Showing posts from March, 2014

Toxic Legacy of BP’s Gulf of Mexico blowout continues.

B. McPherson Think BP has cleaned up the mess? Think again. It has been nearly four years since a series of incidents led to the spilling of at least 206 million gallons of oil and methane into the Gulf of Mexico. The Deepwater Horizon was the drill platform which burst into flames in April 2010 taking 11 workers to their deaths. The petroleum spewing from the blown out hole killed unknown numbers of wildlife from whales to microscopic plankton. Many clean-up workers fell ill and many businesses went broke when the fishery was closed and beaches were closed.
Much of the evidence of the catastrophe has disappeared, but the damage keeps on giving.
A paper presented by the National Academy of Science deals with some of the damage caused by the sudden, massive release of hydrocarbons into the water.
Scientists exposed tuna embryos to the water contaminated by the BP blowout in the Gulf. They found that many of the fish displayed various heart abnormalities which would likely affect their …

More Oil Spills Mark 25th Anniversary of Exxon Valdes Disaster

B. McPherson Just another day in the oil industry People on the Gulf Coast of Texas are witnessing a wildlife catastrophe in the making as sticky, heavy black oil is moving onto shore from a holed barge. Two ships collided in the Galveston Ship Canal with the result that about 168 000 US gallons of the deadly stuff have leaked into the water.
This comes as a particularly bad time for the millions of shore birds returning to their summer grounds as winter lifts in the North. The floating booms that have been deployed to corral the floating oil are ineffective as wind and waves slosh the contaminated water over them. The danger to wildlife – birds, fish, sedges, sea weed, jellyfish – is direct and indirect. If complete cleanup is not done, then the toxic petroleum becomes part of the food chain gradually poisoning those that eat it and those that eat them.
But look on the bright side. The barge contained over 900 000 gallons of the tarry oil. The six crew members of the barge were take…

UK ‘Independent’ Scientists With GM Ties

B. McPherson
Demand to know the truth about GM food and forage crops. The UK is currently wrestling with the issue of whether to allow the commercial planting of genetically altered or genetically modified(GM) field crops. To this end, the central government has commissioned a study authored by independent scientists to advise them.
According to the Daily Mail, the scientists advised the UK government in November to fast track the introduction of GM seeds in time for the spring sowing. With this information made public this March some investigation was done on the backgrounds of the five authors of the study.
Their conclusions: All five authors are respected leaders in their area of study. All five authors have commercial ties to the GM industry.
The “independent” scientists:
·Professor Sir David Baulcombe, Cambridge University, consultant for Syngenta ·Professor Jonathan Jones, Sainsbury Lab, centre of Britain’s GM research ·Professor Jim Dunwell, University of Reading, founding member…

Thinking People are Fighting a Garbage Burner that Big Garbage Wants to Locate in Nanaimo British Columbia

Check out Burning Issues. The web site spells out what is going on. There's a ground swell of resistance building to keep this antiquated method of making garbage disappear -- into the air for you to breathe and into landfills full of toxic materials.

In your own areas go green by reducing, reusing and recycling.

Detroit has a garbage incinerator. It's a waste to energy facility. Take a look at how their neighbours like it.

You can read about Detroit residents' experience here

Nanoparticles in Your Food

B. McPherson
Are you ingesting nanoparticles with your tasty lunch? What the heck is a nanoparticle? It’s something that is definitely smaller than a bread box. What the heck is a bread box? Never mind, it was in use when food was food. Back to the subject – a nanoparticle is a piece of matter that is smaller than one billionth of a metre(about 39 inches) across.
Nanoparticles occur naturally. They are present in wood smoke and industrial by-products. Now clever researchers have found ways to produce nanoparticles tailored to do specific jobs. Some of the jobs these tiny bits of matter do involve the cosmetic and food industries.
This is a new and exciting branch of science. When substances are reduced to a few molecules, they behave differently that when they are a more substantial size. Uses for this new area are being found almost daily. One of the areas with much potential is the food industry.
The American Food and Drug Agency(FDA) is aware of the possible ramifications of usin…

Good News for the Arctic

B. McPherson The Arctic and Antarctic are Earth's air conditioners. The European Parliament passed a resolution on March 12 to promote better protection of the north Polar region. Part of the resolution recommends a sanctuary in the Arctic Ocean around the N. Pole. It recommends limits on commercial fishing and also means to keep oil pollution from the pristine waters. There is no enforcement of this resolution, but it points out the concern that more people each day have over the fate of the polar region.
Keeping the oil rigs out of the Arctic will be difficult. There is likelihood that huge oil reserves lie under the Arctic Ocean. Oil exploration has been taking place in Greenland’s territorial waters as well as offshore Alaska and Russia. Last year Greenpeace activists attempted to board an oil platform in Russian controlled waters and were arrested and held in a Siberian jail before being moved to St. Petersburg jails. Eventually they were released when the world became outrag…

