Posts tagged pollution

Plastic Beaches

Have you ever wondered where your trash goes after it leaves the dump? How much of it is actually sifted through to be recycled? Some cities spend more money and time into making the most out of our garbage, but the fact is that more of our waste is being treated as such and disposed in our oceans more than is being reused. One the main and most harmful materials that is polluting our oceans, trashing our beaches and killing our sea life is plastic. There are island-sized mounds of plastic all around the world. Some reports as many as 10. It would take an insurmountable amount of labor and equipment to clean up what we have accumulated over decades, but we can prevent making the problem worse and clean up what is within reach. Sea life that we could potentially find on our dinner plates and in our restaurants are  mistaking bits of plastic for food. Some of this plastic has traveled from all around the world for years. A lot of plastic has dissolved into a powder that covers some of our most beautiful beaches for miles.

Click HERE to learn more about the impact plastic is having on our beaches.

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Methods of Transportation that Benefits Your Pockets and the Environment

-By Luisa Fabiola Gonzalez

The high gas prices in California are really frustrating to many people who commute from far away. Most Californians travel long distances from their homes to their schools or jobs. Looking at alternative ways to save money on gas, would be essential for todays long distance commuters. This is why the United States Department of Energy recommends drivers to drive more efficiently in order to save money.

Some of the tips suggested were: avoid aggressive driving (speeding, rapid acceleration and braking), using cruise control, or simply using other methods of transportation that could also benefit the environment because it will also help in diminish the high levels of pollution.  In order to learn more, you could check out Spare the Air to learn about other tips regarding saving money on gas and using other methods of transportation that could benefit the environment.

Feel free to share your methods?

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Deforestation Encouraged By Demand For Gold, Other Materials

In Peru, the demand for gold has resulted in illegal and destructive mining that in turn, has increased deforestation in the Madre de Dios region.

According to Mongabay.com, an environmental science and conservation news site, the loss of forests in Peru is only the beginning. Mining has detrimental effects such as an increase of mercury which contaminates the air and soil.

In addition, according to the article, social problems like drug trafficking, indentured labor, and child prostitution, have arisen from the illegal gold trade.

But Peru is not the only country facing this issue. Three years ago, officials in Tibet planned to ban gold mining to protect the environment.

According to an article by the Associated Press, many parts of China are polluted and water supplies are contaminated because of illegal mining. In parts of Tibet, water is used as a source for China.

What will the push for gold and other precious materials eventually cost us?
Deforestation in Peru. Photo by Mongabay.com

To learn 5 ways you can help stop deforestation, read the article by Mother Nature Network.

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Earth Hour Allows Clear View of Night Sky

On March 26th 2011, at exactly 8:30p.m., hundreds of people in cities around the world switched off their lights in honor of “Earth Hour,” allowing spectators to see the night sky clearly. In 2007, the World Wildlife Fund began this campaign as an international statement towards climate change.

According to WWF, participants send a powerful and visual message demanding action. Since its inception, Earth Hour has become a global movement including 4,000 cities in 87 countries.

In addition, according to National Geographic, this year’s record breaking Earth Hour had more participants than ever. However, despite efforts, light pollution continues to remain as a major form of pollution. Light pollution, or photopollution, is excessive artificial light.

From National Geographic. Hong Kong during Earth Hour, March 26th 2011, 8:30p.m.



View more photos of Earth Hour from National Geographic.

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World’s Coral Reefs in Need of Protection

A story on NPR reports on a survey that found coral reefs around the world are suffering in great part due to human interference.  Local threats to corals include overfishing and pollution.  Meanwhile global threats such as greenhouse gases are causing heat stress to corals.

The World of Resources Institute has found that overfishing and the destructive fishing practices are threatening reefs.  Lauretta Burke a senior author of the new report Reefs at Risk Revisited says that currently 75 percent of reefs are threatened by a combination of local and global threats.

By 2030 that percentage will rise to 90 twenty years after that virtually all reefs will be threatened Burke said.  Burke found that poisons to stun and capture fish as well as the use of explosives to kill fish are destructive manners of fishing that hurt reefs.

Among many findings the Reefs at Risk Revisited report released that more than 275 million people worldwide live in direct vicinity of coral reefs.  At least 94 countries benefit from tourism related to reefs.  Certain reefs harbor potential for disease prevention, treatments for cancer, HIV and malaria.

There are potential solutions such as creations of marine protected areas.  Marine protection must occur at all levels, at small ones, local ones in the developing world said Nancy Knowlton of the Smithsonian Institution’s Marine Biology Research Institution.

Knowlton says corals are the most endangered animal on the planet.  She says that due to greenhouse gases pouring into the atmosphere one-third of all coral species are at risk of extinction.

Jane Lubchenco of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says it will take a Herculean effort to reverse the current trajectory and leave healthy ocean ecosystems to our children and our grandchildren.

