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EU drops plans to push up recycling rate to 70%. The back of an industrial estate in Romford, Essex. Photo: roadscum via Flickr.

Commission dumps eco-initiatives in 2015 work plan

Oliver Tickell

16th December 2014

The European Commission has dropped measures to improve air quality and reduce waste from its work plan for 2015 - instead 'cutting red tape' and prioritizing 'jobs, growth, investment' at all costs. more...
Rooms with views ... but where's the vision? European Commission photo by Bruno Coelho via Flickr.

Europe on the brink - green future or industrial wasteland?

Oliver Tickell

12th December 2014

The EU faces a choice: a green, democratic future of clean prosperity and social justice? Or a dirty future of corporate domination with resurgent nuclear power, expanding fossil fuels, GMO agriculture and weak human and environmental protection? Junckers' Commission represents the latter. We must assert our own vision - or there will be little worth staying in for. more...
Coal fired power station at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. Photo: Guy Gorek via Flickr.

Leaked: EU Commission plot to ditch waste and air pollution laws

EurActiv

12th December 2014

An anti-environment plot by Junckers' Commission would abandon agreed 'green' laws for clean air, waste reduction and recycling. But the leak of key documents to EurActiv has stimulated fierce opposition by Green MEPs and environment groups, while eleven EU countries have called on Junckers to hold to the green laws and speed up their implementation. more...
The garbage that builds up incessantly on the Praia de Achados beach presents formidable obstacle to loggerhead turtles seeking nesting sites. Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Over 268,000 tonnes of ocean plastic - neglect it at our peril

Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull

11th December 2014

The oceans are awash with plastic, write Magnus Johnson & Melanie Coull, with dire effects on marine wildlife mistaking it for food. But it's not just big animals like basking sharks, turtles and albatrosses that suffer. The very worst damage may be caused by particles too small for the eye to see, and the toxic chemicals that cling to them. more...
The August 2013 petcoke storm over the southeast side of Chicago. Photo: Anthony Martinez.

Petcoke: the toxic black dust coming to a community near you

Ben Whitford

9th December 2014

It's the fossil fuel industry's latest stroke of genius - a coal substitute that's cheaper, dirtier and more toxic than coal itself, writes Ben Whitford. The waste product of refining heavy oil from Canada's tar sands, petcoke is stored in open mountains around Chicago's 'Slag Valley', sending plumes of sticky black dust over poor neighborhoods every time the wind blows. more...
Downtown East Liverpool. Photo: Caitlin Johnson.

Appalachia: a small city's fight against toxic waste incineration

Caitlin Johnson

5th December 2014

East Liverpool, a small city by the Ohio river, is a cancer-ridden dumping ground for the detritus of the global economy, writes Caitlin Johnson. With its filthy power station, coal ash lake, 1,300 fracking wells, silica sand mountains and a huge toxic waste incinerator, the city's people need your help in their fight for environmental justice. more...
One of many anti-fracking protest posters. Nieu Bethesda, Karoo. Photo: Jose Gil Paris, Stichting Schaliegasvrij.

'Fracking frenzy' - how the shale gas industry is threatening the planet

Friends of the Earth Europe

11th December 2014

The world is in the grip of a 'fracking frenzy that threatens us for centuries to come with polluted aquifers, runaway climate change, destruction of biodiversity and worthless 'sub-prime' investments. Just as the world must make the transition to a sustainable future, our 'leaders' are determined to make this last losing throw of the fossil fuel dice. more...
Sailing boat on Førdefjorden. Photo: Arild Nybø via Flickr.

'Acutely toxic' mine waste threatens the death of Norway's fjords

Tina Andersen Vågenes

28th November 2014

Two huge open pit mines in northern Norway are on the verge of approval, writes Tina Andersen Vågenes - even though they would dump hundreds of millions of tonnes of tailings in fjords where wild salmon spawn. Scientists are voicing serious concerns, and protests are growing, but government and mining companies appear determined to push the projects forward regardless. more...
WIPP / Los Alamos National Laboratory celebrates its 1000th transuranic waste shipment. Photo: energy.gov / Wikimedia Commons.

