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Entries in pollution (10)


New York City Implementing New Green Technologies to Reduce Waterway Pollution

As part of New York City’s ongoing efforts to clean up the pollution in its surrounding waters, NY Waterway has decided to revamp nine of its ferries with new engines and catalysts designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.

Photo courtesy of wirednewyork.com.

Part of the financing for this project will include $2.5 million in funding secured from a grant by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT) and a $900,000 contribution from the NY Waterway.

NY Waterway has also already converted the fleet to use 100 percent ultra-low sulfur diesel.

“The city has set a high standard with a cleaner retrofit for Staten Island ferry boats and equipping private fleets with this technology now brings a new standard to the industry in New York,” said DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan in a statement.

NY Waterway estimates that it carries about 35,000 passengers per day on 31 boats serving New Jersey, Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Rockland, Westchester, Orange, and Dutchess County.

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Thousands of China’s Children Suffering With Lead Poisoning From Factory Exposure

Photo courtesy of CartoonStock.com.

China has seen amazing economic growth in the last decade, but many of the country’s most vulnerable workers and their children are paying the price for that prosperity.

“Hundreds of thousands of children in China are suffering permanent mental and physical disabilities as a result of lead poisoning. Many of them live in poor, polluted villages next to and surrounded by lead smelters and battery factories,” said the new report – My Children Have Been Poisoned – from the Human Rights Watch.

“Often, their parents work in these factories bringing more lead into their homes on their clothes, boots, and hands,” said the report.

Joe Amon, health and human rights director at Human Rights Watch said, “We went to four provinces (Henan, Hunan, Shaanxi, and Yunnan), and in those provinces, we went to largely rural areas, having industrial factories and full of families that were just sick.

“Sometimes they didn’t even know why they were sick. They were just struggling.  They just weren’t feeling well. They weren’t gaining any weight. The children were developmentally delayed, and the young weren’t walking and talking.”

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Gulf of Mexico Seafood Getting Passing Grades From Ongoing U.S. Federal Food Safety Tests

It’s now exactly one year to the month since BP’s Deepwater Horizon offshore rig exploded - killing 11 people and releasing oil into the Gulf of Mexico for nearly three months, until mid-July.

Pelican covered in oil soon after the BP disaster. Image credit: Lord Mariser (Flicker CC).

At the time, the U.S. Geological Society estimated that the rig was gushing out crude oil at a rate of 12,000 to 25,000 barrels per day, spewing out a total of about 4.9 million barrels (206 million gallons) by the time the well was sealed.

Many politicians called it the worst environmental disaster in the nation’s history, doing massive damage to the region’s ecosystems, though the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) did tests that gave a more optimistic view.

The same month that the well was sealed, NOAA began testing the sea life for pollutants, declaring the seafood safe to eat, and reopening the Gulf waters.

Trying to further reassure the public, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, said in a statement, “We need the American public to be confident in the seafood coming from the Gulf, and the testing that has been done has not indicated any level of concerns.”

Those words didn’t do too much to calm public concerns about Gulf seafood and NOAA has found it necessary to continue to test the sea life to reassure the public that it’s safe to eat.

Last week, NOAA announced that it was continuing to “re-test the seafood from the Gulf of Mexico to demonstrate to Americans and to worldwide consumers that it is safe to eat” and that this re-testing will continue into the summer.

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U.S. Justice Department Sues For BP Oil Spill Clean Up Costs

BP oil spill. Photo courtesy of freshnessmag.com.

Alleging violations of federal safety regulations that may have caused or contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the U.S. Justice Department has just filed a civil lawsuit against BP and eight others.

“Even though the spill has been contained, the Department’s focus on investigating this disaster and preventing future devastation has not wavered,” said Attorney General Eric Holder in a statement.

“We intend to prove that these defendants are responsible for governmental removal costs, economic losses, and environmental damages without limitation” under the Oil Pollution Act for all removal costs and damages caused by the oil spill, including damages to natural resources, he added.

The complaint says that several key safety and operating regulations were violated in the period leading up to the oil spill, including:

  • Failing to take necessary precautions to keep the Macondo Well under control in the period leading up to the April 20th, 2010 explosion.
  • Failing to use the best available and safest drilling technology to monitor the well’s conditions.
  • Failing to maintain continuous surveillance.
  • Failing to use and maintain equipment and material that were available and necessary to ensure the safety and protection of personnel, equipment, natural resources, and the environment.

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20 Yrs Later- Alaskan Beaches Remain Polluted by Oil From Exxon Valdez Spill

The Exxon Valdez oil spill killed tens of thousands of animals during the initial days of the disaster alone. Photo courtesy of Nature’s Crusaders.

On Thursday evening, March 23, 1989, the Exxon Valdez, a very large crude carrier and one of Exxon’s then two largest oil tankers, left the Port of Valdez for Long Beach, Calif.

“The shipped passed through the Valdez Narrows and the pilot disembarked. Captain Joe Hazelwood ordered the vessel to procced outside the normal traffic separation lanes in order to avoid ice which had calved from the Columbia Glacier and was reported near the shipping lanes.

“The captain indicated to the mate where he wanted the vessel to turn to bring it back into the shipping lanes and then left the bridge. The ship did not make the turn prescribed by the captain, and shortly after midnight on Friday, March 24, 1989, struck Bligh Reef and fetched up hard aground.

“The grounding punctured the single-hulled vessel, resulting in the rupture of 11 of the vessel’s crude oil tanks. As a result, over 11 million gallons of crude oil were released into the pristine environment of Prince William Sound.”

This is how Craig Tillery, deputy attorney general for the Alaska Department of Law, described the events of those days to the Alaska Forum on the Environment during his keynote presentation, last February, when he brought attendees up to speed on the continuing effects of the disaster and restoration efforts.

As part of that address, he talked about the fact that about 10 years ago the Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Trustee Council noticed that “oil remained in greater quantities and at greater levels of toxicity than anyone that anticipated.”

Recent research findings from Temple University say that “it is estimated that nearly 20,000 gallons of oil remain in the beaches.”

Late last month, Nature Geoscience published the results of a three-year study by researchers from Temple University and China University of Geoscience which examined the effects of oil still remaining from the spill.

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