Shortly after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, scientists found methane concentrations 100,000 times above normal levels and feared the worst for the area’s eco-system. Now it appears one of the biggest heroes in this disaster saga came in the form of one of the smallest living organisms known to man. As reported in Popular Science, a species of methane-munching bacteria known as methanotrophs began proliferating after the spill, and within a period of months began to tidy up the area. In fact, so proficient were the organisms that when scientists took measurements in October [...]
Without a doubt, one of the more pressing environmental challenges deals with the issue of sewage treatment. This is because, as noted by the National Center for Policy Analysis, sewage systems in some 770 cities are outdated, with many having been built more than a century ago. Thus to meet new clean water standards, many communities - which have in the past simply dumped untreated waste into rivers during heavy rainfall - must now build new facilities or massive underground tanks to hold their sewage, and the costs for this are simply extravagant. Since the federal government once subsidized [...]
By Paul Driessen and Robert NovakFina’s little body shook for hours with teeth-chattering chills. The next day her torment worsened, as nausea and vomiting continued even after there was nothing left in her stomach. Finally, her vomiting ebbed and chills turned to fever, drenching her body in sweat. Then more chills, fevers, nausea, convulsions, and constant, unbearable pain in every muscle, bone and joint.She cried out, and tears mixed with sweat. But no one could help her. She had no money for doctors, medicines or a hospital room. She didn’t even have a mother or father to comfort her. All the [...]
By Alan CarubaOne of the shows I enjoy watching on the Science Channel is “How It’s Made.” All manner of things we use to enhance our lives start out as raw materials and the process of manufacturing is a miracle of transformation.Virtually all forms of manufacturing require some chemical element, often several. Given the indispensability of chemicals in society and commerce, does it strike anyone as odd that, if you were born after 1960, there’s a high likelihood that you grew up being told that “chemicals” are bad?In 1962 Rachel Carson kicked off this bizarre notion with her bestselling book, “Silent [...]
"We will eradicate malaria by 2010," stricken families were promised a few years ago. Well, 2010 is nearly gone and, instead of eradication, we have more malaria than before … and a new target date: 2015. Unless malaria control policies change, that date too will come and go. Billions will still be at risk of getting malaria. Hundreds of millions will continue getting the disease. Millions will die or become permanently brain-damaged. And poverty and misery will continue ravaging Third World communities. For years, malaria strategies have been dominated by insecticide-treated bed nets, Artemisia-based drugs, improved diagnostics and hospitals, educational campaigns, [...]
By Fiona KobusingyeI wish I had a shilling for every time someone told me spraying homes with DDT to prevent malaria is like using Africans in evil experiments. I would be a rich woman.That claim is a blatant falsehood. Even worse, it hides the many ways poor Africans really are being used in environmental experiments that cause increased poverty, disease and death.If any people were ever used in DDT experiments, it was Americans and Europeans. During World War II, this insecticide and mosquito repellant was sprayed on tents and around camps to keep American and British soldiers from getting malaria. After [...]
Saying runoff from dairy farms owned by Pennsylvania’s storied Amish is polluting the Chesapeake Bay, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is demanding that the Amish change their centuries-old ways of farming.The Obama administration is cracking down on farms in states where agricultural runoff contributes to the buildup of nitrogen and phosphorus in the bay. States in EPA’s bull’s eye include Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania.. According to EPA data, Pennsylvania’s Lancaster County, home to the nation’s largest Amish community, generates more pounds of manure than any other county on the agency’s list of bay polluters.EPA’s latest effort to cleanup the [...]
Transocean’s semi-submersible drilling vessel Deepwater Horizon was finishing work on a wellbore that had found oil 18,000 feet beneath the seafloor, in mile-deep water fifty miles off the Louisiana coast. Supervisors in the control cabin overlooking the drilling operations area were directing routine procedures to cement, plug and seal the borehole, replace heavy drilling fluids with seawater and extract the drill stem and bit through the riser (outer containment pipe) that connected the vessel to the blowout preventer (BOP) on the seafloor.Suddenly, a thump and hiss were followed by a towering eruption of seawater, drilling mud, cement, oil and natural gas. [...]
We all use sponges to clean up little spills or messes in the kitchen. But could sponges also be used to help clean up serious pollutants like mercury or lead from our water?
Should homeowners be able to use vinyl plumbing pipes? Well some have raised concerns about the health and environmental safety of vinyl pipes that actually led to bans in places like California and New York.