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Serious environmental damages

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Serious environmental damages

Post  Roi on Thu Jan 17, 2013 4:47 pm

2000-2005 data (the 2010 source says those are the latest info)

Country Deforestation Rate Total Forest Area Primary Forest Remaining Annual Change
1. Nigeria 55.7% 11,089,000 hectares 0.36% - 3.12%

2. Viet Nam 54.5% 12,931,000 hectares 0.26% + 2.06%

3. Cambodia 29.4% 10,447,000 hectares 1.82% - 1.90%

4. Sri Lanka 15.2% 1,933,000 hectares 2.58% - 1.43%

5. Malawi 14.9% 3,402,000 hectares 12.0% - 0.9%

1. Africa and South America continued to have the largest net loss of forests. Oceania and North and Central America also had a net loss of forests. The forest area in Europe continued to expand, although at a slower rate. Asia, which had a net loss in the 1990s, reported a net gain of forests in the period 2000-2005, primarily due to large-scale afforestation reported by China ("afforestation" is the act or process of creating a new forest where none had existed before, or reforestation of areas long deforested).

2. The total forest area in 2005 was just under 4 billion hectares, corresponding to an average of 0.62 ha per capita. But the area of forest is unevenly distributed. For example, 64 countries with a combined population of 2 billion have less than 0.1 ha of forest per capita. The ten most forest-rich countries account for two-thirds of the total forest area. Seven countries or territories have no forest at all, and an additional 57 have forest on less than 10 percent of their total land area.

3. Deforestation, mainly conversion of forests to agricultural land, continues at an alarmingly high rate - about 13 million hectares per year. At the same time, forest planting, landscape restoration and natural expansion of forests have significantly reduced the net loss of forest area. The net change in forest area in the period 2000-2005 is estimated at -7.3 million hectares per year (an area about the size of Sierra Leone or Panama), down from -8.9 million hectares per year in the period 1990-2000.
Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world's land area, but areas the size of Panama are lost each year.

4. The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more room for planting crops or grazing livestock. Often many small farmers will each clear a few acres to feed their families by cutting down trees and burning them in a process known as "slash and burn" agriculture. In Nigeria 81% of its original forest cover is now permanently lost while the tropical rain-forests of Brazil are less by 90-95%.

5. The forests of Central America are down by two-thirds lowlands, since 1950. Countries like India, Mexico, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, China, Sri Lanka, the Congo and Ghana have lost much more than 50% of their rain-forest cover and harvesting of forest cover has left Afghanistan with a little over 25% forests throughout the country. In late 1995, Nigeria's execution of eight environmental activists, notably Nobel Peace Prize nominee Ken Saro-Wiwa, made international headlines and brought worldwide recognition of the serious environmental degradation of Nigeria.

Last edited by Roi on Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:06 pm; edited 1 time in total


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Slash and Char (might be useful)

Post  Roi on Fri Jan 18, 2013 4:15 pm

Slash-and-char is an alternative to slash-and-burn that has a lesser effect on the environment. It is the practice of charring the biomass resulting from the slashing, instead of burning it as in the slash-and-burn practice.

Charcoal can be made by numerous and varied methods, from the simplest (an earth cover on the pile of wood, with strategically placed vents) to the most sophisticated (a modern plant that recuperates and recycles strictly all exhaust gases). (See also: biomass, explaining some of these methods and advantages.)

Slash-and-char offers considerable benefits to the environment when compared to slash-and-burn.


Results in the creation of biochar, which can then be mixed with biomass such as crop residues, food waste, manure and / or other, and buried in the soil to bring about the formation of terra preta. Terra preta is one of the richest soils on the planet - and the only one known to regenerate itself, although precisely how this happens is hotly debated within the scientific community.

It also segregates considerable quantities of carbon in the safest and most beneficial fashion, as opposite to the negative effects of the slash-and-burn. Switching to slash-and-char can sequester up to 50% of the carbon in a highly stable form. The nascent carbon trading market that sponsors CO2 sequestration projects, could therefore help supplement the farmers' income while supporting a decrease in the pace of deforestation and the development of a more sustainable agriculture.


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Oil Spills

Post  Roi on Wed Apr 03, 2013 6:49 pm

BP oil spill (gulf of mexico, deep water horizon oil spill) -wikipedia

Remember when oil giant BP paid billions of dollars to clean up its own mess from the 2010 Gulf oil spill?
Then the company agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay an unprecedented $4 billion fine for the spill.
In the latest development, Wednesday, BP was essentially told to stand in the corner when it comes to winning new federal contracts -- a potentially huge blow to the company's bottom line.

And it's still likely on the hook for civil penalties the federal government hopes to recover for environmental damages.
So, is BP being punished enough for the deadly and destructive Deepwater Horizon spill, or too much? It depends on who you ask.
This matters. BP says it supports nearly a quarter of a million American jobs and has invested $52 billion in the United States since 2007. Experts suggest punishments ranging from massive fines to banning the company from offshore drilling.

