Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Water Pollution - How Unsafe is our Water?

Photo courtesy of

The rate by which our waters is getting polluted has caused environmentalists to call for more rigorous control measures on water safety monitoring as well public filtration processes. Current proposals in Congress are inclined on transferring the responsibility of ensuring safe and quality water from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to local governments regardless of whether they are ill equipped or insufficiently funded.

There is still uncertainty as to what measure to adopt; whether Congress will require the State and local government to improve on their water purifications techniques and EPA to bear down heavily on standards for possible cancer causing chemicals. The other alternative is for EPA to loosen up and regulate only those chemicals that has the greatest potential risks, like lead. Neither one of the two proposals seems to ensure that the water we will be drinking will be made safe. 

Environmentalists feel that there is a need to inform the public as to the real extent of the water pollution issue. This will create an awareness that they should take certain steps in making sure that their water is safe to drink or use. Below are some environmental issues that have rendered our sources of water unsafe:    

Polluted Snow/Rain Water Run-offs

We as community dwellers should be the firsts to be responsible about this. Since most of our grounds today are considered as altered lands being covered with concrete and all that, the rain water that falls are hardly absorbed by the ground. Rain, storm, snow, flood waters called as run-offs flow through canals and roads and will eventually reach its destination in streams, rivers, and estuaries. On their way out, these waters will meet all sorts of debris thrown carelessly by humans such as detergents, pet wastes, construction materials, vehicle oil drip offs, salt or fertilizers used for defrosting driveways, and other similar substances disposed of carelessly.

Studies have shown that these water run-offs have contributed largely in polluting our water resources since the grounds they flow on hardly has the capacity to absorb the water. In fact, even groundwater, which is the main source of deep-well water, was likewise tested as contaminated. 

Farm Water Run-offs

If you are living in areas near farms and other agricultural areas, research findings have disclosed that they are the major contributors in contaminating the river water. The U.S. Geological Survey has linked nine states, namely: Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, and Tennessee as having contributed in polluting the Gulf of Mexico. Accordingly, this is due to their farm run-offs which contained high levels of nitrogen and phosphorous. In fact, researchers have described the Gulf of Mexico today as over-fertilized.

Researchers from Yale University and Louisiana State University report that over the past 50 years farm run-offs have pumped rivers with excessive carbon dioxide. This has made not only the rivers acidic but the ocean as well. This is one of the reasons why coral reefs today appear bleached and dying; as a result, there is disruption of marine life.

Atmospheric Pollution

The Earth’s atmosphere now contains levels of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses that have caused temperatures and climate changes. As the atmospheric composition precipitates and falls as rainwater or snowfall, a large part of it goes back into the ocean. The quality of water that goes back into the ocean is now contaminated with carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gasses including methane. Methane is said to be several times more potent than carbon dioxide.      

Chlorine as Medium for Water Disinfection

Chlorine is actually not a pollutant and is intentionally infused in our water to act as disinfecting agent. However, only a few of us are aware that the use of chlorine with chloroform as its main composition is cancer causing, which is now receiving much attention from the EPA.  

Not all Bottled Water are Safe

After knowing all sources of pollutants listed above, we will then resort to bottled water as our presumed safety measure to ensure that our drinking water is safe. Often promoted as “safer” and “chlorine free,” it may come as a surprise to you that about a third of bottled water in the U.S. come from public water supplies, based on reports. On top of that, consumers are not aware that regulations that govern the preparation of these bottled water are said to be less than strict, hence you are not sure if what you are drinking is safer than what you obtained from the faucet.

Our utmost concern is the safety of our drinking water by using home filtration. It can at least provide us the assurance that the water we are drinking went through proper filtration and disinfecting processes. In addition, we could probably refer to certain sites such as “Your Guide to Green” at this link to get ideas on how we could ensure quality and safety in the water we drink. 

Article source:

As Featured On EzineArticles 


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Greenland is Losing Glaciers: An Ice-Free Greenland in 2040?

