Life in many of today's big cities unfortunately brings with it exposure to dense particle pollution. As a result, urban residents from Beijing, China to Santiago, Chile face serious health risks, such as heart and lung disease and premature death. A new US-based startup has developed a pocket-sized pollution monitor it hopes will serve as a warning system, by constantly assessing the environment while the user is on the go and alerting them when air quality drops to unacceptable levels.
In recent years, satellite photos of Greenland's ice sheet have shown what appears to be a darkening of the ice's surface. A number of scientists have suggested that this could be due to settled soot particles from fossil fuel production and/or forest fires, and that their presence could result in accelerated melting of the ice. Now, however, researchers from Dartmouth College believe that the ice may still still be relatively clean, and that its darkness in the photos could just be due to faulty sensors on the satellites.
According to the World Health Organization, nitrogen dioxide (NO2)-based air pollution contributes to over 7 million deaths per year – children and the elderly are particularly at risk. Thanks to research being carried out at Australia's RMIT University, however, it may soon be possible to receive early warnings of dangerous NO2 levels in the air around you … via a sensor in your smartphone.
Since the beginning of the industrial age, mercury pollution has
increased steadily in our environment, particularly in rivers and
oceans. As a result, high-level predators in our waterways often contain
very high levels of mercury, and eating fish containing this neurotoxin
can lead to serious health issues. Now Australian scientists working at
Flinders University have discovered a simple and efficient way to remove
mercury from the environment by using a material made from recycled
waste citrus peel.
A recent study carried out by MIT has characterized the cleansing effect that raindrops have on our atmosphere in removing aerosol and other pollutants from the air. The results of the research could be instrumental in creating reliable forecasts for air quality, and creating more accurate models of climate change impact due to clouds.
In May, the Ocean Cleanup project announced that its first deployment would be delivered in the Korea Strait next year. That will pave the way for its ultimate goal of cleaning up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. With that in mind, a research expedition at the Garbage Patch has just been completed.
While many of us may enjoy grilling food over an open fire, the fact is that cooking fires are a major source of health problems for millions of people in developing nations, who use them on a daily basis. The main problem is the smoke, which causes respiratory problems – not to mention air pollution. In an effort to address the problem, research group RTI International has developed a cook stove that burns cleaner … and that powers gadgets.
Smog affects many major cities around the world and can cause health problems for those breathing it in. To highlight this issue, Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is building what he calls the world's largest air purifier. The Smog Free Tower is designed to allow people to breathe clean air in a city ... plus it also turns the smog into jewelry.
Google has teamed up with Aclima to incorporate environmental sensors into its Street View cars. Initially tested on three vehicles in the Denver metro area, the partnership should lead to a better understanding of overall air quality in urban environments.
Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.