Tag Archives: Pollution

PCB pollution threatens to wipe out killer whales

Photo source: ©© Giuseppe Milo


More than 40 years after the first initiatives were taken to ban the use of PCBs, the chemical pollutants remain a deadly threat to animals at the top of the food chain.

A new study shows that the current concentrations of PCBs can lead to the disappearance of half of the world’s populations of killer whales from the most heavily contaminated areas within a period of just 30-50 years…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (09-27-2018)

PCB chemical threat to Europe’s killer whales and dolphins; BBC News (01-14-2016)

Wash your hands if you touch the ocean in NC – and forget swimming, experts warn

Satellite image shows Florence’s floodwaters polluting the Atlantic. Captions and Image source: NOAA


Waters off much of the North Carolina coast are no longer safe for swimming or even wading due to Hurricane Florence runoff, according to a warning posted by the North Carolina Coastal Federation…

Read Full Article; The Herald Sun (09-26-2018)

Satellite image shows Florence’s floodwaters polluting the Atlantic; CNN (09-20-2018)

In pictures: Millions mark World Cleanup Day 2018

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


Millions of people marked World Cleanup Day on Saturday, joining what was set to be the biggest-ever single day of volunteer-based waste collection efforts.

The event, started by waste collection movement Let’s Do It! World, called on people to “come together to rid our planet of trash — cleaning up litter and mismanaged waste from our beaches, rivers, forests, and streets.”

Cleanups were organised in 152 countries around the world, with results from just 75 countries on Saturday night already confirming the participation of more than 14.5 million people.

Full results of the day, including the amount of waste collected, were set to be released on Sunday…

Read Full Article; Euro News (09-15-2018)

World Cleanup Day 2018, Learn More (09-15-2018)

International Coastal Cleanup: September 15, 2018

Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care


The International Coastal Cleanup began more than 30 years ago, when communities rallied together with the common goal of collecting and documenting the trash littering their coastline…

Read Full Article; Ocean Conservancy (09-15-2018)

In pictures: Millions mark World Cleanup Day 2018; Euro News (09-15-2018)

The 2017 International Coastal Cleanup Results Are In! Ocean Conservancy (06-27-2018)
Last September, extraordinary volunteers from all around the world came together to clean up our beaches and waterways during the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). We are thrilled to share with you the results of their efforts in the 2018 International Coastal Cleanup Report. Hundreds of thousands of volunteers collected over 20 million pounds of trash from beaches and waterways worldwide…

Summer Ship Tracks in the Pacific

Image Credit: NASA/Lauren Dauphin/Adam Voiland/Bastiaan van Diedenhoven (NASA GISS).


In August 2018, long, narrow clouds stood out against the backdrop of marine clouds blanketing much of the North Pacific Ocean. Known as ship tracks, the distinctive clouds form when water vapor condenses around the tiny particles emitted by ships in their exhaust. Ship tracks typically form in areas where thin, low-lying stratus and cumulus clouds are present.

Some particles generated by ships (especially sulfates) are soluble in water and serve as the seeds around which cloud droplets form. Clouds infused with ship exhaust have more and smaller droplets than unpolluted clouds. As a result, the light hitting the polluted clouds scatters in many directions, making them appear especially bright and thick.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on Aqua captured this natural-color image of several ship tracks extending northward on August 26, 2018. The clouds were located about 1,000 kilometers (600 miles) west of the California-Oregon border. Similar environmental conditions also triggered the formation of ship tracks in this part of the Pacific on August 27 and 28.

An analysis of one year of satellite observations from the Advanced Along Track Scanning Radiometer (AATSR) on the European Space Agency’s Enivisat indicates that very low clouds are most often present off the west coasts of North and South America.

The large number of ships traversing the North Pacific, combined with all of the low clouds, make ship tracks more common here than anywhere else in the world. Roughly two-thirds of the world’s ship tracks are found in the Pacific, according to the study. Other ship track hotspots were in the North Atlantic, off the west coast of southern Africa, and off the west coast of South America.