The spill is the "worst environmental disaster the US has faced", according to White House energy adviser Carol Browner. WHY?

Factors such as petroleum toxicity, oxygen depletion and the use of Corexit dispersant are expected to be the main causes of damage. Eight U.S. national parks were threatened and more than 400 species that live in the Gulf islands and marshlands were at risk. A comprehensive 2009 inventory of offshore Gulf species counted 15,700. The area of the oil spill includes 8,332 species, including more than 1,200 fish, 200 birds, 1,400 molluscs, 1,500 crustaceans, 4 sea turtles, and 29 marine mammals. As of 2 November 2010, 6,814 dead animals had been collected.

The closure of fisheries initially incorporated 6,814 square miles (17,650 km²). By 21 June, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration had increased the area under closure over a dozen times, encompassing by that date 86,985 square miles (225,290 km²), or approximately 36% of Federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico, and extending along the coast from Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana to Panama City, Florida.On 24 May, the federal government declared a fisheries disaster for the states of Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Initial cost estimates to the fishing industry were $2.5 billion.

Disturbing numbers" of mutated fish are appearing in the Gulf. Scientists and fishermen are pointing to the BP oil spill, the dispersants and chemicals used in its cleanup as the cause of these deformities which include shrimp born without eyes, fish with lesions, fish with oozing sores and, according to a local fisher-woman, "We are also finding eyeless crabs, crabs with their shells soft instead of hard, full grown crabs that are one-fifth their normal size, clawless crabs, and crabs with shells that don't have their usual spikes ... they look like they've been burned off by chemicals".

This is more than a spill. This is ongoing leakage of a chemical, and adding chemicals to stop the chemicals. People are like in a research lab. Clean up workers AND people living near the gulf are become ill because of chemicals from the oil and dispersants. The addition of dispersants created an even more toxic substance when mixed with crude oil. Poly-aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are making people sick. PAHs contain compounds that have been identified as carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic. The dispersants are being added to the water and are causing chemical compounds to become water soluble, which is then given off into the air, so it is coming down as rain, in addition to being in the water and beaches of these areas of the Gulf People are already dying from this. There are a few who are down to 4.75 per cent of their lung capacity, their heart has enlarged to make up for that, and their esophagus is disintegrating, and one of them is a 16-year-old boy who went swimming in the Gulf. Blood samples from eight individuals from male and female, residents and BP cleanup workers and the blood of all three females and five males had chemicals that are found in the BP crude oil.

In August 2011, The Government Accountability Project (GAP) began a survey of the health effects of the oil spill on cleanup workers. Reports included "eye, nose and throat irritation; respiratory problems; blood in urine, vomit and rectal bleeding; seizures; nausea and violent vomiting episodes that last for hours; skin irritation, burning and lesions; short-term memory loss and confusion; liver and kidney damage; central nervous system effects and nervous system damage; hypertension; and miscarriages". Cleanup workers claimed to have been threatened with termination when requesting respirators, because it would “look bad in media coverage or they were told that respirators were unnecessary, as Corexit was “as safe as Dawn dishwashing soap”. Cleanup workers and residents reported being sprayed directly with Corexit, with skin lesions and blurred eyesight as the result. The ailments appearing among Gulf response workers and residents reflected those reported after previous oil spills, like the Exxon Valdez oil spill. Diaz warned that chronic adverse health effects, including cancers, liver and kidney disease, mental health disorders, birth defects and developmental disorders should be anticipated among sensitive populations and those most heavily exposed. Diaz also believes neurological disorders should be anticipated.

Exxon Oil spill (Alaska)

The Exxon Valdez oil spill occurred in Prince William Sound, Alaska, on March 24, 1989, when Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker bound for Long Beach, California struck Prince William Sound's Bligh Reef and spilled 260,000 to 750,000 barrels (41,000 to 119,000 m3) of crude oil.[1][2] It is considered to be one of the most devastating human-caused environmental disasters.[3] The Valdez spill was the largest ever in US waters until the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, in terms of volume released.[4] However, Prince William Sound's remote location, accessible only by helicopter, plane, and boat, made government and industry response efforts difficult and severely taxed existing plans for response. The region is a habitat for salmon, sea otters, seals and seabirds. The oil, originally extracted at the Prudhoe Bay oil field, eventually covered 1,300 miles (2,100 km) of coastline,[5] and 11,000 square miles (28,000 km2) of ocean.


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Some stuff

Post  Roi on Fri Apr 05, 2013 6:47 am


Around midnight on Dec. 2, 1984, an accident at a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, resulted in 45 tons of poisonous methyl isocyanate (and hexafluorides during debate speech to make it look more serious) escaping from the facility. Thousands died within hours. More followed over subsequent months — about 15,000 in all. In total, about half a million people were affected in some way. Many of those who survived suffered blindness, organ failure and other awful bodily malfunctions. A shockingly high number of children in the area have been born with all manner of birth defects. In 1989, Union Carbide paid out about half a billion dollars to victims, an amount the afflicted say is not nearly enough to deal with the decades-long consequences. Bhopal remains the worst industrial disaster ever.

