Interesting story in Time today about the Dead Sea. Apparently, it is losing 3 vertical feet of water each year, exposing 65 ft of seabed along the shore! The usual culprit? Less than 2% of freshwater from the Jordan River makes it into the Dead Sea compared to the amount just a few decades ago.Filed under Uncategorized | Tags: agriculture, biodiversity, chemicals, climate change, environmental management, geology, groundwater, oceans, sustainability, water, water resources | Comment (0)
Guest Blog by Liz Kline and Ross Holland
Since 2005 Bee Keepers around the United States have noticed a significant decline in their honey bee hive colony population. It’s a development that has raised great concerns because bees pollinate an estimated 1/3 of the crops that are our source of food. An estimated 40-60 percent of honey bees and hives in the United States died or were severely weakened in 2005, and a majority of the decline is occurring in California. In 2005 California lost 50 percent of their honey bees leading to spotty pollination for fruits, nuts, and other agricultural goods. This phenomenon has caused over $150 million in losses for U.S. beekeepers. Little is actually known about the reasons for the drop in adult honey bees, but there are many theories for the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder including the varroa mite (a parasite that attaches to the back of the bee), an insecticide called imidacloprid, high fructose corn syrup, and wireless cellphone waves. This dramatic decline may have huge affects on the world with 1/3 of the human diet being derived from insect-pollinated plants, and 80 percent of all insect pollination being accomplished by honey bees. Certain steps we can take to slow down or reverse this disorder is to plant plants for your gardens that flower at various times, plant native species, reduce or eliminate pesticides by using green alternatives, and the more drastic approach; find and breed honey bees resistant to disease.Filed under agriculture, chemicals, crops, environment, geology, health, sustainability | Tags: agriculture, biodiversity, chemicals, contamination, environment, environmental management, pollution, sustainability | Comment (1)
Guest blog by Brian Smart and Katharine Callaway
The 330,000 plus residents of Charleston County use approximately 114 million gallons of water per day (Mgal/d) only about 12 percent of which is from ground water sources. The other 101 million gallons come from surface water sources, mainly the Edisto River and Bushy Park Reservoir. This raw water is subject to runoff from rainwater, agriculture, industry and air pollution, which deposit chemicals, bacteria and organic contaminants in the streams and rivers feeding the lakes and reservoirs. Intensive treatment is necessary before the surface water is suitable for human consumption. The water treatment plant in Hanahan has the responsibility of making our water safe to use. After being screened to remove large objects such as tree branches, dead animals and garbage, a combination of chlorine and ammonia is added to the water to kill bacteria and viruses, and lime is added to adjust the pH levels. Next, aluminum sulfate is mixed into the water, acting as a coagulating element to bond with the previously added chemicals, now dead bacteria, viruses and other microscopic material and cause them to drop out of the water stream as sediments. These sediments are disposed of by spraying them on a forested area near the water treatment facility. Finally, the water is passed though a series of fine mineral filters and then treated with more chlorine, ammonia and lime, as well as fluoride to keep your teeth healthy and orthophosphate to prevent heavy metals from leaching out of your plumbing. If anything can live through this process, it must be a very tough organism indeed.
Here’s some “surprising” news. Your tap water could be unsafe to drink if you live close to a powerful industry that pollutes… and US EPA may not intervene on your behalf! Here are some interesting articles that appeared in NY Times about toxic drinking water. Link. Be sure to watch the videos on those pages – very disturbing. Also, there was an interesting documentary on PBS’ Frontline called “Poisoned Waters,” which is very interesting. You can watch that show on their website.
Interestingly, SC DHEC was quoted as saying that protecting business interests was very important for their mission! As an example, here’s a link to articles about the nexus between business interests and DHEC at the expense of public health. Link.Filed under chemicals, environment, geology, sustainability, water pollution | Tags: chemicals, coal, contamination, environment, environmental management, groundwater, India, pollution, sustainability, water pollution, water resources | Comment (0)
Triclosan, the active ingredient in most anti-bacterial soaps, is being detected in human breast milk and urine. It is not clear how serious this problem is, but it could be problematic. Over 75% of all liquid soaps used in the US contain this potentially harmful chemical. Link.Filed under chemicals, environment, health, marine life, water pollution | Tags: chemicals, contamination, environment, health, marine life, pollution | Comments (6)