The research team also detected a clear seasonality in their occurrence: they are most often observed in May, June, and July, and only occasionally present in December, January, and February. Ship traffic is roughly constant throughout the year, so the cycle is mostly due to seasonal changes in the abundance of very low clouds.

Original Article; NASA / GISS (09-04-2018)

At Last, the Shipping Industry Begins Cleaning Up Its Dirty Fuels; Yale e360 (06-28-2018)
By 2020, the global shipping fleet will be required to slash the noxious emissions from thick, sulfur-laden “bunker” fuel, a move that is expected to sharply reduce air pollution and prevent millions of cases of childhood asthma and other respiratory ailments…

Container ships use super-dirty fuel. That needs to change; WIRED (11-09-2017)
About 90 percent of everything we buy will travel on ships like these at some point. And all of these behemoths burn fossil fuel, contributing significantly to the warming atmosphere and shifting climate patterns…

Ship engine emissions adversely affect the health of inhabitants of coastal regions; Science Daily (07-19-2016)
Ship emissions adversely affect the health of inhabitants of coastal regions. This was the main finding of a study on the influence of ship engine emissions on macrophages in the lungs. Since macrophages also play a key role in lung diseases such as COPD, the study is important for understanding the health risks of ship exhausts…

Sea Traffic Pollutes Our Lungs More Than Previously Thought, Science Daily (11-20-2015)
New data show that the air along the coasts is full of hazardous nanoparticles from sea traffic. Almost half of the measured particles stem from sea traffic emissions, while the rest is deemed to be mainly from cars but also industries and natural particles from the sea…

A Satellite’s View of Ship Pollution; NASA (02-07-2013)

Ship exhaust makes oceanic thunderstorms more intense; Science Daily (09-07-2017)
Thunderstorms directly above two of the world’s busiest shipping lanes are significantly more powerful than storms in areas of the ocean where ships don’t travel, according to new research…

Powering ships with plastic in Amsterdam; UNEP (07-09-2018)

Europe Takes First Steps in Electrifying World’s Shipping Fleets; Yale E360 (02-22-2018)
Container ships, tankers, freighters, and cruise liners are a significant source of CO2 emissions and other pollutants. Led by Norway, Europe is beginning to electrify its coastal vessels – but the task of greening the high seas fleet is far more daunting…

“FREIGHTENED – The Real Price of Shipping,” a movie by multi award-winning filmmaker Denis Delestrac-©-2016; (03-31-2016)
90% of the goods we consume in the West are manufactured in far-off lands and brought to us by ship. The cargo shipping industry is a key player in world economy and forms the basis of our very model of modern civilisation; without it, it would be impossible to fulfil the ever-increasing demands of our societies. Yet the functioning and regulations of this business remain largely obscure to many, and its hidden costs affect us all. Due to their size, freight ships no longer fit in traditional city harbours; they have moved out of the public’s eye, behind barriers and check points…

Super-sized ships: How big can they get? Independent (10-21-2014)
Despite the physical limits and risks, ships of more than 450m are anticipated within the next five years…

Breaking Bad on the Beach, NASA / Earth Observatory (09-28-2014)
Tens of thousands of ships ply the world’s oceans, bays, and rivers. But what happens when those ships have become too old or too expensive to operate? In most cases, they end up on the shores of Asia…literally…

As Florida’s toxic red tide stretches on, residents report health problems

Red Tide Status Update for August 31, 2018, Florida.
A bloom of the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, persists in Southwest Florida and continues to extend from Pinellas to Collier counties along ~145 miles of coastline. Captions and image source: MYFWC


Doctors in southwest Florida say they’ve seen an increase in patients complaining of breathing problems…

Read Full Article; NBC News (09-02-2018)

Scientists testing new solution to fight Florida’s toxic red tide; CBS News (08-18-2018)

Spiagge Bianche (White Beaches), Rosignano Marittimo, Italy

Spiagge Bianche, Vada beach, Rosignano Marittimo, Tuscany, Italy. Photo source: ©© Michele Molinari


This deceiving white sand beach gets its brilliant hue from the chemical discharge of a nearby factory.

