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

Vulnerability of doomsday glacier ‘Thwaites’ seen in new maps

Scientists may just have identified Thwaites Glacier’s Achilles heel. This Antarctic colossus is melting at a rapid rate, dumping billions of tonnes of ice in the ocean every year and pushing up global sea-levels. Now, a UK-US team has surveyed the deep seafloor channels in front of the glacier that almost certainly provide the access for warm water to infiltrate and attack Thwaites’ underside. It’s information that will be used to try to predict the ice stream’s future. “These channels had not been mapped before in this kind of detail, and what we’ve discovered is that they’re actually much bigger … Continue reading Vulnerability of doomsday glacier ‘Thwaites’ seen in new maps

Warships join fight to put out blaze on oil tanker off Sri Lanka

Just when Sri Lanka is just recovering from the oil spill of Japanese bulk carrier, MV Wakashio a little over a month ago, another new fire broke out on a supertanker carrying about two million barrels of oil in the Indian Ocean off Sri Lanka’s eastern coast as Russian and Indian warships joined the battle to put out the blaze. The New Diamond, travelling from Kuwait to the Indian port of Paradip with a cargo of 270,000 tonnes of crude and 1,700 tonnes of diesel, issued a distress call on Thursday, navy spokesman Captain Indika de Silva said. The vessel had a … Continue reading Warships join fight to put out blaze on oil tanker off Sri Lanka

China record floods wet feet of Leshan Giant Buddha

A giant statue of Buddha in China has had its toes dampened by floodwater for the first time since the 1940s. The 71m-tall statue, a Unesco heritage site, was carved out of a rockface near Chengdu in Sichuan province around the eighth century AD. It is normally high above the waterline, but the area has been hit by the worst flooding in 70 years. More than 100,000 people have had to be moved to safety. The statue is a hugely popular attraction and often included in cruises along the nearby Yangtze river and Three Gorges. State media said 180 tourists … Continue reading China record floods wet feet of Leshan Giant Buddha