The Ecologist


Pollution: 50/75 of 430
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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...
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...

Pollution: 50/75 of 430
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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...
The Mohawk warrior flag. Photo: Red Power Media.

Mohawk warriors: 'No raw sewage in St. Lawrence River'

Ashoka Jegroo / Waging NonViolence

16th October 2015

Members of the Mohawk Warrior Society have intervened to stop the dumping of raw sewage in Canada's St Lawrence river, lighting a large bonfire at a key railway junction to warn Montreal's Mayor off his plan. more...
Smog Alert in Peoples Square, Beijing, China, on 15th February 2014. Photo: Lei Han via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

China's smog kills over a million each year - but there's blue skies ahead

Oliver Wild, Lancaster University

19th October 2015

China's smog is an increasing cause of public discontent, writes Oliver Wild - and no wonder! New research shows that the country's air pollution is killing over a million people every year. Thanks to China's geography the problem is hard to solve, but the rapid rise of renewables and the slow demise of coal do offer the promise of cleaner, healthier future. more...
Vertriebszentrum West - Volkswagen group's distribution centre in Germany. Photo: Duhon via Wikimedia (CC BY).

Car pollution regulator's auto industry millions

Lawrence Carter / Greenpeace Energydesk

12th October 2015

The UK's official agency for car pollution testing has taken £80 million from the auto industry in ten years, a Greenpeace investigation reveals, while its senior staff and engineers have a 'revolving door' relationship with car makers. more...
Colleen Brennan and Nancy Kile of the Sisterhood to Protect Sacred Water rally outside the Nuclear Regulatory Hearings in Crawford. Photo: Rosy Torres / WNV (CC BY).

Water first! Lakota women and ranchers lead charge to close toxic uranium mine

Suree Towfighnia / Waging NonViolence

13th October 2015

The impending renewal of the license for a uranium mine in Nebraska has ignited a years long resistance among those - most of them women - for whom good health and safe, clean water in the Ogallala aquifer is as important as life itself, writes Suree Towfighnia. But for others, jobs and money come first. Now the Nuclear Regulatory Commission must reach its decision. more...
Nurdles found on the beach near Newquay in recent weeks. Photo: Tracey Williams / Rame Peninsula Beach Care.

Millions of plastic pellets contaminate Cornwall beaches

The Ecologist

5th October 2015

Cornish beaches are awash with millions of 'nurdles', tiny wildlife-choking plastic pellets presumed spilled from an rogue shipping container. As England's plastic bag charge comes into force, it's a sign that there's still a long way to go to rid our seas of the plastic menace. more...
It's not just VWs. Photo: Luc via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

It's not just VWs - we need fewer cars, and less driving

Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck

25th September 2015

With all diesel cars failing EU clean air standards in real world driving, and the worst 22 times over the limit, there's only one real solution, write Steffen Böhm & Ian Colbeck: adopt sustainable transport strategies to keep cars off our streets and break our dependence on them. more...
A pile of pants? Golf Diesel. Photo: Peter P. via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

How Volkswagen got caught cheating emissions tests by a clean air NGO

Paul Nieuwenhuis

23rd September 2015

The discovery that Volkswagen has been 'gaming' vehicle emissions tests has taken the world by storm, writes Paul Nieuwenhuis. But it comes as no surprise to campaigners who have long been aware of the huge gap between 'official' emissions and real word pollution. Where were the regulators? And why did it take an NGO to uncover the scandal? more...
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland gather on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh on 25th August 2015 to demand clean air after the zone failed to meet Scottish Air Quality Safety Standards. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland via Flickr (CC BY).

Government faces new legal action over UK's deadly air pollution

Oliver Tickell

14th September 2015

The UK government's response to the Supreme Court's order to clean up air quality in key urban areas has been condemened as vague, weak and slow, lacking in clear targets and compulsory measures. New figures reveal that over 50,000 people a year are being killed by air pollution. more...
Donald Shadforth, a traditional owner, at the dilapidated Redbank mine tailings storage. Photo: P. Taplin.

Australia: Indigenous communities must take centre stage in 'development'

Seán Kerins

7th September 2015

Indigenous Australians are systematically deprived of the benefits of mining and other developments, writes Seán Kerins, and being left to suffer their environmental impacts. As Abbott's government prepares a bonfire of 'red tape', it's time to put Indigenous interests first, and place their communities at the centre of decision making. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the Tolpuddle Martyrs' Festival and Rally 2015. Photo: Rwendland via Wikimedia (CC BY-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn: the green Britain I want to build

Jeremy Corbyn MP

7th August 2015

We need a renewable energy revolution, an end to fracking, no new nuclear power, efficient homes, and the break up of our energy cartels, writes Jeremy Corbyn, All that, and strong protection for wildlife and oceans, no TTIP trade deal with the US, clean air to breathe, and massive investment in public transport. Is there anything not to like? more...


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