Read more:,28804,1986457_1986501_1986445,00.html #ixzz2PYcgYIqX

The Great Plains

Extensive farming combined with severe drought caused the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. Deep plowing on the Great Plains killed the natural grasses that kept soil in place, and the topsoil turned to dust and blew away. Tons of soil were blown off barren fields and carried in storm clouds for hundreds of miles, creating one of the most disastrous ecological events in U.S. history.

Between 1930 and 1940, severe dust storms, or “black blizzards,” reached heights of 10,000 feet, blowing cars off the road and blocking out sunlight. At times, the clouds blackened the sky all the way to New York City, and much of the topsoil was deposited in the Atlantic Ocean. An estimated 2.5 million people were displaced and millions of acres of farmland became useless, intensifying the economic impact of the Great Depression.

BRAZIL's controversial Belo Monte hydroelectric dam which is being built the in the Amazon.

Environmentalists and indigenous activists claim it will displace indigenous tribes and further damage the Amazon basin.

Brazil's environment ministry granted the Belo Monte dam project an environmental licence late on Monday paving the way for tenders from companies interested in constructing the world's third largest hydroelectric plant, on the Amazon's Xingu river.

According to the Brazilian energy ministry the dam, expected to start production in 2015, will cost around R$20bn (£6.8bn) and will eventually produce around 11GW of electricity.

But environmentalists and indigenous leaders have strongly apposed the plans, which the government admits would see around 500 sq km of land flooded and activists believe would see thousands displaced.

They will pay millions of dollars to "offset" the damage.

The attitude and treatment of the Brazilian government towards the affected indigenous groups is strongly criticised internationally. The UN Human Rights Council has published statements denouncing Brazil’s careless constructing, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) likewise pointed out that the Brazilian state was in violation of ILO conventions (particularly convention 169) – though as a non-binding contract, Brazil’s status of signatory does not oblige it to comply by these principles. Indigenous groups have questioned the government’s actions over these events,[88] but their situation remains ignored by the authorities, as shown with the May 2011 Xingu Mission report of the CDDPH (Conselho de Defesa dos Direitos da Pessoa Humana), of which several sections regarding accusations of human right violations were excluded by the Special Secretary for Human Rights, Maria do Rosário Nunes.


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Desertification Stats

Post  Roi on Fri Apr 26, 2013 1:40 pm

As Kofi Annan said in 2006, “If we don't take action, current trends suggest that by 2020 an estimated 60 million people could move from desertified areas of sub-Saharan Africa towards North Africa and Europe, and that worldwide, 135 million people could be placed at risk of being uprooted”. According to Allen and Ober (2008) over 67 million people in the Sahel already exist under the effects and threats of desertification. Desertification of soils appears to be one of the fundamental causes of hunger in many regions of the world. Soil degradation is actually very dangerous phenomenon in land degradation and has severe effects on soil functions. To the most important causes of soil degradation we can include deforestation, overgrazing and various agricultural activities. According to Salfrank and Walicki (2005) over a half of total Central Asian land area is prone to desertification and over 80 percent of total land area in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan is affected by salinization and desertification.

Facts and Statistics:

- Desertification is especially important problem in Africa. Two-thirds of the continent is desert or drylands, and 74 per cent of its agricultural drylands are already seriously or moderately degraded.

- Worldwide, desertification is making about 10-12 million hectares useless for cultivation each year. This is territory equal to 10% of the total area of South Africa.

- The areas with the biggest dynamics of desertification are concentrated in the Sahelian region, the Kalahari in the south and the Horn of Africa. According to many estimations 70 percent of African land is already degraded to some degree and land degradation affects at least 485 million people or sixty-seventy percent of the entire African population. (United Nations).

- More than 35 percent of the land area (approximately 83,489 km, 49 out of the 138 districts) of Ghana is prone to desertification. Recent research indicates that the land area prone to desertification/drought in the country has almost doubled during last two decades. (United Nations).

- Approximately 70 percent of Ethiopia and 80 percent of Kenya is reported to be prone to desertification in recent years. (United Nations).

- Recent estimations suggest that between 48 and 78 percent territory of Swaziland is at risk of desertification.

- According to the UN Nigeria is losing 1,355 square miles of cropland and rangeland due to desertification each year. This problem affects each of the 11 states of northern Nigeria. Nigeria loses approximately 320,000-350,000 hectares of land per year, which causes mass displacement of local communities in the North. At least 35 million people are facing threats of hunger and economic problems due to present scale of desertification.

- Recent estimations suggests that more than 30% of the land area of Rwanda, Burundi, Burkina Faso, South Africa Lesotho and is very severely degraded. The statistics are still growing up and up.


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