ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES via Aishwarya Sandeep

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES - featured image

Environment is a comprehensive term. It includes a wide variety of phenomenon. Environment includes the external conditions, resources etc to facilitate the interaction of various organisms. Law is all pervasive. Environmental law is  a body of law which consists of statutes, common laws, conventions, regulations and policies which seeks to protect the natural environment. We humans are cruel and selfish in nature. To satisfy our needs we exploit the natural resources and these activities tends to be harmful for environment. Some environmental laws are imposed to regulate the quantity and nature of impacts of human activities. Other environmental laws are preventive in nature in order to control the human activities. Environmental crime refers to violation of laws intended to protect the environment and maintain public health. Industrialization possessed a serious concern for the protection of environment.

IMPORTANT LEGISLATIONS:

  • The National Tribunal Act, 2010: It has been enacted with the objectives to provide for establishment of a National Green Tribunal (NGT) for effective  and speedy disposal of cases. The sole objective is to enforce legal rights to environment and give relief along with protection and conservation of forests and natural resources. The Act intends to establish a tribunal in order to deal with the environmental laws related to air, water, forests etc.
  • The Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981: This Act mainly focuses on how to control and prevent air pollution. It imposes strict rules to combat air pollution. Under this Act, a separate body is formed i.e. SPCBs to inspect pollution control equipment and manufacturing processes. The Air Act empowers the State Government to declare the areas as air pollution control areas after consultation with the SPCBs.
  • The Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974: This Act has been enacted to provide for the prevention and control of water pollution. Under this Act separate Boards are established in order to carry out the aforesaid purposes. The main objective is to maintain standards through discharge of pollutants from various water bodiesNon- compliance with the rules may impose penalties on private individuals or industries.
  • The Environmental Protection Act, 1986: This Act provides for the protection and improvement of environment. Proper framework is prepared to handle threatening situations and protect the ecological sensitive areas. Certain measures are taken  such as regulation of location of industries, disposal of hazardous wastes and protection of public health and safety etc. The sole objective is to set standards for emissions and discharge of pollution in the atmosphere and improve the quality of environment. Non-compliance of the Environment Act may impose penalty and punishment to the violators. The Violator will be punishable with imprisonment up to 5 years or with fine up to Rs. 1,00,000 or with both. If the offence is continued, then an additional fine of up to Rs. 5,00,000 for every day will be levied.
  • Hazardous Wastes Management Regulations: Hazardous wastes includes any physical, chemical, toxic and explosives characteristics in nature which can cause damage to environment. E-Waste Management is a part of this, with the objective to reduce the use of hazardous substances in electrical and electronic equipment. The hazardous wastes generated need to be channelized through proper sewage system for environmentally sound recycling.
  • Biodiversity Act, 2000: India is rich in biological diversity. One of the major challenges is in adopting an instrument which helps to realize the objectives of equitable development. The sole objective of this legislation is to regulate the access to biological resources so as to ensure equitable sharing. Prior approval is required before obtaining any biological resource from concerned authorities.

IMPORTANCE:

Environmental law and legislation are imposed in protecting humans as well as the different plants and animals in the ecosystem. Environmental law ensures that individuals, governments do not cause harm to the environment or its ecosystems and live with harmony. Waste Management is one of the biggest problems that is faced by different nations. Environmental laws ensures that the waste management process doesn’t impact the environment or human health. The main concern of such laws is to make sure the industries meet all legal obligations with respect to the environment. Officers and rank officials are appointed to enforce such laws without interference from outside. The environment officers and enforcers need to be protected by law so that they can be able to do the job in an efficient manner.

CONCLUSION:

Environmental Regulation is necessary to prevent the upcoming threats to environment and ensure protection through measures. But, citizens in environmental management are not sufficiently institutionalized in most of the local areas. This can be due to lack of awareness or the local bodies are reluctant to perform their duties. Also, the economic, human and technological resources to meet the requirements of efficient local environmental management are limited. We see numerous legislations are framed and passed by the Parliament. Regulatory measures are considered by some people. Although, individuals and community groups undertaking local projects for environmental remediation. The strategies of partnerships , selp-help and community empowerment have been used to encourage participation. Through, this community groups environmental problems are raised and redressed to the best possible manner with combined efforts of public and Government.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

Do follow me on FacebookTwitter  Youtube and Instagram.

The copyright of this Article belongs exclusively to Ms. Aishwarya Sandeep. Reproduction of the same, without permission will amount to Copyright Infringement. Appropriate Legal Action under the Indian Laws will be taken.