New Mexico nuclear waste accident a 'horrific comedy of errors' that exposes deeper problems

Jim Green / Nuclear Monitor

27th November 2014

Last February's explosion at the WIPP dump for long-lived intermediate-level nuclear waste from the US's nuclear weapons program remains unexplained, writes Jim Green. But with the site's history of ignored warnings, 'missing' safety culture, lack of supervision and dubious contractor appointments, it surely came as no surprise - and further accidents appear inevitable. more...
Glowing pumpkins of the night, our to eat, not just to fright. Photo: Andrea Verganic via Flickr.

The great Hallowe'en pumpkin rescue

Gavin Ellis

31st October 2014

Every Hallowe'en the UK throws away enough pumpkin to make 360 million portions of pumpkin pie, soup, or cake, writes Gavin Ellis - a shocking waste in these hungry times. Hence a bold new initiative to rescue all those pumpkins from landfill, and turn them into delicious food we can all enjoy as part of our seasonal festivities. more...
The B30 pond showing a full loading with fuel rods. Photo: unknown.

Leaked Sellafield photos reveal 'massive radioactive release' threat

Oliver Tickell

27th October 2014

Dilapidated nuclear waste storage ponds abandoned 40 years ago containing hundreds of tonnes of fuel rods pose an immediate danger to public safety, photographs sent to The Ecologist reveal. The fuel and sludge in the ponds could spontaneously ignite if exposed to air, spreading intense radiation over a wide area. more...
Yucca Mountain, the site of the US's 'cancelled' repository for high level nuclear waste. Photo: White House via Wikimedia Commons.

Yucca Mountain radioactive waste dump is all too 'undead'

John LaForge

1st November 2014

The Yucca Mountain radioactive dump may have been officially 'cancelled', writes John LaForge, and with very good reason. But like all those zombies out for Hallowe'en last night, it's not dead yet, as US nuclear regulators declare that the site perfectly meets nuclear waste storage requirements. more...

Waste: 1/25 of 294
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Hinkley C is 'unconstructable', says a distinguished nuclear engineer - 'like building a cathedral within a cathedral'. Artist's impression of the completed nuclear power station by EDF.

'Unconstructable' Hinkley C could end UK's nuclear dream

Chris Goodall

30th October 2014

Opponents of nuclear power hold up the planned Hinkley C as an examplar of waste and idiocy that could cost the UK over £30 billion in subsidies. Chris Goodall agrees - and fears that an impending fiasco with the 'unconstructable' and commercially disastrous EPR design may kill off the UK's nuclear aspirations for a generation. more...
Mariana Goméz Soto. Photo: Mariana Goméz Soto.

Gold is joy for one day - Mariana Goméz Soto

Hal Rhoades / Gaia Foundation

21st October 2014

Doima, a small town in the Colombian highlands, is on the front line of battle against a giant government-backed gold mine that would fill a nearby valley hundreds of metres deep in over a billion tonnes of mine waste. Hal Rhoades met Mariana Goméz Soto, an activist in Doima's campaign to defeat the mine project. more...
What was once the Aral Sea at Muinak, Qoraqalpoghiston, Uzbekistan. Photo: so11e via Flickr.

Once a Sea - now it's the Aral Desert

Anson Mackay

16th October 2014

The Aral Sea is a well known environmental disaster zone. But this year, it got a whole worse, writes Anson Mackay, as its biggest basin dried up completely to expose a toxic, salty wasteland. With continuing irrigation and declining river flows due to climate change, the desert is only set to expand. more...
A loggerhead turtle lost among the garbage lies dead, baked under the midday sun. Photo: Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd.

Sea turtles run the deadly garbage gauntlet of Praia de Achados

Simon Ager / Sea Shepherd

6th October 2014

Out in the Atlantic off the coast of West Africa, the Cape Verde islands should be pristine, writes Simon Ager, a haven for sea turtles and other wildlife. But the beach where loggerhead turtles have nested for millions of years is buried under a deadly morass of plastic garbage. more...
The Edmonton waste-to-energy incinerator in North London is the largest in the UK, and produces up to 55MW of power. Photo: Fin Fahey via Flickr.

