Pollution

My coal childhood - lessons for Australia from Germany's mine pit lakes

Anica Niepraschk
| 2nd August 2017
How do you solve the problem of ‘retired' mine pits aka huge abandoned holes in the ground? Turning them into lakes is a popular solution but maybe not the best one says ANICA NIEPRASCK who should know since she grew up in the Lausitz region of Germany in a community surrounded by these massive, dangerous and polluting land holes

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Display from a BG smart meter. Just too bad about all the electromagnetic smog it generates. Photo: athriftymrs.com via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Smart meter radiation and health - why are we neglecting non-toxic alternatives?

Lynne Wycherley
| 6th June 2017
With growing evidence of harm to physical and mental health caused by continuous pulsed em radiation from 'smart' electricity meters, Lynne Wycherley asks: have we underestimated risks to heart function and the nervous system? And of interference with embedded medical devices, such as cardiac pacemakers? It's time to switch to over-wire or fibre communications to bring the 'smart green grid' of the future to electrosmog-free reality.

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The Escondida copper-gold-silver mine, 170 kilometers (110 miles) southeast of Chile’s port city of Antofagasta. This astronaut photograph features a large impoundment area (image center) containing light tan and gray waste spoil from of the Escondida m

For how long will the London Stock Exchange give Antofagasta mine a free pass?

Ali Maeve
Liam Barrington-Bush
| 1st June 2017
London-listed copper giant Antofagasta has been entangled in scandals in Chile involving water depletion, dangers to local communities, corruption of national politics and environmental contamination, write Ali Maeve & Liam Barrington-Bush. Yet the London Stock Exchange remains silent. Following the company's AGM last week, a new London Mining Network report puts their actions and operations into the spotlight.

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Gathered on a remote stretch of beach at  Rekvik, Troms Fylke, Norway: 211 bottles and cans. Photo: Bo Eide via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

UN Ocean Conference: can the law protect our ocean ecosystems?

Elizabeth A Kirk
Nottingham Law School
| 1st June 2017
With the UN Ocean Conference beginning in New York next week, Elizabeth A Kirk asks: can we devise a legal system that promotes the ecological resilience of the oceans? To do so will mean placing ecosystems at the heart of decision making, over and above countries' selfish 'national interests'. It will be tough, but if we fail it's hard to see how the gamut of problems - from ocean acidification to plastic pollution and overfishing - can ever be solved.

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Ecuador's 'free trade' agreement with the US only undermined their ability to get justice for Texaco's toxic legacy of oil pollution, and did little to attract investment. Now it has been dumped along with 15 others. Photo of Lago Agrio by Caroline Bennet

Ecuador rips up 16 toxic trade treaties

Nick Dearden
Global Justice Now
| 31st May 2017
Ecuador is the latest country to tear up 'free trade' agreements that have so far cost the country $21 billion in damages awarded to foreign companies by 'corporate courts', and yielded next to nothing in return, writes Nick Dearden. So the outgoing President Correa did the only sensible thing: in one of his final executive acts this month, he scrapped 16 toxic trade and investment treaties.

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Back to the future? Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, in the Great Fog of 1952. Photo: N T Stobbs via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Conservatives' hard right Brexit plans: UK's great leap backwards to 'dirty man of Europe'

Brendan Montague
| 27th April 2017
It's barely mentioned in the election campaign or reported in the media. But a powerful faction of Tory ministers, ex-ministers and backbench MPs are bent on using Brexit to ignite a massive bonfire of 'spirit-crushing' laws on wildlife protection, air and water pollution, pesticides, renewable energy and public health, writes Brendan Montague. At risk are not just EU directives and regulations but even the UK's own Climate Change Act. May's Brexit may not just be hard, but very, very dirty.

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Red for Danger! London traffic lights in winter smog, 4th January 2015. Photo: alec boreham via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

As government delays pollution plan, study shows how killer nanoparticles cause heart disease

Oliver Tickell
| 26th April 2017
A new study explains for the first time how nanoparticles like those in diesel exhaust fumes cause heart disease by lodging in inflamed blood vessels, writes Oliver Tickell. The study, published as the UK government is ordered before the High Court to justify its refusal to publish plans to tackle illegal air pollution which afflicts 38 million people, also raises wider fears about 'engineered nanoparticles' in the environment.

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Judy Eckert holding water contaminated with arsenic drawn from her private well 450ft from a fracking rig in Pennsylvania, which she believes contaminated her water supply. Photo: Public Herald via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Fracking kills newborn babies - polluted water likely cause

Oliver Tickell
| 25th April 2017
A new study in Pennsylvania, USA shows that fracking is strongly related to increased mortality in young babies. The effect is most pronounced in counties with many drinking water wells indicating that contamination by 'produced water' from fracking is a likely cause. Radioactive pollution with uranium, thorium and radium is a 'plausible explanation' for the excess deaths.