If you would also like to contribute to my website, then do share your articles or poems at adv.aishwaryasandeep@gmail.com

We also have a Facebook Group Restarter Moms for Mothers or Women who would like to rejoin their careers post a career break or women who are enterpreneurs.

We are also running a series Inspirational Women from January 2021 to March 31,2021, featuring around 1000 stories about Indian Women, who changed the world. #choosetochallenge

Environment is a very comprehensive term. It includes a wide variety of phenomenon.Environment includes the external conditions, resources etc to facilitate the interaction of various organisms. Law is all pervasive. Environmental law is  a body of law which consists of statutes, common laws, conventions, regulations and policies which seeks to protect the natural environment. […]

ENVIRONMENTAL LAWS AND POLICIES — Aishwarya Sandeep

LIGHTNING AND THUNDERSTORM via Art in Tanzania Blog

Lightning is the brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere occurring within a thunderstorm, between the clouds. The flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity and a flashing of light is the result of discharge of atmosphere electricity within a thunderstorm cloud way up into the sky. Many small bits of ice frozen raindrop bump into each other as they move around in the air. All of these collisions create an electric charge and usually occurs to the areas that are mostly concentrated with metals.

Lightning can occur during anytime of the year but lightning casualties are highest during summer. July is generally the month with the most lightning and the strikes mostly occur in the afternoon. In fact, two thirds of all lightning casualties occur between noon and 6pm.

Examples of places or countries that are affected with lightning are the all regions of USA, Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Missouri and North Carolina. Florida is considered as the lightning capital of the country with more than 2000 lightning injuries over the past 50 years.

According to the U.S department of health and human services, they have reported some categories which are:

  • Males are, five times more, likely than females to be struck by lightning. Around 85% of lightning fatalities are men
  • People aged 15-34 years account for almost half of all lightning strike victims (41%). The majority (89%) of lightning deaths occurs among Caucasians.
  • About one third (32%) of lightning injuries occur indoors.

Lightning is the results of thunderstorm from a charge in the normal electrical field between the surface and the atmosphere, in fair weather the surface is negatively charged, and atmosphere is positively charged. Owning to intense friction of air within the Cumulonimbus cloud, higher charges are built up with positive charges in upper portion and negative charge in lower portion. When the potential difference becomes more pronounced, discharges [lighting] occur from the cloud to the ground, from cloud to cloud or within the same cloud.

The occurrence of lighting involves different process as explained bellow;

  • The sky is filled with electric charge. In calm skies they are positive + and negative[-]charged
  • Inside a thunderstorm the electric charge is spread out differently.
  • A thunderstorm is made up of ice crystal and hailstone.
  • The ice crystal have positive charge (+) and the hailstone have a negative charge (-).
  • The hailstone is pushed to the bottom of the thunderstorms by its downdraft.
  • During the thunderstorm the Earth surface has a positive charge. Because the positive charge attract the negative charge at the bottom of the thunder clouds wants to link up with the positive charge of the earth surface.
  • Once the negative charge at the bottom of the cloud gets the large enough, a flow of negative charge rushes towards the earth surface. This is Known as the “stepped leader,”
  • The positive charge of the earth surface is attracted to this stepped leader so as a flow of positive charge moves into the air. When the stepped leader and the positive charge from the earth meet a storm.

THUNDERSTORM

Refers to violent convective storm accompanied by thunder and lightning usually localized and lived. Vertical air motion, considerable humidity, and instability combine to create towering cumulonimbus clouds. Frequently occur in conjunction with other kinds of storms like hurricanes, tornadoes, fronts especially cold fronts in mid latitude cyclones and orographic lifting

Types of Thunderstorm

  • Orographic thunderstorms – caused by air that is forced up by a mountain or hillside.  
  • Air mass thunderstorms – is the result of localized convection in an unstable air mass.
  • Frontal thunderstorms – occur along the boundaries of weather fronts (e.g. cold front).

 Characteristics of thunderstorms

  • Thunderstorm last for a short duration, seldom two hours
  • It consist of down and updraft of air with electric charges and thunder.
  • It is associated with heavy precipitation or hail.
  • It is usually destructive in nature as, it can kill people, animals, and destroy property.

Condition leading to the formation of thunderstorms

  • There should be prevalence of atmospheric instability such that air updraft can set off.
  • There should be availability of ample supply of atmosphere moisture for condensation to take place and maintain a storm.
  • There should be some agent to start convection as uplift over a hill or mountain.