Most beaches in Italy are distinctly Mediterranean, featuring darker water and rocky cliffs, but on the western coast of the country there lies a stretch of white sand alongside a bright hue of turquoise water. Unlike most of the Italian coastline, this idyllic beach appears to perfectly resemble that of a pristine Caribbean resort—that is, with the exception of the giant smokestacks looming behind it…

Read Full Article; Atlas Obscura (2017)

A Caribbean beach in Tuscany? No, i’s just an illusion, GeoSocial (08-17-2014)
The “Spiagge bianche” (“White beaches”) in Rosignano Solvay, a small town in southern Tuscany, have been luring many thousands of tourists to this stretch of Tyrrhenian shoreline for years.
In a report issued by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1999, Rosignano was listed among the “Priority pollution hot spots and sensitive areas in the Mediterranean”. In recent years, local environmental activists have repeatedly called for actions aimed at assessing potential hazards posed by the discharge of chemicals into the sea…

En Italie, une plage «paradisiaque» à proximité d’une usine fait polémique; Le Figaro (08-30-2018)

Tracking Sargassum’s ocean path could help predict coastal inundation events

Floating mats of sargassum approaching the shores, Caribbean sea. Photograph: © SAF — Coastal Care.


In recent years, large amounts of Sargassum have been washing up on beaches from the Caribbean to west Africa. This floating seaweed drifts on the oceans currents. New research explores how the Sargassum might grow while it is meandering along the currents, not just where it floats, combining both ocean physics and seaweed biology for the first time to understand the distribution patterns. Knowing could eventually help predict its arrival and impact on beaches around the world…

Read Full Article; Science Daily (08-23-2018)

Sargassum: The seaweed deluge hitting Caribbean shores; BBC News (08-06-2018)

Mysterious masses of seaweed assault Caribbean islands; Science Mag (06-11-2018)
The Caribbean is bracing for what could be the mother of all seaweed invasions, with satellite observations warning of record-setting Sargassum ​blooms and seaweed already swamping beaches…

The Eastern Caribbean Is Swamped by a Surge of Seaweed; Hakai Magazine (06-11-2018)
Massive rafts of floating sargassum are killing wildlife and preventing fishers from launching their boats…

Sargassum Watch Warns of Incoming Seaweed; (09-06-2016)
Sargassum beaching events in the Caribbean, West Africa, and other regions have received wide media attention, prompting action by regional governmental agencies and environmental groups seeking to understand this new phenomenon…

Plaguing Paradise; The Economist (09-02-2015)
Smelly piles of seaweed are ruining holidays. Globs of sargassum seaweed have landed on Caribbean beaches this year, forming piles that are sometimes metres deep…

Sargassum Inundates the Beaches of the Caribbean; Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle Alliance (10-31-2014)
Massive amounts of pelagic sargassum have ben washing up on Carribean beaches for the past few months. According to Mission Blue friend Martha Gilkes of Antigua, the seaweed drifts are getting as high as 3 to 4 feet on some beaches…

Mexico Deploys its Navy to Face its Latest Threat: Monster Seaweed, The Washington Post (10-29-2015)

A Tale of Two Beaches: Tompire Bay, NE Trinidad; By John Weber, William Neal & Jeanette Arkle

Worst “red tide” toxic algae bloom in years killing turtles, manatees in Florida

Red tide, blue glow. Photo source: ©© Dcissteve


Thousands of fish, eels and turtles are dying, sometimes as far as the eye can see, in parts of southwest Florida. Just this week, one of several lifeless manatees was pulled from the water. The suspected culprit is a toxic algae bloom known as “red tide…”

Read Full Article, CBS News (08-02-2018)

What is a red tide? MNN (08-02-2018)

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

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…

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…

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…