Dirty Shipping

What little reliable information can be gleaned from the mass of estimates, best guesses and informed speculation paints a troubling picture. According to a pioneering 2007 study by James J. Corbett and others published in Environmental Science & Technology, shipping-related emissions of particulate matter contribute to approximately 60,000 premature cardiopulmonary and lung cancer deaths each year, mostly in coastal regions along major trade routes. In a 2007 rulemaking announcement, the EPA published estimates that worldwide shipping in 2001 emitted more than 54,000 tons of PM2.5, as much as 117 power plants, and approximately 745,000 tons of NOx, equivalent to about 800 million modern automobiles. That number is not a typo ─ the global fleet of approximately 90,000 ships really is that dirty.


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Sustainable Seafood Pocket Guides

Print one off and keep it in your wallet. Very handy!

Carry the pocket guide that’s right for your region to help you choose ocean-friendly seafood wherever you live or travel. Click on your state on the map below to determine the pocket guide that’s right for you. If you live near a boundary between two regions, we suggest that you look at both pocket guides and pick the one that lists the seafood items commonly found where you live.


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Bluefin Tuna Extinction and Mitsubishi

Japan’s sprawling Mitsubishi conglomerate has cornered a 40 per cent share of the world market in bluefin tuna, one of the world’s most endangered fish.

A corporation within the £170bn Mitsubishi empire is importing thousands of tonnes of the fish from Europe into Tokyo’s premium fish markets, despite stocks plummeting towards extinction in the Mediterranean.


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Valley of the Drums

The Valley of the Drums is a 23-acre toxic waste site in northern Bullitt County, Kentucky, near Louisville, named after the waste-containing drums strewn across the area. It is known as one of the primary motivations for the passage of the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, or Superfund Act of 1980. While the widely publicized Love Canal disaster is often credited as reason the Superfund law was passed, Love Canal activist Lois Gibbs has said that Love Canal looked like a suburban community, while “Valley of the Drums became the visualization of the problem.”


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Awful Pictures of Pollution

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Antwerp to Ghana – The E-Waste Cycle

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Oyster Reef Destruction

The first-ever comprehensive review of the state of the world’s shellfish has just been released by The Nature Conservancy and the prognosis (as you may expect) really isn’t good. In fact, when oysters are concerned it’s downright awful.Globally, about 85% of the world’s oyster reefs have vanished and in many areas oyster reefs are functionally extinct:


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The Rainforest Chernobyl

In a rainforest area roughly three times the size of Manhattan, Texaco carved out 350 oil wells, and upon leaving the country in 1992, left behind some 1,000 open toxic waste pits. Many of these pits leak into the water table or overflow in heavy rains, polluting rivers and streams that 30,000 people depend on for drinking, cooking, bathing and fishing. Texaco also dumped more than 18 billion gallons of toxic and highly saline “formation waters,” a byproduct of the drilling process, into the rivers of the Oriente. At the height of Texaco’s operations, the company was dumping an estimated 4 million gallons of formation waters per day, a practice outlawed in major US oil producing states like Louisiana, Texas, and California decades before the company began operations in Ecuador in 1967. By handling its toxic waste in Ecuador in ways that were illegal in its home country, Texaco saved an estimated $3 per barrel of oil produced.


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The Relation Between Factory Farming and Swine Flu

But as Dr Michael Greger, director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States, has pointed out, this is not the first time a triple hybrid human/bird/pig flu virus has been uncovered. The first was found in a North Carolina industrial pig farm in 1998, and within a year it had spread across the United States.

Since news of the epidemic broke, reports in Mexico City daily La Jornada and Veracruz-based paper La Marcha have detailed how a number of community residents in the affected areas have expressed concerns over the operations of Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork packer and hog producer. According to these reports, in Veracruz – where the outbreak originated, a Smithfield subsidiary called Granjas Carrol raises 950,000 hogs per year in intensive conditions.


The boy’s hometown, La Gloria, is also close to a pig farm that raises almost 1 million animals a year. The facility, Granjas Carroll de Mexico, is partly owned by Smithfield Foods, a Virginia-based US company and the world’s largest producer and processor of pork products. Residents of La Gloria have long complained about the clouds of flies that are drawn the so-called “manure lagoons” created by such mega-farms, known in the agriculture business as Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs).

It is now known that there was a widespread outbreak of a powerful respiratory disease in the La Gloria area earlier this month, with some of the town’s residents falling ill in February. Health workers soon intervened, sealing off the town and spraying chemicals to kill the flies that were reportedly swarming through people’s homes.


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So, how many spills per day are there?

We here at RMN, try do our best at covering some of the more significant oil, waste and industrial spills that occur around the globe. Unfortunately, we can only cover a tiny fraction of the amount that actually happen. Let us show you what we mean. Type in “spill” to Google News:


What you’ll see there is a depressing news wire feed of environmental sodomy from just the past couple days. Let’s have a look at a sample of it from April 27, 2009:

  • Oil spill in Satluj
  • Wastewater spill in Catawba creek
  • Mercury Spill in Newark
  • Hydraulic Fluid Spill In Farmington
  • Witnesses Still Recovering From Anhydrous Spill
  • Fuel Spills into Northside Sewer; Indianapolis
  • Hydrochloric acid spill spawns vapour cloud in Ohio for 5 hours
  • Manure spill moves fish stocking; Kewaunee River

All of these were non-negligible spills. They do not include news from hearings about spills, anniversaries of spills or spills that we’re successfully covered up or not considered newsworthy enough. If you search for terms like “leak” or “dumping” or “overflow” the list grows even larger.

So what’s the point of sharing this? Simply to bring attention to the sheer daily volume of man-made environmental assaults. So, what’s the solution? The usual: more funding for regulatory agencies, reduced consumption and more awareness of the issue. Taking the profit motive out of particularly environmentally devastating industries would also be good.

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