STAGES OF THUNDERSTORM

The thunderstorm has three main stages which are cumulus stage, the mature stage, and dissipating stage.

The cumulus stage; this is the first stage of the thunderstorm .its dominated by updrafts that create the cloud formations which are cumulonimbus cloud necessary. The continuous strong updrafts prevent precipitation from falling .This occur where super cooled water droplets and ice crystal coalesce, then fall initiated a downdraft.

The mature stage; this once the storm has developed it will enter the mature stage. This stage is dominated by both updrafts and downdrafts and is the most dangerous stage. Falling precipitation is indicator that the storm has reached the mature stage. Lighting severe turbulence and hail can all be encountered during this time. It is also most active at this time.

The dissipating stage; this is the last stage once the updrafts begin to die out the storm is dominated by downdrafts and enters the dissipating stage. This signals that the thunderstorm is dying out. In this stage it is where downdrafts dominate and turbulence cease.

          THUNDERSTORM FORMATION

The action of warm air rising and cool air sinking plays a key role in the formation of severe thunderstorm, if the warm surface air is forced to rise because is less dense than the surrounding air. This occur when the cold air and warm air meet each other whereby the warm air is forced to rise due to be that it is less denser and the cold air sinks, so the warm air in the atmosphere will settle and condense slowly. 

Two of the most important ingredients for thunderstorm formation is instability and moisture Normally in the atmosphere, there is unstable air that causes the disturbance in the atmosphere and also the moisture that is caused by the cooling of warm air in the atmosphere might result to the occurrence of precipitation, even the presence of moisture and unstable air results to the thunderstorm formation

Thunderstorms are formed by uplifting of warm and humid air, the air that is formed is forced to move upwards due to it being denser normally it becomes cooler and mixes humid air clouds and water droplets that lead to precipitation or rain.

When humid air is lifted , it will be cooled and the moisture in the air will condense to form cloud. So, after the warm air rises upward to the atmosphere, it normally meets the moist air or moisture that forces it to cool and become humid, this situation leads to the formation of the clouds known as cumulonimbus. Normally these clouds are formed after the cooking of warm air containing the cloud within positive charges and negative charges and negative charges that once come into contact leads to the occurrence of thunderstorm.

Upon further uplifting, the clouds will extend higher water droplets in the clouds continue to grow in size as the clouds extends further upwards ice crystals may form because of low temperature. This means that due to the denser air rising upwards higher in the atmosphere forces and causes the clouds known as cumulonimbus to be formed higher away in the atmosphere and also due to the cool temperature in the higher atmosphere forced the water droplets became pieces of ice crystals so this becomes very essential for the clouds formation.

Finally thunderstorms are produced by the cumulonimbus cloud normally the cumulonimbus clouds contain two different charges that is positive charge known as crystal and the negative known as hail so once these come across they produce a steeper light known as lightning that comes with a heavy and huge sound known as thunderstorm.

What should we do during lightning and thunderstorm period?

In summary;

By Amon Samwel – Art in Tanzania internship Lightning is the brilliant electric spark discharge in the atmosphere occurring within a thunderstorm, between the clouds. The flashing of light produced by a discharge of atmospheric electricity and a flashing of light is the result of discharge of atmosphere electricity within a thunderstorm cloud way up […]

LIGHTINING AND THUNDERSTORM — Art in Tanzania Blog

Hurricane Ida Curfew set due to storm threat via Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

Hurricane Ida

Government officials have set an 8 p.m. curfew for Adams County due to dangerous travel conditions likely to result from Hurricane Ida. For the safety of employees and others, business owners are also being asked to to send employees home and close by 5 p.m. According to Tom McGehee, Adams County Emergency Operation Center Planning […]

Curfew set for Adams County due to storm threat — Mississippi’s Best Community Newspaper

(NASA) #ClimateChange National US Weather Report: Extraordinary heat events occur around the planet during most summers, but the current heatwave in the Pacific Northwest is truly exceptional #AceNewsDesk report — Kindness – Wisdom💥

#AceNewsReport – June.30: The heat began to build up late last week, and the effect is apparent in this map (above) which shows land surface temperatures on June 25 in Washington. The data show that around noon on that day, surface temperatures in Seattle reached 120°F (49°C), and the worst was yet to come. By […]

(NASA) #ClimateChange National US Weather Report: Extraordinary heat events occur around the planet during most summers, but the current heatwave in the Pacific Northwest is truly exceptional #AceNewsDesk report — Kindness – Wisdom💥

Some coastal areas are more prone to devastating hurricanes. Meteorologist explains why via The Current

Warm water, little wind shear and moisture spark storms but coastlines and offshore shelves help determine strength.

