Red Tides – Are We Fertilizing Our Oceans To Death?

Source: In November 2017 more than 300 turtles were found floating dead on the Pacific near the coast of El Salvador . Such occurrences had been observed in previous years with smaller numbers of 120 between 200 dead animals. Whereas in past cases the cause for this remained unresolved or related to savage fishermen disposing unwanted haul back into the ocean, a monthlong catching moratorium that was active during the time the turtle die-off was discovered turned the attention to the bloom of toxic harmful algae. Algae blooms are a natural component of marine ecosystems. The majority is non-hazardous to living organisms and serves as food source for sea animals. However, certain combinations of nutrients in the water, temperature and oceanic currents can favour the growth of harmful algae blooms (HAB), also considered as red tides, given the colour of the algae turning the water red (Hallegraeff, 1993). Even though HABs hav

Dhaka Turning into Dystopia with Degrading Air Quality

Dhaka’s degrading air quality (Source: The Daily Star, 2017). Air pollution is one of the most clichéd phenomena in the unban centers all around the world and Dhaka; the capital of Bangladesh would certainly hold a prime position in this setting. With myriads of economical, political and especially, infrastructural and environmental issues, it is not an exaggeration to say that in the 100 th year of independence in 2071 there might be a documentary broadcasted on international media namely ‘Dhaka: The City That Once Was’ . The megacity comprises of Dhaka City Corporation (DCC) and five adjacent municipal areas covering a total area of 1,353 km 2 . According to Gurjar (2010), five megacities in the world have excessive number of deaths which is caused by air pollution with Dhaka holding the top position just ahead of Cairo and Beijing. These megacities were distinguished with regards to acute health hazards caused by air pollution in comparison to other megaci

Hold Your Breath

Over the past decade, New Delhi has rapidly become one of the most polluted cities in the world with the Indian Medical Association declaring a public health emergency. To put the severity of the problem into simple numbers; air quality levels fourth months ago were equivalent to approximately  smoking 50 cigarettes daily . Transportation was severely affected while schools across the city were shut for three days. Fine pollutants - PM 2.5 (particulate matter) levels, reached an alarming level of  710 micrograms per cubic metre,  more than 11 times the WHO safe limit . Dangerous carcinogenic chemicals such as lead, arsenic and mercury are categorised as PM 2.5. Lung cancer and asthmatic attacks are serious long-term health consequences of being exposed to such high pollution levels. Air quality modelling studies further highlighted that exposure to such pollution levels can reduce life expectancy by six years in the city (Ghude et al., 2016). Delhi air pollution compar

No Ifs, No Butts

The littering of non-biodegradable items severely impacts the iconographic landscapes of British communities, exposes the environment to toxins which harms wildlife and pollutes water supplies, and imposes a £682m clean-up cost to the taxpayer. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs estimated that cigarette butts were the most frequently littered item with 1202 tonnes littered annually, prevalent in 73 per cent of streets and are the most collected item during beach clean-ups. Indeed, “ more needs to be done to tackle smoking-related litter” (Priestley, 2017). Non-biodegradable cigarette butts take a long time to disappear (7.5-14 years) and contain carcinogenic chemicals and heavy metals – the properties which make smoking a harmful activity to engage in – and thus represents a significant environmental threat . Cigarette filters prevent these toxic chemicals from being inhaled by the smoker meaning that smokers will be at a far greater health risk if they were

Can electrical vehicles clean up Europe's transportation sector?

About a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gases (GHGs) come out of exhaust pipes in the transportation sector ( European Commission,  2017). If the European Union (EU) is to fulfil their Paris climate pledge, and cut 40% of domestic emissions from the 1990 baseline by 2030, systemic changes will have to take place within the transportation sector in near future. So far, emission levels in the agriculture and industry sectors are gradually declining, however, the transportation sector proves to be far more stubborn ( European Commission , 2017). Thus, in 2016, the European Commission (EC) introduced a low-emission mobility strategy. The overarching aims therein are ensuring the EU makes a transition towards a low-carbon economy, for the sake of remaining competitive and delivering a transportation sector that is able to meet future demands ( European Commission , 2017). These objectives can be achieved with the deployment of incentives, subsidies, and setting national targets.