Tag archive


Small Business to Sell ‘Superplants’ to Remove 30x More Indoor Pollutants Than Normal Houseplants

in Enviroment 409 views

A company in France has developed genetically-enhanced houseplants that remove 30 times more indoor air pollutants than your normal ficus.

Paint, treated wood, household cleaners, insulation, unseen mold—there is a shopping list of things that can fill the air you breathe in your home with VOCs or volatile organic compounds. These include formaldehyde and other airborne substances that can cause inflammation and irritation in the body.

The best way to tackle this little-discussed private health problem is by keeping good outdoor airflow into your living spaces, but in the dog days of summer or the depths of a Maine winter, that might not be possible.

Houseplants can remove these pollutants from the air, and so the company Neoplants decided to make simple alterations to these species’ genetic makeup to supercharge this cleaning ability.

In particular, houseplants’ natural ability to absorb pollutants like formaldehyde relies on them storing them as toxins to be excreted later.

French scientists and Neoplants’ co-founders Lionel Mora and Patrick Torbey engineered a houseplant to convert them instead to plant matter. They also took aim at the natural microbiome of houseplants to enhance their ability to absorb and process VOCs as well.

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

Researchers Invent Way to Turn Harmful Mine Waste into Healthy Soil

in Enviroment 203 views

An Australian-Canadian science and engineering team has discovered a way of turning mine waste into arable soil that is already being used to grow maize and sorghum.

‘Tailings’ is the official industry term for mineral waste leftover after separating away all the useful metals from mined material. Typically toxic from heavy metals and unusable for anything else because of this, tailings are kept in storage facilities to prevent them from polluting groundwater or farmland.

Hoping to save billions of dollars in such storage fees and remove the threat of disasters that occur when such facilities break down or are abandoned, a team from the universities of Queensland and Saskatchewan sought to see whether it was possible to convert this lifeless rock into healthy soil by returning microbial life to it.

“Tailings have no biologically friendly properties for growing plants. Roots and water cannot penetrate them, and soluble salts and metals in tailings can kill plants and soil microbes,” said Longbin Huang a professor at the Univ. of Queensland. “If you wait for nature to slowly weather the tailings and turn them into soil, it could take a couple thousand years.”

Using the Canadian Light Source (CLS), Huang and his team found a way to accelerate this process of repopulating the tailings with soil microbes.

The CLS is a giant synchrotron, a type of circular particle accelerator. It works by accelerating charged particles (electrons) through sequences of magnets until they reach almost the speed of light.

Using the CLS’s synchrotron light the scientists could visualize the detailed mechanism of how they were able to develop the organic-mineral interfaces and revitalize the tailings.

“We needed to use the SM beamline to unravel at the nanometer scale the immediate interfaces and how the minerals change, and how they interact with organics,” said Huang. “The facility access and the expert inputs of the beamline staff were critical to enable us to collect quality data and therefore to have reliable scientific evidence.”

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

Analysis Shows We’ve Been Overestimating the Amount of Plastic in Oceans by 30x

in Enviroment 239 views

Scientists in the Netherlands have shown quite convincingly that the issue of plastic pollution in our oceans is far smaller than anyone believed.

Their research highlights a variety of good news tidbits: the first one being that abstract scientific modeling can be more than just wrong, but completely wrong, and the second is that organizations pulling trash out of the oceans and rivers today aren’t simply mowing a golf course with nail clippers: they’re making a significant difference to these ecosystems.

According to the Netherlands Times reporting on the study, estimates for how much plastic has made it into the oceans over the last 20 years range from 50 million tons to 300 million tons, but the actual amount is likely somewhere around 3.2 million tons.

20,000 measurements described as “reliable” informed the calculations of oceanologist Mikeal Kaandorp and his team, with highlights being that rivers bring much less plastic into the oceans than previously thought, and that microplastics are a significantly smaller percentage of plastic waste.

The NL Times says that large models on the amount of plastic entering the oceans are based on how much plastic has been made, how much has been recycled, how much has been buried or incinerated, and how much is missing.

Based on these figures, environmental organizations reckon that 10 million tons end up in the oceans every year, most of which come via river systems. However, Kaandorp stresses that the unaccounted-for plastic has never been accounted for, and it’s wrong to simply assume that every piece ends up in the ocean.

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

NNY may be in for a smoky summer

in Uncategorized 225 views

This week is just the beginning of what could be a long, smoke-filled summer in North America — and the start of a new seasonal pattern made possible by climate change.

The flames that have scorched Canada for weeks, driving thousands from their homes in regions along both coasts, have pumped plumes of caustic smoke south across some of the most densely populated areas of the U.S. Many of the 436 wildfires raging right now, according to the latest numbers from Canada’s Wildland Fire Information Systems, ignited either before or in the very earliest days of what’s normally a busy season for Canadian fires.

June is often the worst month, said Brendan Rogers, a scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Massachusetts who studies boreal forest fires. Canada is seeing snow that melts out faster in the spring, he said, allowing for an earlier start to the burning season.