Some coastal areas are more prone to devastating hurricanes – a meteorologist explains why — The Current

Every coastline in the North Atlantic is vulnerable to tropical storms, but some areas are more susceptible to hurricane destruction than others.This story also appeared in The Conversation

To understand why as the region heads into what’s forecast to be another busy hurricane season, let’s look more closely at how tropical storms form and what turns them into destructive monsters.

Ingredients of a hurricane

Three key ingredients are needed for a hurricane to form: warm sea surface water that’s at least about 80 degrees Fahrenheit (26.5 C), a thick layer of moisture extending from the sea surface to roughly 20,000 feet and minimal vertical wind shear so the thunderstorm can grow vertically without interruption.

These prime conditions are often found in the tropical waters off the west coast of Africa.

Hurricanes can also form in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean, but the ones that start close to Africa have thousands of miles of warm water ahead that they can draw energy from as they travel. That energy can help them grow into powerful hurricanes.

Wind currents set most tropical storms on a course westward from Africa toward the Caribbean, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Some drift northward into the midlatitudes, where the prevailing winds shift from west to east and cause them to curve back out into the Atlantic.

Others encounter cooler ocean temperatures that rob them of fuel, or high wind shear that breaks them apart. That’s why tropical cyclones rarely hit northern states or Europe, though it does happen.

Time of season also influences hurricane paths

Early in the season, in June and July, sea surface temperatures are still warming and atmospheric wind shear slowly decreases across the open Atlantic. Most early-season hurricanes develop in a small area of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico where prime conditions begin early.

They typically form close to land, so coastal residents don’t have much time to prepare, but these storms also don’t have ideal conditions to gain strength. Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, as well as Central America, are more likely to see hurricane strikes early in the season, as the trade winds favor an east-to-west motion.

As surface waters gain heat over the summer, hurricane frequency and severity begin to increase, especially into the peak hurricane months of August through October.

Toward the end of the season, trade winds begin to shift from west to east, ocean temperatures start to fall, and cold fronts can help divert storms away from the western Gulf and push them toward the Florida Panhandle.

Shape of the seafloor matters for destructiveness

The shape of the seafloor can also play a role in how destructive hurricanes become.

Hurricane strength is currently measured solely on a storm’s maximum sustained wind speeds. But hurricanes also displace ocean water, creating a surge of high water that their winds push toward shore ahead of the storm.

This storm surge is often the greatest threat to life and property from a hurricane, accounting for about 49% of all direct fatalities between 1963 and 2012. Hurricane Katrina (2005) is a prime example: An estimated 1,500 people lost their lives when Katrina hit New Orleans, many of them in the storm surge flooding.

If the continental shelf where the hurricane hits is shallow and slopes gently, it generally produces a greater storm surge than a steeper shelf.

YouTube Poster

As a result, a major hurricane hitting the Texas and Louisiana Gulf Coast – which has a very wide and shallow continental shelf – may produce a 20-foot storm surge. However, the same hurricane might produce only a 10-foot storm surge along the Atlantic coastline, where the continental shelf drops off very quickly.

Where are the hurricane hot spots?

A few years ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration analyzed the probability of U.S. coastlines’ being hit by a tropical storm based on storm hits from 1944 and 1999.

It found that New Orleans had about a 40% chance each year of a tropical storm strike. The chances rose for Miami and Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, both at 48%. San Juan, Puerto Rico, which has seen some devastating storms in recent years, was at 42%.

Hurricanes, which have sustained wind speeds of at least 74 miles per hour, were also more frequent in the three U.S. locations. Miami and Cape Hatteras were found to have a 16% chance of a direct hit by a hurricane in any given year, and New Orleans’ chance was estimated at 12%.

Each of these locations is vulnerable to a hurricane because of its location, but also its shape. North Carolina and Florida “stick out like a sore thumb” and are often grazed by hurricanes that curve up the east coast of the U.S.

The probability that a named storm tropical storm or hurricane will affect a location at some point during hurricane season. Todd Kimberlain/AOML NOAA

Climate change changes the risk

As sea surface temperatures rise with the warming of the planet, more areas outside of these usual hurricane regions may see more tropical storms.

I analyzed tropical cyclones in the North Atlantic that made landfall from 1972 to 2019 to look for changes over the past half-century.

