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Tag: pollution

Science Says: Amount of straws, plastic pollution is huge

Science Says: Amount of straws, plastic pollution is huge

Technology
Cities and nations are looking at banning plastic straws and stirrers in hopes of addressing the world's plastic pollution problem. The problem is so large, though, that scientists say that's not nearly enough. Australian scientists Denise Hardesty and Chris Wilcox estimate, using trash collected on U.S. coastlines during cleanups over five years, that there are nearly 7.5 million plastic straws lying around America's shorelines. They figure that means 437 million to 8.3 billion plastic straws are on the entire world's coastlines. But that huge number suddenly seems small when you look at all the plastic trash bobbing around oceans. University of Georgia environmental engineering professor Jenna Jambeck calculates that nearly 9 million tons (8 million metric tons) end up in the world's oc...
Minimal air pollution can trigger lung conditions in kids

Minimal air pollution can trigger lung conditions in kids

Health
April 13 (UPI) -- Brief exposure to minuscule air pollution particles trigger acute lower respiratory infection in young children, according to research.Scientists from Intermountain Healthcare in Utah, Brigham Young University and the University of Utah studied exposure to PM2.5, pollution-causing particles that measure about 3 percent of the diameter of a human hair. Their findings were published Friday in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, an American Thoracic Society journal.The study involved 146,397 patients with acute lower respiratory infection in Utah between 1999 and 2016. The researchers said this is the largest study involving air pollution and children."The most important finding of this study is that infectious processes of respiratory disease may...
Plastic pollution: Scientists' plea on threat to ocean giants

Plastic pollution: Scientists' plea on threat to ocean giants

Science
Scientists are calling for research on the impacts of microplastics on whales, sharks and rays that strain tiny food, like plankton, out of seawater.They say the ocean giants face "significant risks" from microplastics.Estimates suggest some whales may be ingesting hundreds of fragments of plastic a day.The Gulf of Mexico, the Mediterranean Sea, the Bay of Bengal and the Coral Triangle are priorities for monitoring, according to a review of studies.Researchers from the US, Australia and Italy looked at data on threats to large filter feeders from microplastics. These small plastic pieces less than five millimetres long can be harmful to the ocean and aquatic life.Contamination from microplastics has the potential to further reduce the population sizes of the large filter feeders, they say....
Pollution particles fuel large storms, research shows

Pollution particles fuel large storms, research shows

Science
Jan. 26 (UPI) -- New research suggests scientists have underestimated the importance of particulate matter as a driver of storm size and intensity.Scientists have previously proven that aerosols, particles suspended in the atmosphere, can influence weather and climate. With their latest study -- published this week in the journal Science -- researchers with the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory showed the smallest particles can encourage the formation and increase the intensity of storms."We showed that the presence of these particles is one reason why some storms become so strong and produce so much rain," PNNL researcher Jiwen Fan, lead author of the new study, said in a news release. "In a warm and humid area where atmospheric conditions are otherwise very cle...
Global models offer new insights into Great Lakes mercury pollution

Global models offer new insights into Great Lakes mercury pollution

Science
Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Members of the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community living on Michigan's Upper Peninsula have a fairly simple question: when is it safe to eat the fish they catch?To help fish-eaters better estimate their risk of exposure, researchers at Michigan Technological University have developed a model designed to measure the impact of local mitigation efforts, socioeconomic pressures, ecological systems, climate change, land use and other variables on local levels of mercury.Mercury is an atmosphere-surface exchangeable pollutant, a group of invisible, tasteless contaminants that move efficiently throughout the natural environment."We're taking phenomena that act on a global scale and predicting what they will do," Judith Perlinger, professor of environmental engineering at Michigan Tech...