Pollution

BP to retrieve blowout preventer
August 23, 2010 04:09 PM - Reuters

BP Plc aims to retrieve a failed blowout preventer atop its ruptured Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday, the top U.S. official overseeing the oil spill response said on Monday. But first, the company hopes to fish out a 3,500-foot (1,066-meter) drillpipe believed to be hanging in the giant stack of pipes and valves to ease the removal and replacement with another blowout preventer.

Maine Town Rolls Out Trash Metering
August 23, 2010 09:09 AM - Leon Kaye, Triple Pundit

If you are fairly diligent about recycling, do not buy a lot of junk or processed food, and barely toss any trash in your garbage bin, why should you pay the same rate as your neighbor whose bin is filled to capacity? Sanford residents implemented a trash metering system that requires residents to pay by the bag for curbside collection. After one month, the 50% decrease in garbage tonnage far exceeded the town manager's expectations.

Ocean pH
August 20, 2010 11:32 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Ocean acidification is the name given to the ongoing decrease in the pH of the Earth's oceans, caused by their uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Between 1751 and 1994 surface ocean pH is estimated to have decreased from approximately 8.18 to 8.1. PH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of a solution. It approximates but is not equal to concentration of hydrogen ions expressed on a logarithmic scale. A low pH indicates a high concentration of hydrogen ions, while a high pH indicates a low concentration. A strong acid would be less than 1 on this scale. A recent study indicates the relative impact on future ocean acidification of different aspects of global climate change mitigation policies such as the year that global emissions peak.

Massive oil plume discovered in the Gulf
August 20, 2010 08:15 AM - Rhett Butler, MONGABAY.COM

Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) have detected a plume of hydrocarbons that is at least 22 miles long and more than 3,000 feet below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, a result of the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, reports a study published in Science. The 1.2-mile-wide, 650-foot-high plume of trapped hydrocarbons provides a clue on where all the oil has gone as oil slicks on the surface disappear.

Farmers oppose EPA's proposed dust regulation
August 20, 2010 07:03 AM - Alina Selyukh, Reuters

American farmers have been ridiculing a proposal by U.S. regulators to reduce the amount of dust floating in rural air. "If there's ever been rural America, that's what rural America is," said Nebraska hog farmer Danny Kluthe. "You know? It's dirt out here, and with dirt you've got dust." The Environmental Protection Agency is looking to tighten standards for the amount of harmful particles in the air, facing opposition from U.S. farming groups who call it an unrealistic attempt to regulate dust. The EPA is reviewing its air quality standards to comply with the Clean Air Act that prescribes reevaluation every five years. The agency's scientific panel proposes either retaining or halving the current standard for coarse particles, commonly containing dust, ash and chemical pollutants--particles 10 microns or smaller in diameter, about one-tenth of human hair.

New Ways to Mass Travel
August 18, 2010 10:50 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Not everyone can drive to work in their own vehicle. Planners must find ways to blend individual vehicles with hte needs of mass transportation. Building train stations or subways is highly capital intensive and involves years of construction and related dealys due ot construction. Adding buses adds to traffic. Furthermore mass transist needs to be safe, clean and inexpensive. The straddling bus, first exhibited on the 13th Beijing International High-tech Expo in May this year, maybe one answer. In the near future, the model is to be put into pilot use in Beijing’s Mentougou District.

Plastics and Detergents May Contribute to Lobster Die-Offs
August 17, 2010 10:03 PM - Yale Environment 360

Waterborne chemicals leached from plastics and detergents, including bisphenol A (BPA), may have contributed to significant lobster die-offs in the waters of Long Island Sound over the last decade, researchers say. As many as half of the lobsters tested in areas where lobster populations have plunged showed high levels of alkylphenols, a group of chemicals derived from detergents, paints, and plastics, according to researchers at the University of Connecticut.

Oregon Dead Zone
August 17, 2010 10:26 AM - Andy Soos, ENN

Dead zones are hypoxic (low-oxygen) areas in the world's oceans, the observed incidences of which have been increasing since oceanographers began noting them in the 1970s. These occur near inhabited coastlines, where aquatic life is most concentrated. Every summer for the past nine years, water with lethally low concentrations of oxygen has appeared off the Oregon coast. The cause is not clear and it does not fit the pattern of several other dead zones associated with man made run off issues. Some other causes have been recently implicated in a research study by Oregon State University.

Smithsonian Catalogs Life Before The Gulf Spill
August 16, 2010 07:24 AM - NPR

It'll take years to fully know the effects of the BP oil spill on wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico. One thing we do know now is what that wildlife was like before the 206 million gallons of oil spewed into the water. For that knowledge, we have the Smithsonian Institution to thank. The Smithsonian Institution's Museum Support Center is an anonymous beige warehouse complex just outside Washington, D.C. It doesn't look like anything special until you get inside. These buildings house all the things that don't fit into the museums on the National Mall, in endless rows of jars and bottles and boxes. Among them is the world's largest collection of invertebrates from the Gulf of Mexico, all floating in 150-proof alcohol. It's a pretty comprehensive snapshot of life before the spill.

Few Chernobyl radiation risks from Russia fires
August 14, 2010 08:01 AM - Kate Kelland, Reuters

Fears that fires scorching forests polluted by Chernobyl fallout may propel dangerous amounts of radioactivity into the air are overblown, scientists say, and the actual health risks are very small. Even firefighters tackling the blazes, which officials say have hit forests in Russia's Bryansk region tainted by radioactive dust from the 1986 Chernobyl reactor disaster, are unlikely to run any added nuclear contamination risks. The amount of radiation in smoke would be only a fraction of the original fallout, they say. "Of the total radioactivity in the area, much less than one percent of it will be remobilized," said Jim Smith, an expert on Chernobyl and a specialist in Earth and Environmental Sciences at Britain's University of Portsmouth. Radioactive contamination in the area has substantially diminished in the almost two and a half decades since explosions at Chernobyl's reactor No. 4 caused the world's worst civil nuclear disaster on April 26, 1986.

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