During the first six years of that period, 1972-77, the Atlantic averaged four direct hits per year. Of those, 75% were in the usual hurricane-prone areas, such as the Southern United States, the Caribbean and Central America. Six storms made landfall elsewhere, including New England, Canada and the Azores.

By 2014-19, the Atlantic averaged 7.6 direct hits per year. While the U.S. took the majority of those hits, Europe has been showing a steady increase in cyclones making landfall. Major hurricanes – those with sustained wind speeds of 111 miles per hour and above – are also more common than they were in the 1970s and ‘80s.

See data on when and where hurricanes hit

While southern coastal locations of the United States may be the most vulnerable to tropical cyclone impacts, it is important to understand that a devastating cyclone can hit anywhere along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

The National Hurricane Center is forecasting another busy season in 2021, though it is not expected to be as extreme as 2020’s record 30 named storms. Even if an area hasn’t experienced a hurricane in several years, residents are advised to prepare for the season as if their area will take a hit – just in case.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Get past the headlines with a closer look at issues in Savannah and Coastal Georgia.

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The American alligator’s tail can regenerate giving them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats via Awesome facts

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure.

The case of the lizards, with their “removable” tails, is well known. These small vertebrates are capable of re-creating nerve cells, like other lizards, and regenerating this limb. The strategy of shedding the tail is common to escape predators, but what about much larger reptiles, such as the American alligator?

So far, it was not well documented if this crocodilian, one of the largest in the American continent, could have this ability to recover its enormous tail. A team from Arizona State University and the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, both in the United States, shows for the first time that the youngest specimens, caught in the wild, had recovered their tail up to 18% of the full length of their body, although they were morphologically different from the original sections.

To analyze the structure of the regenerated limbs, the scientists performed MRIs and X-rays combined with anatomical and tissue organization studies. The results, published in the journal Scientific Reports, showed that the new tails lacked skeletal muscle – unlike other lizards – and formed complex structures with a central skeleton composed of cartilage and surrounded by fibrous connective tissue intertwined with blood vessels and nerves.

“What makes the alligator interesting, apart from its size, is that the re-growing tail shows signs of regeneration and wound healing within the same structure,” explains Cindy Xu, lead author and researcher at the American university.

This overproduction of connective tissue was similar to wound healing or fibrosis in mammals, the scientists found. “We were surprised to discover scar-like connective tissue rather than skeletal muscle in the regenerated crocodile tail,” Xu adds.

The partial limb growth of these crocodiles does share similarities with the regenerated tails of New Zalanda tuataras and the regenerated limbs of adult Xenopus frogs, which have a cartilaginous endoskeleton surrounded by connective tissue without skeletal muscle.

What does regeneration contribute?

The study confirms that between the different species of reptiles and other animals, the regenerative capacity varies, and can be costly. In the case of American alligators (Alligator mississippiensis), scientists believe that regenerating their tails can give them a functional advantage when living in murky aquatic habitats.

The regenerated alligator tail is different from the original. Although the scales grow back, a tube of cartilage (in yellow) replaces the bone (in ocher) and skeletal muscle does not reappear (in red). In its place is a large amount of fibrous connective tissue (in pink). / Arizona State University

This finding provides more information on how reptiles are the only amniotes – a group of animals with backbones among which humans are found – to maintain the ability to recover their lost limbs. “The ancestors of alligators, dinosaurs and birds separated about 250 million years ago. The study shows that the alligators have retained the cellular machinery to regenerate complex tails while the birds have lost that capacity ”, emphasizes Kenro Kusumi, co-principal author, and professor and director of the School of Life Sciences of the University of the State of Arizona . So at what point in evolution was this ability lost? So far, scientists have found no evidence of fossils of dinosaurs, whose lineage led to modern birds, with regenerated tails.

Furthermore, understanding how different animals can regenerate tissues could help develop medical therapies, according to the researchers. The team hopes that these findings will uncover new therapeutic approaches to repair injuries and treat diseases such as arthritis

Some lizards have developed strategies to regrow their docked tails, but until now little was known about the much larger American alligator’s ability to regenerate it. A team of scientists has discovered that the youngest alligators can recover part of this limb, but this differs from the original structure. The case of the lizards, with […]

The American alligator’s tail can regenerate like that of other reptiles — Awesome Facts to learn on Virtual Science

Colorado Fire: Containment Grows, Crews Monitoring Lines For Heat via CBS Denver

Containment on the Grizzly Creek Fire near Glenwood Spring grew to 71%, up from 68% reported on Friday.

