The disheartening condition of our wonderful coral reefs is one of the most painful examples of the shocking and perhaps irreversible environmental processes currently under way around us. According to an Australian study, the destruction of coral is caused by polluted river water, which inhibits their capacity to regenerate.
The recently published study has analysed data from 1995 to 2017 of 46 sites, and came to the conclusion that the sections where the coral reefs were exposed to polluted river water recovered much slower after bleaching, and were much more susceptible to other diseases, as well.
“Climate change and other environmental factors have already damaged a significant portion of the Great Barrier Reef. Its survival may depend on the extent to which it is able to resist those harmful impacts, and the degree to which it is able to recover after the destruction of the coral,” the researchers explained.
A 2018 report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has stated that one of the greatest risk factors is the water contaminated with effluent and artificial fertilizers that reaches the Great Barrier Reef from agricultural areas, therefore the WWF urged the introduction of laws that provide greater protection for that fragile wonder of the natural world.
The set of problems around pharmaceutical residues is extremely complex: the active compounds that are released can reach not only drinking water but also our food. Luckily, scientists have started investigating the problem, and the development of technologies able to offer a solution is also under way.
The active ingredients of various medicines are released into the environment with treated and untreated wastewater, and today they can be detected not only in surface waters but also in underground waters and the soil. But what defensive measures can we take against them? Hundreds of research groups are studying that question worldwide.
Data from the UK Cetacean Strandings Investigation Programme indicates that between 2011 and 2017, almost five thousand marine mammals were stranded around the shores of the UK.
Nine of the ten most common types of seaside waste are related to human food and drink consumption.
More and more pharmaceutical drugs are sold each year, which, along with their benefits, have their disadvantages, too: some of the active ingredients are discharged from our bodies unchanged and they end up polluting our natural waters. Our current knowledge suggests that this does not carry a significant health risk, but as we do not know the long-term effects of the process, it is a problem for which we must find a solution in the near future, for instance by introducing new technologies.
Specialists believe almost 30 kilograms of microplastics has eroded from such a quantity of golf balls into the water.
Three design students in Taiwan teamed up to create the Polluted Water Popsicles project so as to call attention to the increasing level of water pollution caused by the country’s economic growth and urbanisation.
Modern medical science offers effective solutions to an increasing number of health problems, and in most cases they take the form of medications. Pills make our pain go away, they improve our quality of life and aid our recovery. But, unfortunately, the effects of their active ingredients do not stop there.
During the 1st Lake Tisza Plastic Cup, 32-year-old Bence Párdy got so outraged by the massive amount of waste covering the lake that after the Cup he left his job and moved to the side of the lake, where he has been collecting waste as a volunteer for over two months.
According to a report from the UN World Health Organisation, we urgently need to know more about microplastics, although according to our very limited current knowledge, they represent only a minimal health risk. Polluted drinking water is a much greater problem, as its consumption causes millions of fatalities each year.