Guest Blog by Luke Wilson, Jasmine Woods, and Jaqueline Stogner
The recent drought and influx of people in SC has caused the state-owned utility company, Santee Cooper, to propose the construction of two 660-megawatt coal-fired power plants in Florence County in order to keep up with SC’s growing electricity demand. Coal burning plants emit carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas and contributor to global warming, nitrogen oxide, a component in smog, sulfur dioxides, a contributor to acid rain, and mercury, a highly toxic metal when converted to methyl mercury. These proposed plants would annually produce over 8 million tons of CO2 and discharge 300 pounds of mercury into the Great Pee Dee River as a byproduct of burning coal. The S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control has already issued a high mercury level advisory for the consumption of many fatty fish caught in the Great Pee Dee, and adding another coal plant would only exacerbate the problem.Filed under energy, environment, geology, water pollution | Tags: climate change, coal, contamination, drought, energy, environment, environmental management, geology, health, pollution, resources, sustainability, water pollution | Comment (1)
An interesting article in Nature says that we’re running out of phosphate across the world. Phosphate is a very critical nutrient that’s required for plant growth and is usually mined in some parts of the world. Apparently, there’s less than 50 years worth of high quality phosphate available that could be mined. Running out could lead to a massive disaster as food production would have to increase with the increasing population. Some are considering recovering phosphates from animal waste – but that’s still a long a way to go.Filed under agriculture, chemicals, crops, environment, geology, sustainability | Tags: environment, environmental management, geology, phosphate, recycling, resources, sustainability, waste | Comment (0)
It’s very hard to assess how fast groundwater is being removed for agricultural use and how much is being recharged. This is even more difficult when no centralized records are maintained regarding groundwater usage. No such assessments are available for northwestern India, which is often referred to as the “bread basket” of India as they produce nearly all wheat consumed in India. Over the past several years, the unsustainable growth and agricultural practices combined with climate change have severely depleted the groundwater in the region. Until now no one had any idea how serious the problem was. The latest issue of Nature published a study where some researchers used satellite data to estimate the groundwater depletion rates. They say
During our study period of August 2002 to October 2008, groundwater depletion was equivalent to a net loss of 109 km3 of water, which is double the capacity of India’s largest surface-water reservoir.
Imagine, how this could affect over 114 million people that live in those areas and entire South Asia in general.Filed under agriculture, environment, global warming, sustainability | Tags: agriculture, biodiversity, climate change, drought, environment, environmental management, groundwater, resources, sustainability, water resources | Comment (1)