Absolutely fabulous pic via Grizzly Creek Fire: Containment Grows, Crews Monitoring Lines For Heat — CBS Denver

Freshwater Mussels via The Ephemeral Stag

 

Walking along the riverbanks, lake sides, and pond shores across the world are empty open shells that were once the shield of protection to many freshwater bivalves, also known as freshwater mussels. I, personally, have even seen shells mixed into “river rock” on playgrounds. When I was a child, I even cut my foot on one hiding in the tiny pebbles of my parks swing set. I never thought much about them. When we would go to the lake to fish or swim, I would collect them like I was a mermaid princess collecting pearls. I would take them home and keep them in my fish tank, which helped my fish live for years. My beta fish named “fish” lived over 6 years because of his little friends (or a parent who lied… time will never know). How little did I know that twenty years later I would be doing the exact same thing. This time instead of a mermaid princess, I get to act in a scientific and ecological manner.

Mussel beds die off due to pollution, water diversion and invasive species.

Worldwide some conservations and ecological organizations estimate upwards to 1,000 species of freshwater mussels and other organizations claim its more like 900 different species. North America houses a known 300 different freshwater mussel species. The US Fish and Wildlife Services claims the North America has the highest diversity in freshwater mussel species in the world. There are many hot spots for mussels in the US including but not limited to the Mid-West and the Appalachian Mountains. It is estimated that over 70% of the endanger freshwater mussels are found in these two areas. Tennessee by itself historically housed 129 of the nation’s freshwater mussel species. Now with in Tennessee, it is estimated to house only 40 species.

There are many types of species in one general area. Most can live harmoniously.

Pre-European Colonization (don’t get me started on that mess) times are in my opinion the most ecologically balanced times in North America. Natives understood the balance between nature and humans. The first uses of mussels in the now US, was by these Natives and was probably food based. Archaeologist and anthropologist have found multiple sites of discarded shells on the banks of rivers around tribal sites. They probably were not a primary food source for the tribes, but the evidence does point to a culinary use. Later, (when Europe sent a bunch of “Karenz” over) there was significant uptick in trade for the shells.

Mussel buttons

During colonization and Pre-Modern day (prior to 1970s), freshwater mussels were harvested from riverbanks by the masses not for food or trade but for buttons. Yes, buttons. The “clammers” would use boats and drag the river bottoms looking for mussel beds. They would then shell the poor creature, sand down the roughness, and punch holes through out the shell. These punch outs would then be polished and punched for buttonholes. This type of harvested lasted longer than it should have unfortunately. It wasn’t until the 1900, this type of industry slow due to massive die off of the natural mussel beds.

Dead mussels littering the banks of rivers.

So, what is so fascinating about freshwater mussels? Conservationist around the world are trying to save the species we have left. They act as a natural water filtration system as well as food for fish and castration. They are what is called a “niche” species. So basically, without them we won’t have freshwater ecosystems. They have a rough outer shell that is semi curved on both sides. The shell open for them to eat, breath, mate, and move (yes, they move). Inside is the organs and soft tissue. If you ever open one, it kind of looks like an oyster but smaller.

A freshwater mussel using a lure to bring a host fish close enough to release its offspring into the nose of the host fish.

Freshwater mussels can live in almost any collection of freshwaters from pond and stream all the way to lakes and major rivers. Each species has its preferred depth and habitat. Also, the majority of freshwater mussel need fish to act as a host when mating. Some will even use their soft tissue disguised as a fish or prey to lure in the host fish. These may seem like simple creatures on the surface but they in fact are surprisingly in genius.

A mussel bed on the river floor

While we try to restore, what a boat load of people destroyed, there are still massive problems in their ecosystem that threatens the survival of the species. During the decades between 1930s to 1970s and even later there were over 80,000 dams built in the US, in an effort to use hydro power and control water flows and regulate flood waters. As well as dams the US dug canals and channels to divert water flows. There are over 18,000 canals in the US to this date. Both cause problems for the freshwater mussel by many factors. The waters become deeper in areas that were shallow before which can cause less area the mussels can survive in. It stops or impinges on the migration of the host fish species, causing reproduction to dwindle.

Dead mussels along a pond bank

Newer problems like pollution is not only affecting the host and phytoplankton that they feed on but the mussels themselves. There are multiple studies showing the biological affects of heavy metals, chemical and other man made pollutants. These contaminations cause lower body mass, lowered behavioral movement, and lowered overall survivability for the individual. It’s like if you have to live in your neighbors trash dump. You can’t find food. You can’t find love. And you won’t survive long periods of time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lastly, invasive species are also causing a threat to the native freshwater mussels. Many species will come in on boats from other areas and take advantage of the new area. Other mussels, like the Zebra Mussel of Russia, leach off others for nutrients and other sustainable substances. There are new policies of how to maintain and care for the boats traveling in different waters, in order to slow the progression of the spread. However, it will take a lot of help from us as humans to undo our mistake.