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Scale representation of the incinerator in situ, near Junction 12 of the M5, providing a highly dubious 'welcome to Gloucester', adjacent to the AONB. Image: GlosVAIN.

Up in smoke: the fight to block Gloucestershire's unwanted incinerator

Dan Hinge
| 24th April 2017
Activists in Gloucestershire are battling to block the construction of a massive incinerator that they see as a blight on the landscape, costly, polluting, wasteful and undermining recycling, writes Dan Hinge. Now the fight, backed by superstar actor Jeremy Irons, just entered a new phase after a tribunal forced the County Council to reveal essential details of the contract it had signed.

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The Grangemouth oil refinery in Scotland, UK. Photo: Graeme Maclean via Flickr (CC BY).

Deadly toll of fossil fuel pollution: the old economy versus planet and people

Pete Dolack
Systemic Disorder
| 6th April 2017
Pollution caused by burning fossil fuels are already causing the premature deaths of 200,000 people a year - in the US alone, writes Pete Dolack. Add up the figures worldwide and it comes to many millions. And that's before we even count the catastrophic long term impacts of global warming. The US response: to loosen anti-pollution regulation and encourage increased oil, coal and gas production.

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Thick winter smog over London, 14th January 2012. Photo: stu mayhew via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

The lesson of Dieselgate: time for strong, effective pollution laws

Keith Taylor MEP
| 4th April 2017
MEPs vote today on proposals to cut air pollution by setting up an independent EU monitoring body to ensure that a scandal like Dieselgate never happens again, writes Keith Taylor. However fears are growing that Brexit promises the UK a bonfire of environmental laws including those on air pollution. We need a strong, new Clean Air Act now!

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Plastic waste being sorted by hand in Babakan, West Java, Indonesia. Photo: Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK exporting 67% of plastic waste amid 'illegal practices' warnings

The Ecologist
| 13th March 2017
Britain's trade in waste plastic to the Far East is booming. But it's not good news. The exported plastic is meant to be recycled under UK conditions and standards, but often is not, undermining bona fide UK recycling firms who face falling prices, reduced turnover, collapsing profits, and all too often, closure.

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The Rollright Stones in North Oxfordshire, not far from Paul's home town of Banbury. Photo: Cyrus Mower via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Noise, the 'ignored pollutant': health, nature and ecopsychology

Paul Mobbs
| 9th March 2017
The sonic backdrop to our lives is increasingly one of unwanted technospheric noise, writes Paul Mobbs. And as it eclipses the sounds of nature, it's taking its toll on our health, wellbeing and quality of life. So as well as campaigning for more trees, and quieter cars, trucks and aircraft, what's to be done? Let us seek out calm moments of quiet tranquillity - and listen to the birds.

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Officially designated as a 'rural road': the M25 Dartford Crossing on the QE2 Bridge. Photo: highwaysengland via Flickr (CC BY).

Britain's eight-lane 'rural road' evades air quality reporting

Keith Taylor
| 7th March 2017
The government's 'misclassification' of an eight-lane M25 road bridge over the river Thames East of London as a 'rural road' meant they did not have to report the illegal levels of pollution found there, writes Keith Taylor - getting off the UK off the hook for a 17th breach of EU air quality standards. What an unfortunate error!

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This smog, seen over London from Primrose Hill, is unlawful. But how to stop it if you can't take the government to court? Photo: Luton Anderson via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Government tries to puts itself above environmental law

Oliver Tickell
| 28th February 2017
The UK government hates to be held accountable in court when it breaks environmental laws like those on air quality. So it has created new rules - coming into force today - that expose environmental litigants to unlimited financial liabilities. Now three leading NGOs have done to the High Court to argue that the rules themselves are in breach the UK's international obligations.

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Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu with her son, Moisés Daniel. Photo: Bianca Bauer via Coal Action Network.

RWE npower, Colombian coal is killing our children! Close Aberthaw!

Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu
| 16th February 2017
The coal power station at Aberthaw is not just polluting much of South Wales with its filthy emissions. It could also be seriously damaging the health of children in Colombia with coal dust from BHP Billiton's massive Cerrejón coal mine. In this open letter, Luz Ángela Uriana Epiayu implores RWE npower to shut down its stinking, obsolete and illegal power station.

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Be there! Saturday 11th February 2017.

Stop the UK Treasury's transport carnage!

Donnachadh McCarthy
| 10th February 2017
It's not just that the government does not seem to care about the millions of Britons that have died prematurely from traffic pollution, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. It's that every policy intervention they have made is making the problem worse! Join us this Saturday to demand a sane transport policy that will make our roads safe for people, and our air fit to breathe.

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