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Category Archives: Environmental Law

40 percent of plastic is used just once and it’s choking our waterways

National Geographic: We Made Plastic. We Depend on It. Now We’re Drowning in It. The miracle material has made modern life possible. But more than 40 percent of it is used just once, and it’s choking our waterways.

“Because plastic wasn’t invented until the late 19th century, and production really only took off around 1950, we have a mere 9.2 billion tons of the stuff to deal with. Of that, more than 6.9 billion tons have become waste. And of that waste, a staggering 6.3 billion tons never made it to a recycling bin—a figure that stunned the scientists who crunched the numbers in 2017. No one knows how much unrecycled plastic waste ends up in the ocean, Earth’s last sink. In 2015, Jenna Jambeck, a University of Georgia engineering professor, caught everyone’s attention with a rough estimate: between 5.3 million and 14 million tons each year just from coastal regions. Most of it isn’t thrown off ships, she and her colleagues say, but is dumped carelessly on land or in rivers, mostly in Asia. It’s then blown or washed into the sea. Imagine five plastic grocery bags stuffed with plastic trash, Jambeck says, sitting on every foot of coastline around the world—that would correspond to about 8.8 million tons, her middle-of-the-road estimate of what the ocean gets from us annually. It’s unclear how long it will take for that plastic to completely biodegrade into its constituent molecules. Estimates range from 450 years to never…”

Survey – Modern indoor living can be bad for your health

“…Whether we like it or not, we are the so-called “Indoor Generation”. On average, people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, yet many of us are not aware of the risks associated with our indoor environments. A new study by YouGov for the VELUX Group asked 16,000 members of the public in 14 countries… Continue Reading

Ireland’s Open Data Portal

Ireland launches the third version of their national data portal DATA.GOV.IE – Promoting innovation and transparency through the publication of Irish Public Sector data in open, free and reusable formats. “A new and improved version of the national Open Data portal, data.gov.ie was recently launched. It is the third iteration of the portal now using… Continue Reading

Every one of America’s 57,636 wind turbines, mapped

Washington Post: “California’s Kern County, home to the city of Bakersfield, bills itself as the “Wind Capital of the West.” But a Washington Post analysis of a massive new U.S. Geological Survey database of over 57,000 commercial wind turbines suggests that the county is being overly modest: It is, in fact, the wind capital of the… Continue Reading

These 20 Water-Stressed Countries Have the Most Solar and Wind Potential

World Resources Institute: “Most power generation consumes water, whether to cool steam in thermoelectric plants or power turbines for hydropower. And the global demand for both water and electricity will continue to increase substantially in the coming decades. Although growth is generally a good thing for the economy, it challenges nations—particularly ones that are water-stressed—to… Continue Reading

What Extremely Warm Winters Mean for the Future of the Arctic

“In an interview with Yale Environment 360, polar scientist Mark Serreze talks about the rapid changes he has witnessed over more than three decades of working in the Arctic and the future stability of the region if temperatures continue to climb…Serreze discusses how he and his colleagues gradually began to accept that human carbon emissions… Continue Reading

ProPublica – investigative report on Defense Environmental Restoration Program Sites

ProPublica – Abrahm Lustgarten: “For much of the past two years I’ve been digging into a vast, $70 billion environmental cleanup program run by the U.S. Department of Defense that tracks tens of thousands of polluted sites across the United States. In some places, old missiles and munitions were left buried beneath school grounds. In… Continue Reading

New air pollution database maps world’s most polluted cities

“The world’s most comprehensive air pollution database has been updated again, mapping out a picture of a global health crisis that is disparate, changing and in some places just obscure. Compiled by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the statistics on 4,300 cities reveal annual levels of particulate matter, miniscule particles in the air that can… Continue Reading

Map of all Nuclear Reactors in the world and the history of their decline

FastCompany – This Map Of All The Nuclear Reactors In The World Is A Reality Check: “There are fewer nuclear reactors than you may realize. And by the time more are financed and built, the Arctic ice will be all gone anyway…A new map from Carbon Brief shows the location of every reactor ever built… Continue Reading

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

The composition and layering of plastic particles found in sea ice reveal their regions of origin [24. April 2018] “Experts at the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI), have recently found higher amounts of microplastic in arctic sea ice than ever before. However, the majority of particles were microscopically small.… Continue Reading

Emails Suggest Interior Dept. Prioritizing Fossil Fuel Interests Over Wildlife Well-Being

Pacific Standard – Records reveal that, following requests by fossil fuel industry groups, a top official at the Department of the Interior appeared to take credit for helping to delay new federal protections for a once-endangered species. “The Texas hornshell is a sleek green-gray mussel that once thrived in the Rio Grande watershed, its habitat… Continue Reading

State of the World’s Birds 2018 Taking the pulse of the planet

“Even familiar birds at risk of extinction, new study finds. The 2018 State of the World’s Birds report, which provides a comprehensive look at the health of bird populations globally, has found that the extinction crisis has spread so far that even some well-known species are now in danger. A number of well-known bird species… Continue Reading