Invasive Zebra Mussels attached to a native freshwater mussel

Protecting endangered species should be a priority for conservationists. A creature like the freshwater mussel is overlook so many times. It is important to know how vital they are to the ecosystem and how not to cause them more harm. Things you can do to help the protect these creatures is 1. To vote in all elections. Do your research! 2. Cut down on plastic usage. Many plastics and industries run off contaminate the water. 3. Spread your knowledge! A lot of people don’t see freshwater mussels as creatures that need protection or that they even exist and why they are important.

Sources

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/extinction-countdown/americas-freshwater-mussels-are-going-extinct-heres-why-that-sucks/

https://www.knowablemagazine.org/article/living-world/2019/hidden-strengths-freshwater-mussels

https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/campaigns/freshwater_mussels/index.html

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2019/12/freshwater-mussels-die-off-united-states/

https://molluskconservation.org/MUSSELS/What_Mussel.html

https://www.fws.gov/midwest/endangered/clams/mussels.html

https://xerces.org/endangered-species/freshwater-mussels/about

Walking along the riverbanks, lake sides, and pond shores across the world are empty open shells that were once the shield of protection to many freshwate

via Forgotten Mussels — The Ephemeral Stag

Cleaning up oil spills with hair via Science Everyday

Adsorption of oil with hair is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.

Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to clean up after the thousands of oil spills that happen each year.

Oil spills are an example of the havoc humanity often wreaks on the environment. In the last thirty odd years, the issue of oil spills and their effects has become a much talked about topic (And for all the wrong reasons).

So, how does an oil spill happen?

Oil spills happens when liquid petroleum is released into the environment by vehicle, vessel or pipeline.

It happens on a large scale and is mostly seen in water bodies. We’re not talking about a few litres here and there. We’re talking about millions of litres of oil spilling into the ocean.

Take the case of the M/T Haven Tanker Oil Spill. This devastating event watched approximately 45 million litres of oil fall into the ocean. Not only is this a significant loss, but the damages inflicted upon the environment have long lasting consequences.

And this is just one oil spill out of the many. Hundreds of oil spills take place every year. The news of many which don’t even reach us. Crude oil can be released by tankers on land. In water bodies, the spill occurs due to drilling rigs, offshore oil platforms and wells.

While the sources of oil spills are many, the solutions are limited.

Oil floats on water and prevents sunlight to pass through it. The shiny substance that you see sometimes on top layer of water is nothing but oil which makes it difficult for plants and sea animals to survive.

Underwater plants die. Oil weighs down the wings of birds that can no longer fly easily. It contaminates food, water and destroys the entire ecosystem.

See the source image
Birds struggling in oily water. Retrieved from https://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-gulf-anniversary-20150418-story.html

Unfortunately, cleaning up of oil spill is no easy task. Various factors need to be considered before carrying out operations. Some of them being amount of oil spilled, temperature of water, type of beaches and many more.

Currently methods used involve skimmers, dispersants an bio degradant technology. But is there a better way?

The answer lies in your hair.

Have you ever noticed how your hair becomes greasy when you don’t wash it for a while? Why does this happen? It happens because hair is adsorbent.

Adsorption is the adhesion of atoms, ions or molecules from a gas, liquid or dissolved solid to a surface. This process creates a film of the adsorbate on the surface of the adsorbent.

What this means is that hair allows oil to coat, hence effectively absorbing it. And given the surface area, cheap costs, and renewability of hair, this is a great solution.

Hair can also be washed repeatedly and this does not damage its ability to absorb oil. The average person takes around 150 haircuts in their lifetime. Hair is low-cost, easily available and a great alternative to chemical treatments.

This idea was the brainchild of Phil McCrory, a former hairdresser from Alabama and it has the potential to change the environment completely.

One of the most important takeaways from this, is how simple solutions can be used to bring around large change. I hope this encourages each one of you to try learning new things. Because, the solution of the biggest global problems lie in the simplest, most unassuming of places. And it might even be your barber’s floor.

-Adyesha Singhdeo

References

https://www.sciencealert.com/could-human-hair-be-used-to-clean-up-oil-spills

Donate Your Hair to Clean Up the Oil Spill

 

How Are Oil Spills Cleaned Up?

