Diesel exhaust found causing health hazards in EU cities
July 23, 2015 06:59 AM - EurActiv
The automotive industry needs to face up to the hazard to health posed by its diesel engines. That stark reality was brought home again to Europeans and, in particular, Londoners last week when Transport for London and the Greater London Authority revealed that an additional 5,900 early deaths annually in the EU’s largest city are attributable to long-term exposure to nitrogen dioxide (NO2), a toxic gas emitted in urban areas largely from diesel engines.
Concern about the health effects of NO2 is growing fast. The gas was known to irritate lungs and cause respiratory infections and asthma, including acute respiratory illnesses in children. It has also been linked to birth abnormalities. But this new research by King’s College London estimates for the first time the number of premature deaths caused. The study also shows an additional 3,500 deaths are caused by PM2.5, bringing the total number of people who die early because of air pollution annually in London to 9,400.
Eruption of Bardarbunga volcano in Iceland and its impact on SO2 concentrations in Europe
July 20, 2015 02:36 PM - EUROPEAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOCHEMISTRY via EurekAlert.
The six month long eruption of the Bardarbunga volcano (31 August 2014?27 February 2015 ) was the largest in Iceland since the devastating Laki eruption of 1783-84, producing around 1.6 km3 of lava, covering an area equivalent to Manhattan Island.
The eruption caused total Sulphur dioxide (SO2) emissions of nearly 12m tonnes, which exceeded the total SO2 emitted in Europe in 2011. In Iceland, concentration of SO2 exceeded the 350 µg m-3 hourly average health limit over much of the country for days to weeks. However, the effects of the volcano were not confined to Iceland - many parts of Europe also saw high SO2 levels.
Researchers were initially concerned that the SO2 emissions would be much higher, which would have caused serious health problems throughout Iceland and perhaps Europe.
How clouds get their brightness
July 17, 2015 02:34 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
How clouds form and how they help set the temperature of the earth are two of the big remaining questions in climate research. Now, a study of clouds over the world's remotest ocean shows that ocean life is responsible for up to half the cloud droplets that pop in and out of existence during summer.
France estimates the economic costs of air pollution
July 16, 2015 06:40 AM - Editors EurActiv
The French Senate has called for new efforts to tackle air pollution, arguing it inflates healthcare costs, reduces economic productivity and agricultural yields, and has put Paris in the EU's bad books.
A Committee of Inquiry in the French Senate has described air pollution as an "economic aberration". The committee's proposals to reduce the phenomenon, which costs France over €100 billion every year, include raising the tax on diesel and taxing emissions of the worst polluting substances.
In the report entitled "Air pollution: the cost of inaction", published on Wednesday 15 July, the Senate committee estimated the annual cost of air Pollution in France at €101.3 billion.
Going to the beach may require hand sanitizer in addition to sunscreen
July 15, 2015 01:07 PM - American Chemical Society
“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.” Sewage-contaminated coastal waters can lead to stomach aches, diarrhea and rashes for those who accidentally swallow harmful microbes or come into contact with them. But over the past decade, scientists have been finding fecal bacteria in beach sand at levels 10 to 100 times higher than in nearby seawater.
How microbes are cleaning up the BP oil spill
July 12, 2015 07:06 AM - Lizabeth Paulat, Care2
Microbes, primarily bacteria and fungi, get a bad rap in today’s society. However they’ve long played an incredible role within the Earth’s ecosystem. And one of the most important places microbes are transforming the earth is in the Gulf of Mexico, where a number of strains are busy munching up the oil still left over from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill, which took place just over five years ago caused a massive ecological disaster in and around the Gulf of Mexico. This is partially because the spill took so long to quell, with oil companies scrambling (and often failing) to stem the flow of oil from the seabed.
BP to pay billions in oil spill settlement
July 10, 2015 07:18 AM - Chris Sosa, Care2
BP has finally agreed to pay for the incredible damage it caused after the headline-grabbing oil disaster in 2010. The company made overtures at responsibility in the past, but this is the farthest BP has gone toward remedying the mess it made during the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.
Care2 has been vocal in demanding accountability for the company. A petition garnering over 150,000 signatures was delivered to BP’s offices, but the BP refused to accept the petition.
It seems BP has run out of options and will now be paying billions of dollars in a pending settlement.
E-Waste problem not going away
July 9, 2015 06:08 AM - ClickGreen staff, ClickGreen
While electrical and electronic equipment have never been more efficient, economical or in demand, consumers' desire to own the best and the latest is contributing to an environmental issue of increasing seriousness and concern, according to a new report.
"E-waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in developing, emerging and developed regions and it covers all electrical and electronic equipment and parts discarded by consumers," says Dr Sunil Herat, Associate Editor of the journal Waste Management & Research and a Senior Lecturer in the School of Engineering at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia.
Advertising coming to EV charging stations?
July 3, 2015 05:04 AM - BOB SHETH, Electric Forum
While many electric vehicle owners will find it irritating and annoying to be hit with adverts when charging their vehicles, is this a sign of the times? The fact that many larger companies are willing and prepared to pay for advertising space on “free” charging devices seems to indicate that the marketing industry believes the sector is here to stay. So, will advertising be a help or a hindrance to the industry going forward?
Until the electric vehicle industry cracks the “mass market” it is vital that the cost of services and products is kept as low as possible. There will come a point when costs will have to rise, services will be chargeable and the whole dynamic will be very different than what we see today but, in the meantime, is advertising on “free” charging stations really a hindrance?
Can pollution be good for trees?
June 30, 2015 07:46 AM - Society for Experimental Biology via EurekAlert!
Trees that can tolerate soil pollution are also better at defending themselves against pests and pathogens. "It looks like the very act of tolerating chemical pollution may give trees an advantage from biological invasion", says Dr Frederic E. Pitre of the University of Montreal and one of the researchers behind the discovery.