• Europe is exporting more waste than ever as illegal trade grows

    As waste is increasingly moving across EU borders for recovery or disposal, the European Environment Agency (EEA) is warning of a big rise in the export of hazardous waste to countries outside of Europe. Increasingly stringent and harmonised waste policies in the EU have led countries to transport more waste material elsewhere, for example if they do not have the facilities to recycle or dispose of particular types of waste. >> Read the Full Article
  • Open Air Fires

    For millenia mankind has used fires to keep warm and cook. What could be so wrong in burning a little wood? Expanding its focus on the link between the atmosphere and human health, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) is launching a three-year, international study into the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and disease. The study will break new ground by bringing together atmospheric scientists, engineers, statisticians, and social scientists who will analyze the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods on households, villages, and entire regions. >> Read the Full Article
  • Shocking Number of Squatters Found in Sumatran National Park

    Sumatra's Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park—home to the Critically Endangered Sumatran rhinos, tigers, and elephants—has become overrun with coffee farmers, loggers, and opportunists according to a new paper in Conservation and Society. An issue facing the park for decades, the study attempted for the first time to determine the number of squatters either living in or farming off Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the rough census—over 100,000 people—shocked scientists. "In some parts of the Park the squatters are so numerous that the area looks more like a Javanese countryside," lead author Patrice Levang with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) told mongabay.com. >> Read the Full Article
  • Malaysian dam project will set precedent on how to treat indigenous people

    The controversial Murum dam in Malaysia is the first big overseas project for the China Three Gorges Project Company (CTGC) which is building hydro- and coal-fired power stations in 23 countries. So how it resolves its current conflict with the protesting Penan tribe will set an important precedent as to how other Indigenous people are treated. Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo and is covered in ancient rainforest. This pristine oasis is home to many rare species, including the Slow loris, Clouded leopard, eight species of Hornbill as well as the iconic Orang-utang. Logging practices in the Sarawak region have decimated the habitat of these, and thousands of other unique species, and caused irreparable damage to valuable peat lands. >> Read the Full Article
  • Combatting Indoor Air Pollution from Downtown Cities

    Air is constantly being circulated in large cities as air conditioning and heating units intake city air and use it to heat and cool their offices and residential buildings. As urban populations expand, and as downtown buildings grow higher and higher, we often forget about the growing pollution within the downtown areas. And because these buildings are so close together, neighboring buildings are often forced to intake polluted air into their indoor air systems. To combat this issue, researchers from Concordia University have modeled scenarios and have figured out a way to solve a portion of circulating polluted air. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hurricane Sandy Highlights Stormwater Management, New Industrial Discharge Permit

    The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy highlights why coastal flooding and stormwater control can be expected to receive increased regulatory attention. As the New York metropolitan area struggles to regain its footing, regulators can be expected to take a closer look at plans to manage industrial stormwater runoff, which can carry chemicals, oil, and other pollutants. In fact, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has already made industrial stormwater runoff a high priority. >> Read the Full Article
  • Have Carbon Emissions Passed an Important Threshold?

    The annual rate of reduction of carbon emissions per unit of GDP needed to limit global warming to 2ºC, has passed a critical threshold according to new analysis from PwC. And the report's author warn the rate of reduction now required has never been achieved before and add: "This isn't about shock tactics, it's simple maths." The analysis in the PwC Low Carbon Economy Index, measuring developed and emerging economies progress towards reducing emissions linked to economic output. It demonstrates that at current rates of emissions growth at least 6C degrees of warming could be possible by the end of the century. >> Read the Full Article
  • Iskander Malaysia: World's First "Smart Metropolis"

    Malaysia is currently building the world's most advanced low-carbon mega-city comparable in size to the area of Luxembourg, with an expected population of 3 million by 2025. Iskandar Malaysia, the first "smart metropolis" of Southeast Asia founded on principles of social integration as well as low carbon emissions thanks to a green economy and green technologies, is a potential template for urban development in emerging countries with burgeoning populations, international experts say. >> Read the Full Article
  • Hurricane Sandy and Potentially Hazardous Waters

    When flood waters hit lubricating oils, heating oil, gasoline and diesel fuel and other potentially hazardous or toxic liquids, there is the potential for contamination of surface waters in ponds and rivers. The US Geological Survey is undertaking sampling of waters to see if contamination exceeds acceptable levels. As recovery efforts for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy continue, U.S. Geological Survey crews are sampling water for nutrients, sediment, and pesticides to document water quality in areas affected by the hurricane. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm. "We tend to think of events like Sandy in terms of the ephemeral effect of the wind, rain, waves, and even snow as it swept through our communities, but in fact this superstorm can have a longer-term effect in the large pulse of sediment and associated pollutants swept into our waterways," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "It is particularly important to quantify the input of this one unusual event before concluding that certain efforts to reduce pollutant run-off from year to year have or have not been effective." >> Read the Full Article
  • Researchers study effects of open-fire cooking on air quality and human health

    The National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) has just launched a study examining the impact of open-fire cooking on regional air quality and human health. The study will look at atmospheric air pollutants and human diseases in terms of the effects of smoke from traditional cooking methods in households, villages, and entire regions particularly in northern Ghana. There are many factors that force developing countries to rely on cooking food with open flame fires. For example, electricity and energy sources are extremely scarce and lead natives to use dried plant stalks and other mediums for fuel. Research suggests that the continued use of these open fire pits and stoves has the potential to create problems for local populations. >> Read the Full Article