Cleaning oil spills with hair

Bringing innovative solutions to life.

 Hair clippings are a low-tech, yet remarkably effective method to tidy up oil spills In fact, a San Francisco-based environmental non-profit organisation, Matter of Trust, has collected donations of thousands of pounds of human hair to […]

via Cleaning up oil spills with hair — Science Everyday

Technology can help Us save the Environment and Achieve Global Sustainability by Preventing further Degradation via Scientific Inquirer

The use of big data can help scientists’ chart not only the degradation of the environment but can be part of the solution to achieve sustainability, according to a new commentary paper.

The paper, ‘Opportunities for big data in conservation and sustainability’, published today in Nature Communications, said increased computing speeds and data storage had grown the volume of big data in the last 40 years, but the planet was still facing serious decline.

Lead author Dr Rebecca Runting from the University of Melbourne’s School of Geography says that while we currently have an unprecedented ability to generate, store, access and analyse data about the environment, these technological advances will not help the world unless they lead to action.

“Big data analyses must be closely linked to environmental policy and management,” Dr Runting said. “For example, many large companies already possess the methodological, technical, and computational capacity to develop solutions, so it is paramount that new developments and resources are shared timely with government, and in the spirit of ‘open data’.”

Commentators noted that 2.3 million km2 of forest was lost over the years 2000 to 2012 and that dynamic marine and coastal ecosystems have revealed similar declines. An analysis of over 700,000 satellite images shows that Earth has lost more than 20,000 km2 of tidal flats since 1984.

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are currently seeing governments making rapid (health) decisions based on fairly sophisticated data analysis,” Dr Runting said. “There may be opportunities to learn from this and achieve a similarly tight coupling of analysis and decision-making in the environmental sector.”

Co-author Professor James Watson from the University of Queensland said with platforms like Google Earth Engine and the capacity of satellites to track and send information quickly to computers, big data was capable of identifying eco-health risks globally.

“What the big data revolution has helped us understand is the environment is often doing worse than what we thought it was. The more we map and analyse, the more we find the state of the environment, albeit Antarctic ice sheets, wetlands, or forests, is dire. Big data tells us we are running out of time,” Professor Watson said.

“The good news is the big data revolution can help us better understand risk. For example, we can use data to better understand where future ecosystem degradation will take place and where these interact with wildlife trade, so as to map pandemic risk.”

Dr Runting said big data has been pivotal in quantifying alarming spatial and temporal trends across Earth. For example, an automated vessel tracking and monitoring system is being used to predict illegal fishing activity in real-time.

“This has allowed governments quickly investigate particular vessels that may be undertaking illegal fishing activity within their jurisdiction, including within Australian waters,” she said. Similarly, Queensland’s Statewide Landcover and Trees Study uses satellite imagery to monitor woody vegetation clearing, including the detection of illegal clearing.

Professor Watson cited a similar example. “Global forest watch has been a game change for monitoring the state of the world forests in near real time. This can help identify illegal activities and informed active enforcement of forest conservation around the world,” Professor Watson said.

The paper also noted positive environmental changes due to human intervention such as greening seen in large expanses in China, which was driven by large scale national policies, including forest conservation and payments for restoration.

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Clearer water, cleaner air: the environmental effects of coronavirus (video) —

 

From crystal clear waters in the canals of Venice to dramatic falls in pollution levels in major cities, the coronavirus pandemic has had a number of positive effects on the environment as millions across the world are placed under lockdown. Video: France 24

via Clearer water, cleaner air: the environmental effects of coronavirus (video) —

Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record

Originally posted on The Extinction Chronicles: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2020/03/13/climate-change-earth-had-second-warmest-winter-record/5043841002/ Doyle Rice USA TODAY AD 0:13 SKIP Only the El-Niño-fueled winter of 2015-16 was warmer. Some of the most extreme warmth was in Russia, which smashed its record for warmest winter. Thanks to human-caused global warming, “this period is now the warmest in the history of modern civilization.…

via What winter? Earth just had its second-warmest December-February on record — Exposing the Big Game

Lake Mendocino invasive mussel species inspections now seven days a week — The Ukiah Daily Journal

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Lake Mendocino announced it will now be conducting inspections seven days a week for invasive mussel species, with help from the Sonoma County Water Agency, an increase from the current weekend inspections. The inspections will start every day on Sunday, March 1, and the inspectors will be looking […]

via Lake Mendocino invasive mussel species inspections now seven days a week — The Ukiah Daily Journal