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E-scrapping operation in Guiyu, China, breaking down imported computers. Over 100,000 migrant workers labor in hundreds of small operations like this one in a four-village area surrounding the Lianjiang River. Photo: baselactionnetwork via Flickr (CC BY-N

From latest gizmo to toxic waste: the dark side of the worldwide electronics obsession

Ian Williams, University of Southampton

11th February 2016

Our thirst for the latest gadgets has created a vast empire of electronic waste, writes Ian Williams. The EU alone produces some 9 million tonnes of it a year, of which some 70% is still working when disposed of, and over a third is disposed of illegally. With increasingly affordable electronic devices available to ever more people, it's high time for effective global regulation. more...
Beached whale in the Firth of Forth, Scotland, being removed using earth-moving equipment, September 2013. Photo: Patrick Down via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Heavy metal poisoning in Scotland's beached whales

The Ecologist

15th February 2016

High levels of toxins mercury and cadmium have been found in all organs of the whales recently beached on Scotland's North Sea coast, including the brain. The research shows that rising mercury levels in the oceans leads to toxic stress in the long-lived marine mammals. more...
Investment managers need to become shareholder- activists on climate, or their wealth, and that of their clients could go up in smoke. Photo: Drax Power Station by Ian Britton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Fund managers: campaign on climate, or face lawsuits

The Ecologist

12th February 2016

Fund managers who neglect their 'duty of care' to clients by failing to put pressure on the companies they invest in to reduce their carbon emissions and prepare for a fossil-free future could be sued for their negligence, say respected experts in law, environment and finance. more...
A Palestinian rides his trike through a flooded street following the heavy storms of 2013. Photo: AFP PHOTO  / MOHAMMED ABED via Flickr / Globovisión (CC BY-NC)

As flooding in Gaza worsens, the most basic of human rights are under threat

Vanessa Amaral-Rogers

9th February 2016

The humanitarian crisis in Gaza has worsened after floods and purposeful destruction has taken its toll in recent months, writes Vanessa Amaral-Rogers. The eight year blockade by Israel and conflict with Egypt has already hit Palestinian families hard but now Gaza is at even greater risk as Egypt diverts seawater into life-line tunnels. more...
Artist's impression of the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, which would, if built, generate almost 500 gigawatt hours of electricity per year. Image: preconstruct.com.

A green Wales is taking off - in spite of UK government policies

David Clubb

16th February 2016

Despite Cameron's promise to lead the 'greenest Government ever', the environment has taken a heavy bashing since the 2015 election, writes David Clubb - whether on oil, fracking, renewable energy or planning policy. But Wales is doing its best to follow a sustainable path, and demonstrating badly needed environmental leadership that the whole UK would do well to follow. more...
Lake Huron - the limitless expanse of clean water that supplied Flint until municipal dictators decided to save money and pipe in industrially contaminated water from the Flint River. Photo: Cathy via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

What's more corrosive than Flint's water? The cynicism of the powerful

Jesse Jackson

11th February 2016

The Flint water crisis exposes like nothing else the toxic cynicism of America's ruling class, writes Jesse Jackson. In their privileged view, the victims of the lead poisoning are disposable 'unpersons' that matter less than General Motors' auto parts. But now they, and their peers in other poisoned communities, are fighting back. more...
The Indian Point nuclear site in Buchanan, NY, Units 2 and 3. Photo: ©Entergy Nuclear / Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Indian Point reactors contaminate New York groundwater

Sam Thielman & Alan Yuhas / Guardian Environment

8th February 2016

Highly radioactive tritium has leaked into groundwater at the Indian Point nuclear site 40 miles north of Manhattan, New York, write Sam Thielman & Alan Yuhas. Governor Cuomo has ordered a review of safety at the site, where two reactors are operating with no NRC license. more...
There's the pollution you can see, and the even more dangerous pollution that's invisible: the high levels of nitrogen oxides produced by many modern diesel cars. Photo: Adrian Midgley via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

MEPs vote for killer car pollution at double the legal limit

EurActiv

3rd February 2016

Right wing MEPs in the European Parliament including UK conservatives today voted car makers a 'get out of jail free' card over air pollution that's killing tens of thousands of citizens a year, allowing their vehicles to emit double the legal limit for nitrogen oxides. more...
Cyclist wearing face mask to protect against polluted air. Photo: Hamish Irvine via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Time to crack down on car pollution - the silent killer with powerful friends

Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor

3rd February 2016

Air pollution from vehicles is killing tens of thousands of people every year in the UK alone, write Jean Lambert, Molly Scott Cato & Keith Taylor, an outrage set into stark focus by VW's 'test cheating'. The EU's response? To relax tests and allow cars to be more polluting - with the full support of the UK government. more...
In the foreground a plesiosaur, and the left an ichthyosaur, feature in this reconstruction of a Cretaceous ocean in the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh. The absence of oxygen in deeper waters led to the preservation of the fossil riches we enjoy t

Ancient 'dead seas' offer a stark warning for our own future

Richard Pancost, University of Bristol

29th January 2016

For long periods animals in ancient oceans could live only in shallow surface waters, above vast 'dead zones' inhabited only by anoxic bacteria, writes Richard Pancost. Human activity is now creating immense new dead zones, and global warming could be helping as it reduces vertical mixing of waters. Could this be the beginning of something big? more...
Children playing on a 'plastic beach' at the mouth of Versova Creek near Mumbai - an area formerly home to large tracts of mangroves and Great Egrets. Photo: Ravi Khemka via Flickr (CC BY).

Humans will be remembered for leaving a 'plastic planet'

Oliver Tickell

28th January 2016

Long after we go extinct the human presence on Earth will be marked by a geological stratum rich in plastic garbage, according to a new study. Long-lived plastics are already widespread over the ocean floor, and there's a lot more on its way. Forget the 'Anthropocene' - the human era should rightly be called the Plasticene. more...
As a result of EU environmental law, the UK is being forced to clean up its severe urban air pollution. Air Pollution Level 5 as seen in London, 30th April 2014. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Outside the EU, the UK could again be the ‘dirty man of Europe'

Craig Bennett / Friends of the Earth

25th January 2016

When the UK joined the EU in 1973, it was dubbed the 'dirty man of Europe' thanks to its out of control pollution, writes Craig Bennett. Since then EU laws have forced us to clean up our act. But if we leave, all that may go into the reverse, with terrible impacts on our air, water, health, and wildlife. more...

pollution: 25/50 of 415
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The Cerrejón coal mine in Colombia, which supplies coal to UK power statins including Drax in Yorkshire. Photo: Hour.poing.

Ditch coal now! The global destruction caused by the UK's coal power generation

Anne Harris

28th January 2016

The UK's coal burn is not just having a huge impact on climate, writes Anne Harris. It's also devastating communities in the UK, Russia, Colombia and other nations that supply our coal power stations. Those impacted are doing their best to resist the mining companies that are destroying their land, stealing their homes and polluting their air and water. But they need our help! more...
The Aliso Canyon methane cloud seen in infra-red as a dark, menacing plume erupting from the breached gas well. Photo: from video (see embed) by Pete Dronkers / Environmental Defense Fund.

Aliso Canyon methane catastrophe is telling us: go renewable, now!

Pete Dronkers

14th January 2016

The massive methane leak at Aliso Canyon in California tell sus everything that's wrong with fossil fuels, writes Pete Dronkers: toxic, under-regulated, unsafe, and climate destroying. But the catastrophe also brings us a timely message: this is the time for the California, the US, and the world, to begin a rapid transition away from fossil fuels and into our clean, green, renewable future. more...
Cyclists in the Copenhagen rush hour. Photo: MarkA via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

From Copenhagen to Delhi, 'smart cities' call for smart solutions - like cycling

Colin Todhunter

11th January 2016

The world's big cities are choking with pollution and endless traffic jams, writes Colin Todhunter - except one. Copenhagen, faced with these problems half a century ago, decided to act. Now it is showing the world that cycling is not just the basis of a sustainable transport strategy, but is key to making our cities clean, green, human and livable. May the global revolution unfold ... more...
Salar de Uyuni: lithium-rich salt piled up by miners for sale. Photo: Hank via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Bolivia's coming 'lithium boom': economic miracle or environmental nightmare?

Rafael Sagárnaga López

1st January 2016

Lithium is a key global resource for the global energy transition thanks to its role in the lightweight, efficient batteries that will power cars and balance power grids, writes Rafael Sagárnaga López. But the booming demand threatens to contaminate one of the world's great wonders, the Salar de Uyuni, 12,000 feet high in the Bolivia's Andes, which holds 70% of the world's lithium reserves. more...
UNEP scientists investigating an oil-contaminated site in the Niger Delta accompanied by Ogoni community guides. Photo: Victor Temofe Mogbolu / UNEP.

Nigerian farmers' win right to sue Shell in Netherlands courts

The Ecologist

18th December 2015

In a landmark judgment today, four Niger Delta farmers have won the right to sue Dutch oil multinational Shell in the Netherlands courts after oil spills destroyed their farms and fish ponds. The case sets a precedent for other victims of corporate environmental and human rights harms around the world. more...
Doing the right thing: an old landfill site in Birmingham's Selly Oak Battery Park being dug out prior to development for housing. Photo: Elliott Brown via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Zane: did Cameron order cover-up on landfill cyanide death of 7-year old?

