Category Archives: News

Sand Mafia Fill 600 Trucks a Day, Thane District India

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Sand miners, Mumbai.
“Sand is the second most consumed natural resource, after water. The construction-building industry is by far the largest consumer of this finite resource. The traditional building of one average-sized house requires 200 tons of sand; a hospital requires 3,000 tons of sand; each kilometer of highway built requires 30,000 tons of sand… A nuclear plant, a staggering 12 million tons of sand…” Captions and Photograph by © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

It’s business as usual for the sand dredging mafia in Thane district, in the absence of any auctioning of the 20-odd sand-rich spots here. Thane is located on Salsette Island, 30kms to the Northeast of Mumbai. According to a rough estimate by revenue officials, they have been plundering natural resources by extracting close to 600 trucks of sand a day…

Read Full Article, The Times of India

Many Coastal Wetlands Likely to Disappear this Century

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Hatches Harbor salt marsh, Cape Cod. The Hatches Harbor salt marsh is a remnant of a larger salt marsh complex that existed at the time of the first European settlement. USGS. Photo source: ©© Lydia Mann

By The U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey

Many coastal wetlands worldwide, including several on the U.S. Atlantic coast, may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise projections for the 21st century.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists made this conclusion from an international research modeling effort published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Scientists identified conditions under which coastal wetlands could survive rising sea level.

Using a rapid sea-level rise scenario, most coastal wetlands worldwide will disappear near the end of the 21st century. In contrast, under the slow sea-level rise projection, wetlands with low sediment availability and low tidal ranges are vulnerable and may drown. However, in the slow sea-level rise projection, wetlands with higher sediment availability would be more likely to survive.

Several coastal marshes along the east coast of the United States, for example, have limited sediment supplies and are likely to disappear this century. Vulnerable east coast marshes include the Plum Island Estuary (the largest estuary in New England) and coastal wetlands in North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico Sound (the second-largest estuary in the United States).

“Accurate information about the adaptability of coastal wetlands to accelerations in sea-level rise, such as that reported in this study, helps narrow the uncertainties associated with their disappearance,” said USGS scientist Glenn Guntenspergen, an author of this report. “This research is essential for allowing decision makers to best manage local tradeoffs between economic and conservation concerns.”

“Previous assessments of coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise have been constrained because they did not consider the ability of wetlands to naturally modify their physical environment for adaptation,” said USGS scientist Matt Kirwan, an author of this report. “Failure to incorporate the interactions of inundation, vegetation and sedimentation in wetlands limits the usefulness of past assessments.”

USGS scientists specifically identified the sediment levels and tidal ranges (difference between high and low tide) necessary for marshes to survive sea-level rise. As water floods a wetland and flows through its vegetation, sediment is carried from upstream and deposited on the wetland’s surface, allowing it to gain elevation. High tidal ranges allow for better sediment delivery, and the higher sediment concentrations in the water allow wetlands to build more elevation.

Coastal wetlands provide critical services such as absorbing energy from coastal storms, preserving shorelines, protecting human populations and infrastructure, supporting commercial seafood harvests, absorbing pollutants and serving as critical habitat for migratory bird populations. These resources and services will be threatened as sea-level rise inundates wetlands.

The rapid sea-level rise scenario used as the basis for this study is accredited to Stefan Rahmstorf at Potsdam University, one of the contributing authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. The slow sea-level rise projection is from the A1B scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

Original Article

Charging for Plastic Bags Cut Bag Consumption by Half in China

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Plastic pollution. Photo source: ©©Greg

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Research from the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) shows that people in China, the number one consumers of plastic bags in the world, reduced their consumption of plastic bags by half when stores were forced to charge consumers for the bags.

Use of plastic bags is a growing global environmental problem. As a result, the bags are becoming subject to various regulations in an increasing number of countries, with mixed results…

Read Full Article, Alphagalileo

Norfolk, Virginia, Tackles Rise in Sea

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Coastal erosion, Virginia. Photo source: ©© MizGingerSnaps

Excerpts;

In this section of the Larchmont neighborhood, built in a sharp “u” around a bay off the Lafayette River, residents pay close attention to the lunar calendar, much as other suburbanites might attend to the daily flow of commuter traffic…

Read Full Original, The New York Time

Explaining Norfolk’s Creeping Tides

Bangladesh and Maldives: Sand Export Deal in Sight

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Rising sea, Maldives. Photo courtesy of: © Denis Delestrac

Excerpts;

The government is seriously assessing the potentials of exporting sand to the Maldives as an inter-minister meeting yesterday decided to invite sand importers of Maldives to Bangladesh.

An inter-ministerial meeting held at the land ministry decided to send the invitation through the foreign ministry. The government will step further on this regard after getting specifications of sand quality from them…

Read Full Article, Dredging Today

Alaskan Coast: Feds set aside critical habitat for polar bear

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Alaska, houses collapsing due to coastal erosion. The village and homes are being destroyed by a rising tide, to the point where homes are being abandoned as they literally fall into the ocean. Residents can do nothing to stop the water as it approaches their homes. Captions and Photo source: ©© Laurence Hislop / UNEP

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The Obama administration is setting aside 187,000 square miles in Alaska as a “critical habitat” for polar bears, an action that could add restrictions to future offshore drilling for oil and gas.

The total, which includes large areas of sea ice off the Alaska coast, is about 13,000 square miles, or 8.3 million acres, less than in a preliminary plan released last year…

Read Full Article, Yahoo News

US closes shrimping near oil spill as precaution

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Seafood. Photo source: ©© Tashland

Excerpts;

US authorities Wednesday closed to shrimping a section of the Gulf of Mexico near the area of a massive oil spill this year as a precautionary measure after a commercial shrimper found tar balls in his net.

The National Oceanographic and Oceanic Administration said the area closed to royal red shrimping is 4,213 square miles (10,000 square kilometers) of Gulf of Mexico federal waters off Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Read Full Article, Yahoo News

Shrimp catch covered in oil by the only vessel that has ventured to an area reopened November 15, WMBF News

Scientists Call for Protection and Better Management for Australian Reefs

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Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care

By ARC, Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies, in Science Daily

Leading scientists and marine managers have called for a greater national effort to protect vital 1000-kilometre stretches of ocean bordering the middle of Australia’s eastern and western coastlines…

Read Full Article, Science Daily