PFI waste incinerator contracts burn more money than rubbish

David Hall / The Conversation

22nd September 2014

A Parliamentary report reveals that £200 million has been wasted on failed 'public-private' PFI projects for waste management, writes David Hall. The obvious solution: to allow local authorities to build and operate their own, which is cheaper and more flexible. The only problem: under UK government rules, it's PFI or nothing. more...
This handsome tower was built from bricks made with farm and forestry waste bound together by fungal myceliae. Now, it's being composted. Photo: Sophie Morlin-Yron.

Farm waste and mushrooms challenge plastic, concrete, steel

Sophie Morlin-Yron

29th September 2014

Isn't it daft it is to use plastics that last for centuries to make short-life packaging? Now there's an alternative, writes Sophie Morlin-Yron - using fungi to bind farm and forestry waste into strong, non-toxic, complex forms. When the job is done, the material can be safely burnt or composted - and it even works for buildings ... more...
Contented cows feeding on grass in a field in Cumbria. Photo: Nowerx via Flickr.

Dairy - the case for greener, healthier, lower performing cows

Mark Eisler, Graeme Martin & Michael Lee

8th September 2014

With supermarket milk cheaper than spring water, it's time to rethink the modern dairy industry. It's not just the milk that's become a throwaway product - the high-octane Holstein cows that produce it are also in the knackers yard after just two or three lactations, the living waste of a loss-making, environment-trashing industry. more...
The Black Sea was awash with jellyfish - and very little else. Photo: Lewis Pugh.

We must protect our seas!

Lewis Pugh

30th August 2014

Lewis Pugh has completed long-distance swims in the 'seven seas' to promote his dream of a peaceful world of well-managed Marine Protected Areas, abundant oceans teeming with fish, turtles, whales, sea-birds and sharks. His shocking experiences in the water make that dream more urgent and compelling than ever. more...
Lalibai.

India: Women free themselves from a life of cleaning human excrement

Amy Braunschweiger / HRW

3rd September 2014

Women of an 'untouchable' caste in village India are rebelling against a life of cleaning human ordure, poverty and relentless discrimination, writes Amy Braunschweiger. Among them is Lalibai, who inherited her 'job' at the age of 12 - but has just helped to organise a protest march of 10,000 women across 18 states. more...
Salad leaves growing in Lufa's rooftop farm in Montreal. Photo: Lufa Farms.

Coming to a rooftop near you - the urban growing revolution

Rachel Dring / Sustainable Food Trust

30th September 2014

Could London, New York and other cities be self-sufficient in fruit and vegetables? Yes, writes Rachel Dring, by converting wasted roof space into gardens and greenhouses. Benefits include reducing waste; raising energy efficiency, sustainability and food security; and healthier, more connected citizens. more...
Give it love, not Coke - defaced Coca-Cola poster in Rishikesh, India. Photo: Axel Drainville via Flickr.

Coca-Cola forced out of $25 million factory in India

The Ecologist

27th August 2014

After a 15-year battle, local campaigners infuriated by pollution, over-pumping of groundwater and land-grabbing have finally forced the closure of Coca-Cola's $25 million factory near Varanasi. more...
William Gibbs and his wife live near the massive coal ash dump in Uniontown, AL. Photo: Chris Jordan-Bloch / Earthjustice.

Alabama - a community fights toxic waste, discrimination

Oliver Tickell

20th August 2014

When the US's biggest ever coal ash spill buried 300 acres of waterfront property in a white, middle class suburb, the waste was treated as a toxic hazard. But by the time it reached Uniontown, a black community in Alabama, that was all forgotten. Now they are fighting back. more...
Hazeltine Creek on Quesnel Lake after the tailings dam collapse. Floating on the surface: the stripped off the mountainside by the force of the spill. Out of sight: 14.5 billion litres of toxic mining waste.

Swapping red tape for caution tape: why Canada can expect more mining disasters

Carol Linnitt / DeSmog.ca

27th August 2014

This month a tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine in BC breached, writes Carol Linnitt - spilling 14.5 billion litres of toxic mine waste into Quesnel Lake. A major source of freshwater and one of BC's premier fly-fishing destinations, the lake will never be the same again. But it's just the first big victim of Canada's wave of environmental de-regulation ... more...

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