Clean water supplies are dwindling around the world. As a result, the use of untreated wastewater on farms for crop irrigation is on the rise.
We are well-aware of the negative effects of air pollution on human health and on the environment, but a recent study at Duke University has revealed that global solar energy production is taking a major hit due to air pollution and dust.
China and India have 36% of the world’s population and produce about 35% of global CO2 emissions, ranking first and third respectively in that category. The United States, with a little over 4% of the world’s population, produces about 16% of global CO2 emissions, good for second place.
With summer comes mosquitoes and our desire to keep them away from us. The most common repellents are based on the chemical DEET, which unfortunately has been found to have several health and safety problems. Up to 15% of DEET is absorbed through the skin directly into the bloodstream. Diethyl-meta-toluamide, the chemical name for DEET, has been shown to have a variety of toxic effects. Fortunately, it turns out that there are some natural alternatives which may be as effective as DEET, or possibly even more effective than DEET in keeping mosquitoes away from us.
Poor air quality is a major problem worldwide. Exposure to air pollution is linked to the premature deaths of an estimated 6.5 million people every year. This makes air pollution the fourth largest threat to human health, trailing only high blood pressure, dietary risks, and smoking.
Last year, tiger poaching in India jumped to its highest levels in 15 years. The spike was the result of killings by gangs of poachers, tigers being snared by locals trying to trap other animals for food, and by cutbacks in anti-poaching efforts because of budget cuts.
Snow leopards are majestic animals native to Central Asia. They roam the region’s rugged terrain, from Afghanistan to Kazakhstan and Russia in the north, and to India and China in the east. Snow leopards are known for their thick white coat of fur with ringed black and brown spots. These markings help camouflage the animals from their prey. But the camouflage does little to protect snow leopards from one of their biggest threats: humans.
In late September, the world’s largest solar power plant went online in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu. It is a 648 MW array of solar panels that is spread across 2,500 acres in the town of Kamuthi and will supply enough energy to power 300,000 homes.
Cochin International Airport in southern India is the seventh busiest airport in the country. Its managers were fed up with the facility’s large electric bills and decided to take matters in their own hands.
Filoviruses have devastating effects on people and primates, as evidenced by the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa. For nearly 40 years, preventing spillovers has been hampered by an inability to pinpoint which wildlife species harbor and spread the viruses.
There are 35 megacities in the world – metropolitan areas with more than 10 million people. Fifteen of them have populations above 20 million. And many of these teeming metropolises have to contend with some of the worst air pollution on the planet.
When we think of vultures, we picture big, ugly birds circling over a carcass in the desert. They are a stereotypical harbinger of death. But in many parts of the world, vultures are in danger of disappearing. Our knee-jerk reaction might well be “good riddance”, but as is the case for pretty much all participants in ecosystems, vultures have an important role to play. And when they aren’t around to play that role, bad things can happen.
Water is a simple chemical compound containing two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom connected by covalent bonds. It covers 71% of Earth’s surface and is vital for all forms of life. Despite its abundance, water that is safe for drinking is globally in short supply.
Much of the public discourse about pollution is focused on the long-term consequences of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. There are still some who doubt that such consequences are really in the offing or that our actions are responsible in any case.