Tag Archives: Pollution

A river of rubbish: the ugly secret threatening China’s most beautiful city

At 6:00pm in the evening, a pipe on the north side of the Youngor International Garments City factory, dumps large quantities of foul smelling waste water into the river. Caption and Photo source: Photo Source: © Greenpeace / Qiu Bo.


Despite Beijing’s increased transparency with air pollution, water pollution remains a taboo in China. Prominent environmentalists have been charged with espionage for speaking out about the situation.

Greenpeace China told the Guardian that one third of the country’s rivers are contaminated…

Read Full Article; Guardian UK (03-24-2017)

Increasing factory and auto emissions disrupt natural cycle in East China Sea; Science Daily (01-31-2017)
China’s rapid ascent to global economic superpower is taking a toll on some of its ancient ways, patterned around the vast fisheries of the East China Sea. But now those waters are increasingly threatened by human-caused, harmful algal blooms that choke off vital fish populations…

Environmental activism gains a foothold in China; Guardian UK (08-31-2012)
Protesters have pushed green issues on to the state agenda, despite a predictably heavy-handed response…

Greens Protests On The Rise In China, Nature Journal (08-14-2012)

China May Shelve Plans to Build Dams on Its Last Wild River; National Geographic (05-14-2016)

Ganges and Yamuna rivers granted same legal rights as human beings; Guardian UK (03-21-2017)

Whanganui River the first in the world to be given legal status as a person; NZ Herald (03-15-2017)
New Zealand’s Whanganui River now has the legal status of a person under a unique Treaty settlement passed into law. It’s believed to be a world first…

Doctors join forces, warn climate change is harming our health

Photo source: ©© Luca Marchetti


Climate change isn’t just happening in the Arctic Circle and Antarctica where more ice is melting year after year. Its impact is being felt right here at home, and it’s posing a threat to the health of millions of Americans, say doctors representing 11 top U.S. medical societies. They are joining forces in Washington, D.C., today to speak out about the health risks posed by climate change…

Read Full Article, CBS News (03-15-2017)

Scientists highlight deadly health risks of climate change, CNN (02-17-2017)
Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is projected to cause about 250,000 additional deaths per year from heat stress, malnutrition and the spread of infectious diseases like malaria, according to the World Health Organization…

Premature Deaths from Environmental Degradation Threat to Global Public Health, UNEP Report Says; UNEP (05-23-2016)
Danger posed by air pollution, chemicals, microplastics, zoonotic diseases and other environmental threats to human health revealed in series of reports released at second United Nations Environment Assembly…

Underwater seagrass beds dial back polluted seawater

Seagrass harvest, Zanzibar. Photo source: ©© Tserno


Seagrass meadows – bountiful underwater gardens that nestle close to shore and are the most common coastal ecosystem on Earth – can reduce bacterial exposure for corals, other sea creatures and humans, according to new research…

Read Full Article, ScienceDaily (02-16-2017)

Seagrasses Can Store as Much Carbon as Forests, NSF (05-23-2012)
Seagrasses are a vital part of the solution to climate change and, per unit area, seagrass meadows can store up to twice as much carbon as the world’s temperate and tropical forests…

Seagrass Thrives Surprisingly Well in Toxic Sediments, But Still Dies All Over The World, Science daily (08-06-2015)

Seagrass a crucial weapon against coastal erosion, Phys. Org (06-27-2016)

Line drawn in the sand between beach access and protection

Ocean Beach, San Francisco, California. Photo source: ©© Wally Gobetz


Even on such a soggy, San Francisco day, people still enjoy city beaches. It’s incredible that 19th-century legislators had the foresight to preserve coastal areas as a public right in the California Constitution. For more than 40 years, the California Coastal Act has further protected “maximum access” to the coast “for all the people.”

But maximum access comes with challenges, such as habitat destruction and litter. How should San Francisco leaders and agencies strike the delicate balance between ensuring our beaches welcome everyone today and remain a treasure for everyone tomorrow?..

Read Full Article, SF Examiner (02-15-2017)

Drawing a Line In The Sand In Malibu, CA, CNN (09-06-2015)
As it nears its 40th year, the California Coastal Commission is stepping up its efforts to make California’s coastline accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford to hoard the view. In theory, a person could walk along the water for the length of California, from the Oregon state line to the Mexican border, without setting foot on private property…

Surfers Win Back California’s Martin’s Beach, Huffington Green (09-29-2014)
Surfers are celebrating a major win after a California court ruled against a Silicon Valley billionaire who had tried to deny public beach access near his private property…

The Dangers of Surfing After a Rain

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


To surf, or not to surf. That’s the question many of us frequently face, when a deluge falls from above, surface streets are lined with tributaries, and bacterial runoff rushes towards the ocean.

The Surfrider Foundation just completed a three-year study exploring the dangers of surfing during or after a rain…

Read Full Article, Surfline (02-07-2017)

Urban Stormwater Runoff: A Significant Source of Beachwater Pollution; NRDC (12-22-2010)

Coal-Tar-Sealant Runoff Causes Toxicity and DNA Damage, USGS (04-14-2015)
Runoff from pavement with coal-tar-based sealant is toxic to aquatic life, damages DNA, and impairs DNA repair…

9 Surprising Diseases You Can Catch at the Beach, Huffington Post (08-23-2010)

MRSA: Bad Boy Bacteria, By Sharlene Pilkey (05-23-2010)
It used to be swimmers ear, (otis exterma,) and then it was swimmers itch (cercarial dermatitis) if you went to the beach, everybody got it at one time or another, but now there is a new bully bacteria hiding on supposedly pristine beaches world-wide…

Increasing factory and auto emissions disrupt natural cycle in East China Sea

Shanghai. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


China’s rapid ascent to global economic superpower is taking a toll on some of its ancient ways, patterned around the vast fisheries of the East China Sea. But now those waters are increasingly threatened by human-caused, harmful algal blooms that choke off vital fish populations, according to a new study.