But an early start doesn’t mean a swifter end. Natural Resources Canada’s outlook that calls for “well above average” risk of outbreaks from British Columbia to the Ontario-Quebec border throughout this month, and an above-average risk in most of the Northwest Territories, the remainder of Quebec, a large part of Labrador and the Maritime Provinces. Most of the country remains at above-average risk through August. If the forecast bears out, Canada won’t begin to see much relief until September and even then large parts of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will have a well above-average risk.

“Why is this happening? May was a record warm month across Canada,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at the University of California at Los Angeles. “There are links between record warmth and climate change.”

Continue Reading on NNY360

Ocean Cleanup Nonprofit Gets $25Mil From Airbnb Co-Founder to Launch Massive Plastic Pollution Cleanup

in Enviroment 178 views

The co-founder of Airbnb.org has just donated $25 million to support the Dutch nonprofit The Ocean Cleanup as they prepare to assemble and deploy the largest plastic capture system ever developed for use in the ocean.

The Ocean Cleanup’s pilot-scale ocean cleaning system, System 002, has been deployed in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (GPGP) located between Hawai’i and California since late 2021. It has so far removed close to 200,000 kilograms, or roughly 440,000 pounds, of plastic that otherwise would have remained trapped for decades or more.

This pilot system is now in the process of being scaled up to the largest, most cost-effective ocean cleaning system ever developed, and will feature a capture area 2.5 kilometers (1.5 miles) across, and a three-vessel team that will allow it to operate 24-7.

“I’m proud to partner with The Ocean Cleanup in their crucial work to remove harmful plastics from our oceans,” said Joe Gebbia, co-founder of Airbnb and Samara. “The Ocean Cleanup has created systems and technology that actually work at scale. In order for them to deploy across our oceans and rivers, they now need to scale their funding. It is my hope that this donation can inspire others to act.”

As the only group currently cleaning the trillions of plastic pieces in the GPGP, The Ocean Cleanup has streamlined their cleaning systems to be as cost-effective as possible, allowing their entirely not-for-profit income generation and any potential donations to go far.

Dutch wiz kid and Ocean Cleanup founder Boyan Slat has been developing the capture system for a decade, and has gradually enlarged and improved it based on fieldwork harvesting plastic from the GPGP. System 03, cleans ten times faster than the previous system and could clean all the plastic patches of the world’s oceans with about 10-50 systems.

“Joe’s continued support of The Ocean Cleanup’s mission has a direct impact on our operations all over the world,” said Slat. “Thanks, in part, to his generous assistance, we are able to scale up our work in oceans and rivers, helping us reach our goal of ridding the world’s oceans of plastic. On behalf of the world’s largest ecosystem, we are immensely grateful for the support.”

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

Growth in Carbon Capture Projects This Year is Dramatic, Showing Global Determination to Cut Emissions

in Enviroment/Technology 154 views

The number of carbon capture and storage projects in the pipeline is exploding, thanks to worldwide efforts to cut emissions.

A new report from the Global CCS Institute, which studies carbon capture and storage-(CCS), shows an impressive growth of 44 percent over the past 12 months.

The CEO of the climate change think tank, Jarad Daniels, believes the outlook for climate action “has never been more positive”.

The record-high total comes from 196 commercial CCS facilities in the project pipeline, including 30 in operation, 11 under construction, and 153 in development.

With 61 new facilities added to the project pipeline in 2022 alone, the CO2 capture capacity of all facilities under development has grown to 244 million tons per annum (Mtpa)—an increase from 169 last year.

Carbon capture and storage is used to filter emissions from power generators, steel mills, cement plants, and other industrial sites, and then bury the sequestered carbon underground.

Daniels believes that CCS is essential for reaching national climate goals—and is noticing that as CCS continues to scale-up, prices are going down while efficiency is going up.

“CCS is increasingly commercially competitive,” said Daniels in a statement. “We anticipate even more strategic partnerships and collaboration driving deployment, particularly through CCS networks.”

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

Fishermen Getting Paid to collect plastic trash at Sea, As Indonesia Slashes Pollution

in Enviroment 149 views

In Indonesia, small-time fishermen are being paid as part-time ocean cleanup crews, as the archipelago seeks to tidy their seas and raise awareness among stakeholders at the same time.

The Ministry of Fisheries announced on October 4th they had stashed around $70,000, or 1 billion rupiah, with which to pay fisherman for any plastic trash they recovered from the oceans.

Many countries around the world are setting environment or climate goals for themselves. One of the largest contributors of ocean going plastic waste, Indonesia is looking to shake off that reputation by spending $1 billion over the next 3 years to reduce plastic entering the oceans from their shores by 70%.

If an Indonesian fisherman working off the main islands can collect 4 kilograms of trash per day, the government will pay out around $10 for it, which is slightly more than they would get if they spent their day catching fish to sell at market prices.

“This activity is very simple,” Sakti Wahyu Trenggono, the fisheries minister, said at a press conference in Jakarta. “But at least this will raise awareness among the stakeholders at sea and the people around the world.”

Continue Reading on GOODNEWSNETWORK

Go to Top