I found another article from the BBC website on coral reef risk and WRI report.

 

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eWaste Recycling

by Karoline Steavenson

eWaste is comprised of old, unwanted, non-functioning televisions, radios, CD players, amplifiers, computers, game consoles, car rechargers, cellphones, cellphone rechargers, USB cables, floppy disc readers, cameras, and many other electronics that are a part of nearly every life now.

Old electronics can be recycled easily.(Photo from http://commons.wikimedia.org)

Often these old TVs, cables and other eWaste items wind up in the dumpster.  That’s not where they belong. The batteries and other electronics in these items harm the environment even if they don’t work.

Broken or unwanted electronics can be dropped off at an eWaste collection center or picked up by a private eWaste business.

The City of Los Angeles has several permanent collection centers.

EWC Recyclers and All Green Electronics Recycling are two local businesses that pick up some large items from residential clients for no charge, or consumers can drop off their eWaste at one of their local offices. They also pick up larger loads from businesses for a fee.

Consumers can also give their broken electronics to Goodwill Industries Thrift Stores. They have an eWaste recycling program too.

The components and metals in electronics can be harvested and reused. (Photo from http://www.ocgoodwill-ewaste.org/ )

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¿Como Respira Los Ángeles?

Los ángeles através de una cobija de polución

     Para gente que vive o a visitado los ángeles, si tu cuerpo no te lo consigue decir, tal vez te lo dicen los avisos que se encuentran por todos lados: estas en smog city, una de las ciudades mas contaminadas del país! De acuerdo con la revista Business week, Los Ángeles es la cuarta cuidad más contaminada de los Estados Unidos, con la primera siendo Baltimore. Por cada 48 personas en Los Ángeles hay un sitio contaminado. En el este de Los Ángeles, donde se cruzan las carreteras 5 y 710, encontraras la cuidad de comercio o Commerce, la zona más contaminada de Los Ángeles. En Commerce se ubican 4 patios ferrocarrileros, factorías, y centros de distribución, la causa por la cual llegan y van tantos camiones. Es el corazón del comercio. Aunque hoy es probable que los números hayan cambiado, el último censo de 2000 indico que la población de Commerce es 93% latino.

      Al enterarme de esto, me acorde de Raúl Villa, escritor de ‘Aquí estamos y no nos vamos: place struggles in latino los angeles,’ cuando expreso la reacción del pueblo mexicano en Los Ángeles a los dilemas urbanos. Villa escribió “Para Mexicanos en particular, su situación social contradictoria, siendo a la vez en el centro geográfico y de los márgenes económicos de la ciudad, ha hecho que constantemente tengan que reaccionar a los efectos dispares de reestructuración metropolitana en defensa de sus necesidades urbanas.” El pueblo ha reaccionado. Compuesto de 350 miembros, la organización East yard communities for enviromental justice nació en 2001 en commerce. Dirigido por Angelo Logan, este grupo lucha por la justicia ambiental con movilización de residentes, educación, y diálogo y exigencias hacia los reguladores de la contaminación y las empresas que causan la contaminación.

Avisos que se encuentran en Los ángeles

     En el nombre del comercio la salud de la gente de commerce sufre. Las familias de commerce tienen un riesgo desproporcionadamente más alto de adquirir cáncer que el resto de los residentes del condado de los ángeles. Como consumidora yo, al igual que las empresas que se encuentran en commerce, soy culpable. Siendo estudiante luchando cada día para el dinero que no rinde, compro en las tiendas menos costosas la mercancía que sale de los camiones que salen de commerce que emitan contaminación que entran en los pulmones de los niños que juegan afuera en commerce. Es un ciclo auto-alimentativo. Aunque muchos de nosotros tenemos ganas de ayudar a problemas como esta nos ponemos a pensar “¿Yo soy solo una persona, que puedo hacer para solucionar un problema tan grande?” Lo que podemos empezar hacer hoy es tomar responsabilidad social y ser consumidores consientes. Debemos ponernos a pensar de donde vienen y cuales son los costos sociales de los productos que compramos y no dejarnos llevar por el ahorro de unos cuantos dólaritos porque al rato lo pagaremos con nuestra salud. Empezemos con dejar de comprar productos con muchos envases de plástico y dejar de comer en restaurantes de comida rapida que usan mucho lo desechable. Hay que comprar mas en nuestros farmers markets locales, comer en casa, y evitar las tiendas cadenas y corporativas. Cuanto menos apoyemos la industria, más limpio será nuestro aire.

Para residentes de Los Ángeles, encuentren aqui su farmer’s market mas cercano.
www.farmernet.com/events/cfms

Informense en los avances de EYCEJ.
www.eycej.org

Mantenganse informados sobre lo que esta o no esta haciendo el govierno para ayudar el ambiente.
www.arb.ca.gov/homepage.htm

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