Fukushima Third Anniversary the Damage Mounts

B. McPherson Three years later. Still believe those who say the atom is friendly? Fukushima Prefecture marks its third anniversary of its wreck on March 11th. For the victims of the tsunami and nuclear disaster this is a sad occasion.  Thousands of people were affected by the horrendous tsunami that roared over the Japanese coast following a massive earthquake. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power station was wrecked and is still spewing radioactive materials into the air, soil and water.
The treatment of the people affected by this disaster has been poor and it’s about to get worse. The Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe has announced that 30 000 displaced people will be moved back to the exclusion zone and the reactors restarted within two years.
In spite of heroics by the staff of the crippled reactor complex the effort to clean up the radioactive soil and stop further escape of toxic particles it remains a dangerously polluting sore.
The company responsible for this nuclear power…

Cracked Dam Upriver From Hanford Nuclear Reservation

B. McPherson Expose by Seattle TV station points out danger to public by careless handling of radioactive waste. The Wanapum Dam on the Columbia River has a large crack in a spillway pier. It is about 2inches(5 cm) wide and 65 feet long . The damage to the hydroelectric facility was discovered during a routine check by a dam worker.
Since the discovery of the crack, officials have drawn down the water behind the dam by about 26 feet to take pressure off the structure. The dam is 180 feet high and was built over 50 years ago. It is up river from another half century old dam, Priest Rapids Dam, which is 178 feet high, impounding another large lake. There is a danger that if the Wanapum Dam fails, it could overwhelm the Priest Rapids Dam and a massive wall of water would bear down on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation.
The Hanford site was developed during the Second World War and produced the fissionable material for the first atomic bomb. It became the main production centre during the Co…

Hanford Nuclear Facility Coping With Leak

B. McPherson Some disquieting information about Hanford's activities. Ask was it an earthquake or a small nuclear explosion. Hanford Nuclear Facility located in eastern Washington State has a leak in one of its large storage tanks(75 ft diameter). The double walled tanks are sunk into the ground. The inner shell of the tank has leaked radioactive sludge into the space between the shells.
It has been reported that the leak was detected a year ago but authorities of the US Department of Energy(DOE) were prepared to wait until the problem worsened as they deemed the breach of the liner no danger to the public.
This has prompted the State of Washington to remind them that they are required to take action within 24 hours of discovering that the tank was not sound. It contains liquid material as well as the sludge.
Currently the DOE does not have the equipment or a plan to remedy the problem and estimates that it will be two years before any material is removed from the defective tank.…

Whale Slaughter Continues in Southern Ocean

B. McPherson Japanese whalers hauling mother and baby onto factory ship. Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Australia is reporting a continuing whale slaughter in the Southern Ocean. In an area that is closed to commercial killing, the Japanese “Research Vessels” continue to kill whales. The thinly disguised whaling vessels kill and chop up the whale carcasses aboard the factory ship Nisshen Maru.
The Sea Shepherd Society has attempted to stop the slaughter by blocking the slipway of the factory ship to prevent dead whales from being processed. They are sometimes successful, but find most of their success in preventing the harpoon vessels from making the kills in the first place.
Sunday night the tables were turned on the Sea Shepherd vessel the Bob Barker which found itself the target of the harpoon ships. They were towing steel cables behind in order to tangle and disable the Bob Barker’s propellers. They were unsuccessful.
During the incident, the harpoon vessels crossed the bow ofTh…

Acidic Waters Spell Death to 10 Million Scallops

B. McPherson
Vancouver Island is surrounded by clean, cold water. The Pacific Ocean cradles the island moderating its climate and providing livelihoods for many in the fishing industry. One of the successful, modern fisheries is raising of scallops in the Georgia Strait in Qualicum Bay.
Vancouver Island Scallops have developed a method for farming the delectable little morsels and until the past few years, been very successful at it. The scallops are started in the hatchery and when they have attached to lines are put in nets and placed in the ocean waters. Scallops are filter feeders so they get their food from plankton floating in the cold waters. It usually takes about three years before a scallop is ready for commercial harvesting.
Scallops are called bivalves(two shells). The shells are made up of chalky material high in calcium carbonate. You know what a scallop shell looks like if you’ve ever seen the Shell Oil symbol. That’s it.
Unfortunately for the scallops and their shellf…