The study concluded that adverse changes in the ocean ecosystem can be traced back to industry and agriculture and that the only way the process can be reversed is for humans to start addressing land-based pollution…

Read Full Article, Science Daily (01-31-2017)

Aquaculture in Northeast China, NASA (09-28-2015)

Green Algae Chokes Eastern China’s Beaches; (08-06-2011)

oxic Algal Blooms Aren’t Just Florida’s Problem. And They’re On The Rise; Huffington Green (07-08-2016)

Wave of Toxic Green Beaches, France; By Sharlene Pilkey (10-2009)
With beaches and coastlines all over the world already under attack from sea level rise, pollution, mining, driving, seawall construction and human development encroachment, another menace is mounting an assault…

Toxic Algae Blooming in Warm Water from California to Alaska, (08-05-2015)
A vast bloom of toxic algae off the West Coast is denser, more widespread and deeper than scientists feared even weeks ago…

Green And Golden Seaweed Tides On The Rise, By Victor Smetacek & Adriana Zinging (08-2014)
Green, brown and red seaweeds lying on the beach are part and parcel of life in many coastal regions. The amount of beached seaweed biomass started to increase along the shores of industrialized countries in the 1970s, and by the 1990s had become a nuisance along many beaches when mass-stranding events of macroalgae became known as green tides…

Warmer West Coast ocean conditions linked to increased risk of toxic shellfish

Razor clam diggers, Washington State; NOAA.


Hazardous levels of domoic acid, a natural toxin that accumulates in shellfish, have been linked to warmer ocean conditions in waters off Oregon and Washington for the first time by a NOAA-supported research team, led by Oregon State University scientists.

Domoic acid, produced by certain types of marine algae, can accumulate in shellfish, fish and other marine animals. Consuming enough of the toxin can be harmful or even fatal. Public health agencies and seafood managers closely monitor toxin levels and impose harvest closures where necessary to ensure that seafood remains safe to eat. NOAA is supporting research and new tools to help seafood industry managers stay ahead of harmful algae events that are increasing in frequency, intensity and scope.

“We describe a completely new method to understanding and predicting toxic outbreaks on a large scale, linking domoic acid concentrations in shellfish to ocean conditions caused by warm water phases of natural climate event cycles like Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and El Nino,” said Morgaine McKibben from Oregon State University, the lead author of the newly published, NOAA-supported research findingsoffsite link in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Razor Clam digging area closure sign along Washington state coast. (Washington State Department of Health)

Predicting toxic outbreaks, protecting valuable fisheries

Using extensive time series of biological, chemical, and physical data, this study also created a climate-based risk analysis model which predicts where and when domoic acid in shellfish will likely exceed regulatory thresholds. The researchers will make this model freely available to support fisheries management decisions in Oregon, Washington and California.

“Commercial and recreational shellfish fisheries along the West Coast are a multi-million dollar industry,” said NOAA harmful algal bloom program manager Marc Suddleson. “Improving our ability to accurately predict algal toxin levels in shellfish supports timely and targeted fishery closures or openings, essential to avoiding economic disruption and safeguarding public health.”

In 2015, domoic acid-related closures led to a decline in value of nearly $100 million for the West Coast Dungeness crab fishery according to the Fisheries of the U.S. Report 2015.

Data to make decisions

“This study will help us determine if the increased climate-ocean variability we expect will lead to more widespread outbreaks like the West Coast-wide domoic acid event of 2015-16,” said co-author Bill Peterson, NOAA Fisheries. “If so, we’ll likely see increased domoic acid effects throughout the ocean food web.” For example, domoic acid events have been linked to mass deaths of marine mammals, like sea lions, sea otters, dolphins and whales.

“Advance warning of when domoic acid levels are likely to exceed our public health thresholds in shellfish is extremely helpful,” said Matt Hunter co-author of the paper with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Agencies like mine can use this model to anticipate domoic acid risks and prepare for periods of more intensive monitoring and testing, helping to better inform our decisions and ensure the safety of harvested crab and shellfish.”

Findings reported by McKibben and her co-authors resulted from their involvement in the NOAA-funded Monitoring Oregon Coastal Harmful Algae project (2007-2012). This research was conducted by scientists with NOAA, the University of Oregon, Oregon State University, and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, with funding from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science Monitoring and Event Response for Harmful Algal Blooms (MERHAB) Research Program.

Original Article, NOAA (01-09-2017)

Spread of algal toxin through marine food web broke records in 2015, Science Daily (01-10-2016)
Researchers monitoring the unprecedented bloom of toxic algae along the west coast of North America in 2015 found record levels of the algal toxin domoic acid in samples from a wide range of marine organisms. The toxin was also detected for the first time in the muscle tissue or filet of several commercial fish species…

California health officials issue warning against crab consumption, CNN (11-04-2015)
Due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid, Dungeness and rock crabs caught in waters between the Oregon borders and the southern Santa Barbara County line pose a “significant risk to the public if consumed,” the California Department of Public Health said in a release…

Sea Lions Exposed To Toxic Algae At Risk Of Brain Damage and Memory Loss, Nature World News (12-15-2015)

California’s Crab Fiasco Is Worse for Marine Life Than Humans, (11-06-2015)