Paul Mobbs

14th December 2015

The apparent conspiracy by the UK government and its agencies to conceal the real cause of death of 7-year old Zane Gbangbola may go right up to Prime Minister David Cameron, writes Paul Mobbs. He was chair of the COBRA emergency committee at the time when it appears to have held back the truth that he was killed by cyanide from the toxic landfill site his home was built over. more...
When the government breaks the law over air pollution, who will be able to hold it to account? London Air Pollution View from Hackney, 10th April 2015. Photo: DAVID HOLT via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

UK Government attacks public right to environmental justice

Paul Mobbs

30th November 2015

Little publicised government plans to 'reform' court costs are intended to foreclose access to environmental justice for all but the wealthiest individuals and communities, writes Paul Mobbs. Meanwhile cuts to agencies and regulators will make it ever harder for them to do their jobs - making public participation in environmental protection all the more important. more...
Cows housed indoors at a UK mega-dairy. Photo: Andrew Wasley / Ecostorm.

The march of the industrial mega-dairy - is this the future of milk?

Andrew Wasley

23rd November 2015

As falling milk prices push dairy farm out of business, new mega-dairies and feedlot operations of 700 or more cows are filling the void, writes Andrew Wasley. Never mind the pollution, slurry lagoons, and heavy plant on country lanes - do we want the cows that produce our milk confined to sheds? And what's the future for traditional dairy farmers with small, well cared for herds? more...
Farmland is inundated with toxic red mud following the 2010 Ajka alumina plant accident, in Hungary, which injured hundreds and killed ten. Photo: public domain.

Recycle industrial wastes to cut 1Gt from world's carbon emissions

Wilf Lytton / Sandbag

1st December 2015

There's a quick climate win for COP21 negotiators to ponder, writes Wilf Lytton - one that could convert a billion tonnes a year of CO2 into mineral form while neutralising caustic wastes like coal ash and slag. But first, industries and regulators must adopt a 'recycling' mentality to these hazardous materials, rather than the 'dump and forget' model that prevails today. more...
Area of Bento Rodrigues, Minas Gerais state, affected by the release of mine tailings from the failed dams. Photo: Agência Brasil Fotografias via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Tailings dam breach - 'the assassination of Brazil's fifth largest river basin'

Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes

19th November 2015

Brazil has suffered its biggest ever industrial disaster, write Ana Luisa Naghettini & Geraldo Lopes. Breached and overflowing dams have released a massive slug of toxic muds and tailings from iron mining into the country's fifth largest river system that provides drinking water for downstream cities, destroying ecosystems in rivers and vast areas of biologically fragile ocean. more...
A large stack at the Sault Paper Mill, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Billy Wilson via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Voluntary schemes cannot replace environmental regulation

Donal McCarthy / RSPB

16th November 2015

A new review of the performance of politically fashionable 'voluntary' approaches to environmental protection demonstrates limited effectiveness, writes Donal McCarthy. Laws and regulations play a vital role in protecting nature and the wider environment - for which voluntarism is no substitute. more...
The Stone's Throw Landfill, near Tallassee, AL. Photo: Jeronimo Nisa / Earthjustice.

Environmental racism in the US - black communities fight for justice

Heather Kathryn Ross / Earthjustice

11th November 2015

Landfill sites, giant hog farms, incinerators and other 'bad neighbor' industries in the US tend to be situated in African American communities, writes Heather Kathryn Ross. The Environmental Protection Agency is legally obliged to prevent 'environmental racism', but from California to Michigan, low-income communities of color have been waiting years for it to take a stand. Now, backed by Earthjustice, they are forcing the issue - in the courts. more...
Cofan Indigenous leader Emergildo Criollo smells the petroleum contaminated river hear his home in the Amazon rainforest. Now the water is polluted, crops don't grow, and new illnesses and cancer have been introduced. Photo: Caroline Bennett / Rainforest

Chevron's star witness in $9.5 billion Ecuador oil pollution claim admits: 'I lied'

Paul Paz y Miño / Amazon Watch

28th October 2015

It was all going so well for Chevron - a New York court had ruled that a $9.5 billion judgment against it set by Ecuador's supreme court for massive pollution deep in the Amazon was corrupt and fraudulent. But then its star witness broke ranks and admitted, in another court, that he had lied, and the only bribes were coming from Chevron. Will Ecuador's pollution victims finally get justice? more...

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