Houses buried in Gjerdrum village near Oslo, Norway

A landslide in a Norwegian village has buried homes under dark mud, injuring 10 people including one seriously and leaving 11 missing. Rescue workers are continuing to search for those missing, who include children, in the village of Gjerdrum, 25km (15 miles) north-east of the capital, Oslo. About 900 people have so far been evacuated from the village, police said some people were feared to be trapped in mud and debris. “We are quite certain that there are people in the affected area, but we don’t know if all 11 are there or if the number is smaller,” police spokesman … Continue reading Houses buried in Gjerdrum village near Oslo, Norway

Strong 4.6-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Sicily

A 4.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Italian island of Sicily on Tuesday evening, Italy’s National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology (INGV) said the “strong” tremor struck at 9.27pm and lasted for ten seconds. It was clearly felt in the towns of Ragusa, Syracuse and Catania, the Italian news agency ANSA said. The epicentre was reported to be in the Mediterranean Sea, 15 kilometres south of Acate on the southern Sicilian coast. “I was so afraid, everything was shaking,” Stefano Sucato, who lives in Ragusa, told ANSA. “Many people have fled and are still on the street.” Residents up to 300 kilometres … Continue reading Strong 4.6-magnitude earthquake strikes southern Sicily

German court halts Tesla factory plan over snake and lizard habitats

Tesla has been ordered again to suspend preparations for a car factory in Germany after a successful court injunction by environmentalists, the electric carmaker has been clearing forest land near the capital, Berlin, for it’s first European car and battery plant, but opponents argued this will endanger the habitats of lizards and snakes. A court in Frankfurt ordered forest clearing to be halted, pending further examinations. A similar court order was made earlier this year about Tesla’s plans for what it calls the Gigafactory in Grünheide, in the eastern state of Brandenburg, the earlier ruling was in response to concerns … Continue reading German court halts Tesla factory plan over snake and lizard habitats

India finally extinguish deadly oil well blaze after five months

An enormous oil well fire that raged for more than five months in the northeast Indian state of Assam has finally been extinguished, officials said on Sunday, engineers from state-run Oil India Limited (OIL) had battled the blaze in Assam state since an explosion on June 9, weeks after the well blew out and began discharging huge quantities of natural gas. Two employees of the state-owned company died in the blast, which sent a wall of flame and huge plumes of smoke into the sky. A third worker died in September after an accident at the site. Experts from Singapore, … Continue reading India finally extinguish deadly oil well blaze after five months

Iconic fig tree in Kenya survives removal

Environmental activists in Kenya have hailed an official decision to save an iconic, century-old fig tree from being taken down to make way for a highway in the capital, Nairobi, a decree issued by President Uhuru Kenyatta described the famed tree, the height of a four-storey building as a “beacon of Kenya’s cultural and ecological heritage”. Kenya’s roads agency had said in October that it planned to uproot and transplant the fig tree in order to erect a pillar to support the Chinese-funded expressway built to reduce traffic jams, in response, environmentalists launched a campaign to protect the tree, which … Continue reading Iconic fig tree in Kenya survives removal

Anger over sacred Aboriginal tree bulldozed in Australia

The bulldozing of a sacred tree for Aboriginal people to clear land for a highway has sparked anger in Australia, protesters have long camped at the site in Victoria to defend culturally significant trees, including some where local Djab Wurrung women have traditionally gone to give birth, but state authorities cut down the Djab Wurrung “directions tree” on Monday, the activists said. Officials defended the felling, saying the tree was not on a protection list. In a deal last year, Aboriginal landowners negotiated with the Victorian government to save around a dozen of 250 “culturally significant” trees from destruction, however, … Continue reading Anger over sacred Aboriginal tree bulldozed in Australia

Contaminated Fukushima water could damage human DNA, Greenpeace says

Contaminated water from Japan’s Fukushima nuclear plant contains a radioactive substance that has the potential to damage human DNA, a report by Greenpeace says, the claim from the environmental campaign group follows media reports suggesting the government plans to release the water into the ocean. Many scientists say the risk is low but some environmentalists oppose the idea, the government has not yet responded to the Greenpeace report. For years Japan has debated over what to do with the more than a million tonnes of water used to cool the power station, which went into meltdown in 2011 after being … Continue reading Contaminated Fukushima water could damage human DNA, Greenpeace says

Japan to release radioactive Fukushima water into the sea

Japan’s government has decided to release radioactive water from the devastated Fukushima nuclear plant into the sea, with a formal announcement expected to be made within this month, Kyodo news agency and other Japanese media reported on Friday. Tokyo Electric Power Company has collected more than one million tonnes of contaminated water since the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was crippled by the enormous earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. Japanese Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said no decision had been made yet, but the government planned to make one quickly, decommissioning of the Fukushima Daiichi plant is a major premise for … Continue reading Japan to release radioactive Fukushima water into the sea

Activists demand answers from Russia over marine pollution on Kamchatka peninsula

Environmental activists are demanding answers after several sea animals have washed ashore on the Kamchatka peninsula in eastern Russia. Carcasses of seals, octopus, and sea urchins have been covering the remote coasts for several days, with Greenpeace denouncing the incident as an “ecological disaster”. The sea creatures are believed to have been victims of a toxic spillage in the Pacific Ocean, but the official cause of pollution has not been established. Pacific Fleet headquarters have denied any involvement in the environmental crisis, and local authorities have not reported any recent industrial accidents or unusual events. Images of the damage around … Continue reading Activists demand answers from Russia over marine pollution on Kamchatka peninsula

Homes destroyed in New Zealand bushfires

Bushfires have destroyed dozens of homes in New Zealand, authorities said on Monday, saying it was a miracle no one was hurt when “a wall of orange” descended on a remote South Island village, the blaze began in a mountain forest early on Sunday morning and, fanned by strong winds, swept through the village of Lake Ohau, forcing residents to flee for their lives. According to the New Zealand fire emergency agency on Monday, at least 4,600 hectares (11,366 acres) of land were affected by the blaze, which also displaced more than 100 people, the high winds meant the fire … Continue reading Homes destroyed in New Zealand bushfires

Brazil judge rules against government’s plan to revoke mangrove protection

A Brazilian judge has suspended plans by the government of President Jair Bolsonaro to revoke rules protecting tropical mangroves and other fragile coastal ecosystems. The decision, on Monday, had provoked an outcry from environmentalists. They feared property developers would try to replace large areas of mangrove swamps with new resorts for tourists. But an appeal court ruled the move could cause “irrevocable” damage to the environment. Federal Judge Maria Carvalho, sitting in Rio de Janeiro, granted an injunction against the government’s plan “given the obvious risk of irreparable damages to the environment”. The group of lawyers who brought the injunction … Continue reading Brazil judge rules against government’s plan to revoke mangrove protection

Sri Lanka returns ‘hazardous waste’ to UK

Sri Lanka says it is sending 21 containers of waste back to the UK after they were found to contain hazardous material. Customs officials said hospital waste was discovered in many of the 263 containers imported by a private firm. The shipment was meant to be made up of used mattresses, carpets and rugs for potential recycling. Most of the containers have been stored in warehouses, with only a small amount of material having been re-exported. The authorities said there was also plastic and polythene waste in the containers. Legal action was taken after the Sri Lanka authorities impounded the … Continue reading Sri Lanka returns ‘hazardous waste’ to UK