water pollution Archives - Page 2 of 3 - State of the Planet

Nature’s Toxic Crusaders

Can mushrooms help clean up oil spills? Can oysters filter sewage pollution? Industrial waste is being injected into the planet’s soil and water as a result of human activity. Pioneers in the field of conservation and sustainability are employing nature’s own biological task force to help clean up.

by |September 12, 2012

A Solution to the Problem of Lawns?

Given the growing intensity of the global water crisis, to spend such enormous amounts of water on something that for practical purposes does little more than enslave millions of American homeowners by chaining them to their lawnmowers and sprinklers every Saturday…

by |March 15, 2011

Recruiting Tiny Organisms to Detect Water Pollution

Climate change has huge implications for water pollution, so with increasing climate change effects and the concern that many regions on the planet are approaching peak water, timely water pollution detection is critical.

by |February 8, 2011

Our Oceans: A Plastic Soup

“Humanity’s plastic footprint is probably more dangerous than its carbon footprint,” said Captain Charles Moore, who, in 1997, discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Its name is misleading because the huge expanse of floating marine debris is actually more like a soup of confetti-sized plastic bits, produced by the runoff of our throwaway lifestyle that… read more

by |January 26, 2011

How Hamburgers Pollute Our Water

Most Americans have no idea where the hamburgers and fried chicken we love come from, or what their environmental impacts are. But the way most meat in the U.S. is produced today has serious repercussions for our soil, air, and especially water.

by |October 25, 2010

Another Superfund Site in New York City: Newtown Creek to Get a Makeover

The March designation of the Gowanus Canal in New York City as a SuperFund clean up site was an important step forward, and is now being followed by another leap: on Monday Newtown Creek, which runs between Queens and Brooklyn received the same designation.

by |September 30, 2010

Sewage treatment isn’t rocket science – except when it is

It’s a case of finding a use for what was thought of as waste. Sewage treatment processes produce methane and nitrous oxide, both greenhouse gasses, while leaving undesirably high levels of nitrogen in the discharged water. On their own, all three of these things are harmful to the environment. Stanford University reports that a team has found a way to take those unwanted waste gasses and use them to 1) reduce the amount of nitrogen in the water, 2) produce an alternative energy source and 3) dispose of the nitrous oxide cleanly – by using it as rocket fuel, in fact.

by |July 27, 2010

DRBC Gives Tentative Go Ahead to Fracking in PA — New York Skips the Meeting

According to the Delaware River Basin Commission, over 15 million people—about five percent of the nation’s population–rely on the Delaware River Basin for “drinking, agricultural, and industrial use.” New York City alone gets half its water from reservoirs located on tributaries of the Delaware. It’s no understatement, then, to suggest that the commission—a regional body… read more

by |July 22, 2010

No More Pavement! The Problem of Impervious Surfaces

Recent research, according to the New York Times, indicates that urban areas are about to get hotter — much hotter. Not exactly what blistering New Yorkers want to hear after one of the more brutal, record-breaking heat waves in memory. Of course climatologists (and most of the rest of us) have known for a long… read more

by |July 13, 2010

Jamaica Bay, a refuge for wildlife in New York City, gets protection

The good news is that the migratory birds and resident marine life of Jamaica Bay may be getting a reprieve. In February, Mayor Bloomberg, the State Environmental Council and the Natural Resources Defense Council announced an agreement that would improve water quality and preserve the wetlands of Jamaica Bay. The Jamaica Bay Watershed Protection Plan commits to restoring degraded marshlands and reducing nitrogen discharge into the bay by 50 percent over the next ten years at a cost of $115 million to the city alone. Federal funds and resources are expected to supplement the project.

by |July 6, 2010