet a standardised scientific methodology for measuring microplastics in environmental samples. Scientists admit they know little about the long-term impacts to the Danube, human health, or the wider natural environment.

Bert Guevara's insight:
The newest threat to marine pollution is microplastics. This is happening worldwide because of the modern consumer products that are draining into our water bodies after use.
Be aware and refrain from using these products.

"One of the newer pollution threats is microplastics, which can affect fish and fish larvae that confuse the particles with food sources. A study in Austria last year discovered that 40 tonnes of microplastics, pieces of plastic 5mm or smaller in diameter, are being transported each year through the country’s stretch of the river alone. It found that littering, wind carry and ineffective waste management are key contributors as larger plastic particles in the environment breakdown into smaller microplastics.
"If the synopsis sounds bleak, that’s because it is; despite the apparent urgency there is not yet a standardised scientific methodology for measuring microplastics in environmental samples. Scientists admit they know little about the long-term impacts to the Danube, human health, or the wider natural environment."
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