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Global

Eco-Villains

Cleanup Cites Worst Plastic Polluters Aweek-long beach cleanup and audit at Freedom Island in the Philippines last September exposed the companies most responsible for plastic pollution in the critical wetland habitat. The Greenpeace Philippines and #breakfreefromplastic movement audit, the first of its kind in the country, revealed that Nestlé, Unilever and the Indonesian company PT Torabika Mayora are the top ... Read More »

All That Glitters

Sparkly Microbeads Face Ban Scientists have called for glitter to be prohibited due to the threat it poses to wildlife. The glistening, decorative, plastic microbead powder may seem harmless, but environmental researchers report it’s a dangerous pollutant, particularly in oceans. Trisia Farrelly, Ph.D., of New Zealand’s Massey University, notes, “Their diminutive size and sparkling appearance make them appealing to animals, ... Read More »

Helping Hands

Recycled Plastic Transforms into Prosthetics The emerging technology of three-dimensional (3-D) printing can benefit the world in many ways. Re:Purpose for Good, in Australia, creates robotically 3-D printed prosthetic devices from recycled plastic and e-waste. It’s difficult to customize prosthetics, so more invasive surgery is often needed to make standard sizes fit the patient. Other companies produce 3-D printed  prosthetic ... Read More »

Waterborne Drugs

Meds in Urban Streams Drive Microbial Resistance Anew study published in the journal Ecosphereconfirms that in urban streams, persistent pharmaceutical pollution can cause aquatic microbial communities to become resistant to drugs. Researchers evaluated the presence of pharmaceuticals, including painkillers, stimulants, antihistamines and antibiotics, in four streams in Baltimore, Maryland. Then they measured the microbial response to drug exposure. Selected study ... Read More »

Industry Revs Up for Electric Car Future

China, the world’s largest car market, is planning to stop production and sales of traditional energy vehicles in favor of electric vehicles (EV), and the decision has sped up competitive development by U.S. automakers. General Motors is promising to launch at least 20 new electric vehicles in the next six years. “General Motors believes the future is all-electric,” says Mark ... Read More »

Britain May Charge Deposit to Reduce Bottle Litter

Britain only recycled 57 percent of the plastic bottles that were sold there in 2016, and is considering charging a deposit fee to reduce litter. Scotland is also introducing a deposit return policy for cans and bottles. Denmark recycles 90 percent and South Australia 80 percent by using deposits as an incentive. UK Environment Secretary Michael Gove says that almost ... Read More »

Germany Undergoes an Energy Renaissance

Last May, Germany’s renewable energy mix of solar, wind, hydropower and biomass generated so much power for a few hours that customers actually got paid for using electricity. The country’s renewable power sources generate 88 percent of total electricity demand, and growing wind power assets alone are expected to make the phenomenon a regular occurrence. When this happens, commercial producers ... Read More »

Tree Tally

The Amazon rainforest is thought to harbor a greater diversity of trees than anywhere else on Earth, but the exact number has long been a mystery. In 2013, scientists estimated that the number of species was around 16,000, but no actual count had been done. In a new paper in Scientific Reports, researchers delved into museum collections from around the ... Read More »

Tiny Baubles

Microplastic Mess Threatens World Oceans Scientists from the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) have published research in the journal Science of the Total Environment showing levels of microplastics are five times higher in the Antarctic than previous estimates. Co-author Dr. Claire Waluda, a BAS biologist, says, “We have monitored the presence of large plastic items in ... Read More »

Nature Rights

Waterways Granted Personhood This year, the Whanganui River, in New Zealand, became the first in the world to be granted the same legal rights as a person. Equally vital, a court in northern India has given the sacred Ganges and Yamuna rivers, as well as several glaciers, the legal status of “living human entities” to help in the preservation and ... Read More »