by The Guardian, August 13, 2019
Plastic was the furthest thing from Gregory Wetherbee’s mind when he began analyzing rainwater samples collected from the Rocky Mountains. “I guess I expected to see mostly soil and mineral particles,” said the US Geological Survey researcher. Instead, he found multicolored microscopic plastic fibers.
The discovery, published in a recent study (pdf) titled “It is raining plastic”, raises new questions about the amount of plastic waste permeating the air, water, and soil virtually everywhere on Earth.
“I think the most important result that we can share with the American public is that there’s more plastic out there than meets the eye,” said Wetherbee. “It’s in the rain, it’s in the snow. It’s a part of our environment now.”
Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers, as well as beads and shards. The findings shocked Wetherbee, who had been collecting the samples in order to study nitrogen pollution.
Rainwater samples collected across Colorado and analyzed under a microscope contained a rainbow of plastic fibers. Photograph: USGS
by Barbara Jones, August 5, 2017 in MailOnline
- Sky News investigated the Katanga mines and found Dorsen, 8, and Monica, 4
- The pair were working in the vast mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo
- They are two of the 40,000 children working daily in the mines, checking rocks for cobalt
Eight-year-old Dorsen is pictured cowering beneath the raised hand of an overseer who warns him not to spill a rock
by Christina Lamb, March 21, 2019 in GWPF/SundayTimes
Exploited by Chinese firms, workers as young as nine risk their lives to feed the world’s growing hunger for cobalt.
by American Chemical Society, December 5, 2018 in ScienceDaily
New Mexico contains hundreds of historic uranium mines. Although active uranium mining in the state has ceased, rates of cardiovascular and metabolic disease remain high in the population residing close to mines within the Navajo Nation. According to a new study in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, inhaled uranium in dusts from the mines could be a factor.
by University of Leeds, October 17, 2018 in ScienceDaily
A study by the University of Leeds has examined measurements from more than 1600 locations in China and found that more than 50 per cent of the locations showed a significant decrease in concentrations of sulphur dioxide and fine particulates that make up a large portion of air pollution.
The team used datasets from 2015 to 2017 consisting of hourly assessments of concentrations of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2), Ozone (O3), and fine particles measuring less than 2.5 μm (PM2.5).
by P. Gosselin, September 30, 2018 in NoTricksZone
We have to face it: The West has done our planet no favor by moving industrial production and manufacturing to China. Trump is right, many of factories and industries are better back home, even if it means paying a bit more for products.
Not only does the China use the oceans as a global dump for much of its plastic trash, the country now is gearing up to turn parts of the planet into a toxic solar panel waste dump.
According to French science magazine Futura here, we are looking at a “solar panel time bomb”.
Futura describes how China is installing “gigantic” solar panel farms in remote places like Tibet and how 30 years from now the country will have “mountains of solar panels reaching their end of their lives and that nothing is planned for their collection and recycling.”
by Michigan Technological University, August 2, 2018 in ScienceDaily
Using 100-year-old minerals processing methods, chemical engineering students have found a solution to a looming 21st-century problem: how to economically recycle lithium ion batteries.
Pan, an assistant professor of chemical engineering at Michigan Technological University, earned his graduate degrees in mining engineering. It was his idea to adapt 20th century mining technology to recycle lithium ion batteries, from the small ones in cell phones to the multi-kilowatt models that power electric cars. Pan figured the same technologies used to separate metal from ore could be applied to spent batteries. So he gave his students a crash course in basic minerals processing methods and set them loose in the lab.
by Anthony Watts, July 31, 2018 in WUWT
As many WUWT readers know, there’s this push to “save the planet” by banning plastic straws. Like most liberal Earth saving fantasies, it’s rooted in shonky science, or in this case, no science at all, just a guess.
by University of the Basque Country, July 19, 2018 in ScienceDaily
A study conducted in mining areas in Asturias by the Animal Ecotoxicity and Biodiversity group led by Dr Pilar Rodriguez, through collaboration between the Department of Zoology and Animal Cellular Biology and that of Genetics, Physical Anthropology and Animal Physiology of the UPV/EHU’s Faculty of Science and Technology, and the Limnology Laboratory at the University of Vigo has enabled progress to be made in this field and has proposed the ecological threshold concentration for 7 metals (cadmium, chromium, copper, mercury, nickel, lead and zinc) and two metalloids (arsenic and selenium). The study included a number of non-contaminated localities belonging to the reference network of the Nalón river basin as well as other highly contaminated ones. This is a basin with a long history of mining activities due to the high levels of metals naturally occurring in its rocks.
by Eric Worrall, May 12, 2018 in WUWT
Puna Geothermal Venture has removed 60,000 gallons of flammable Pentane from a geothermal plant in the path of the Hawaii volcanic eruption. But concerns remain that if the geothermal wells break, they could flood the neighbourhood with toxic volcanic gasses.
Kilauea eastern rift zone fissure eruption May 2018. By United States Geological Survey [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
by B. Friedlander, January 25, 2018 in CornellChronicle
“Plastics make ideal vessels for colonizing microscopic organisms that could trigger disease if they come into contact with corals,” Lamb said. “Plastic items – commonly made of polypropylene, such as bottle caps and toothbrushes – have been shown to become heavily inhabited by bacteria. This is associated with the globally devastating group of coral diseases known as white syndromes.”
When plastic debris meets coral, the authors say, the likelihood of disease increases from 4 to 89 percent – a 20-fold change. The scientists estimate that about 11.1 billion plastic items are entangled on reefs across the Asia-Pacific region, and that this will likely increase 40 percent over the next seven years.
by UNIVERSITY OF YORK and the “blame Russia” department, February 26, 2018 in WUWT
Global levels of ethane and propane in the atmosphere have been underestimated by more than 50%, new research involving scientists at the University of York has revealed.
These hydrocarbons are particularly harmful in large cities where, through chemical reactions with emissions from cars, they form ozone – a greenhouse gas which is a key component of smog and directly linked to increases in mortality.
See also here and here
by E. Krukowska and R. Morison, February 26, 2018 in Bloomberg
European Union nations are poised to endorse the biggest overhaul of the market they created more than a decade ago to rein in pollution, a move that may lift prices of power generated from fossil fuels.
The measures, due for final approval in Brussels on Tuesday, impose tougher requirements on thousands of companies to reduce greenhouse gases or pay higher costs for their carbon dioxide emissions. They’re part of a plan to clear up a flaw in the market that left the cost of CO2 permits well below the level needed to stir investments in green energy.
by Edouard Guigue, 13 janvier 2018
Que sont les métaux rares ? Des ressources peu connues mais essentielles au fonctionnement de l’espace mondialisé. Insérées au cœur de tout appareil électronique, sans elles aucune de nos technologies numériques n’existerait. Composant également la plupart de nos technologies vertes (éoliennes, panneaux solaires ou voitures électriques), leurs modes de production laissent toutefois perplexe sur leur capacité à s’établir comme alternatives durables aux énergies fossiles. La pollution ne serait pas réduite mais simplement délocalisée… essentiellement en Chine où 95% des terres rares sont produites. Un chiffre qui par ailleurs devrait nous alarmer sur la situation de dépendance à la Chine dans laquelle le reste du monde -dont l’Europe- se trouve depuis les années 1980. Guillaume Pitron nous présente une enquête de six ans, dont les résultats sont à retrouver dans son livre La guerre des métaux rares.