Global warming and the resulting rise in the Earth's temperature is causing chunks of ice to melt faster than what was expected. In fact, scientists say that the rate by which the ice is melting in Greenland is way ahead by thirty years based on their previous studies. The Arctic people, the Inuit  Eskimos are finding their houses and roads shifting on what was once frozen grounds. Quite a number are seriously considering relocating before total ice melt down takes place. Even Polar bears are losing their means for hunting seals as frozen seagrounds have melted.Greenland is expected to become totally ice free by year 2040.

In America, Montana's Glacier National Park is also rapidly losing its glaciers. The original count of 150 glaciers have now dwindled down to less than 30 glaciers. In Tanzania, the legendary snow of Mt. Kilimanjaro has depleted by at least 80% meaning only 20% remains and is expected to reach total melt down by 2020. In the Sierra Nevada mountains, plant life has changed from alpine flowers to sagebrush. Sagerbush thrive on dry regions why alpine flowers are known to flourish between the timberline and snowline vegetation zones.

The effects of global warming have quite a negative impact but some good may yet be seen out of it. As the Arctic Ocean becomes free of ice, it has slowly paved the way for the opening of a new route for a faster sea travel. The Northwest Passage presents a direct route from Europe to Asia  which means sea travel can be shorter and will entail less fuel consumption. In fact five countries namely US, Canada,UK, Russia and Greenland  have already expressed their interests in gaining control over this new route. An offshoot of these new travel possibilities is that Greenland can be a potential source for new investments, as its long hidden resource are beginning to unfold.However, the race for Greenland before it finally thaws out into an ice-free zone is becoming complicated. The effects of the ice meltdown seem to be reaching more than ecological problems. Political issues are now cropping up.

For more information about this, read a related article entitled " Greenland Losing Glaciers May Mean Shorter Travel Routes" by following this link:

As Featured On Ezine Articles

Monday, January 5, 2009

Noise: Pollutants, Remedies and a Trivia

Noise per se isn’t harmful; in fact, it is common in places where there are crowds and each person present wants to be noticed or heard. In the market, noise is to be expected since every merchant wants to attract the buyer’s attention. In sports arenas, where supporters cheer and shout their moral support for their favorite team or player. You can even add the noise of jeers hurled by hecklers and sore fans. In schools, especially when the teacher is not around to rap their sticks on the table and impose authority for them to keep their voices down. You’re not supposed to complain about noise if you stay in these places for some time.

Noise becomes irritating if you’re in the comfort of your home and an endless drone of low flying airplanes will pass overhead. It causes your blood pressure to rise since the occurrence can shake your walls and rattle you window panes. On top of that, you have read so many incidents about how accidents can happen; that by some stroke of misfortune any one of these planes may accidentally use your roof as landing pads.

 Noise becomes a form of pollution if you’re living in the city and the traffic could bring a lot of cars honking simultaneously as their way of trying to protest the long hours they have been waiting in queue. Add the multitudes of pedestrians who’d rather walk than wait it out in the city traffic, most of them talking simultaneously, enough to create a din. Noise in the city can disrupt your sleep, invade your privacy when you find it hard to carry on with a simple conversation or create an unpleasant atmosphere for work done at home.

If you live in the suburbs, you might think that noise pollution can’t touch you here since the neighborhood are mostly residential properties and only a few cars pass by.  That’s possible, if your neighbors are aware that the use of lawn mowers and leaf blowers is capable of making intrusive and disruptive noise that can get into your nerves.

Even the workplace can be vulnerable to noise if the office interior wasn’t properly equipped with sound proofing materials or acoustics. Factories and its factory lines with the constant whirring sounds can deafen your ear if you get a daily dose of it as a worker.    

Noise pollution is an environmental issue if it is invasive and disruptive causing negative effects on health and productivity.

 Remedies for Noise Pollution

 Homes located in areas near airports, factories and cities adapt their homes against noise by adding noise barrier and sound absorption materials such as barrier walls, acoustical foam, custom sound enclosures, pipe wrap, acoustical doors, windows and ceiling tiles as well as double paned windows.

Offices use a “white noise” machine which helps cover up unwanted and intrusive noises to diminish the sounds that can disrupt the work in an area. The machine produces a casual and non-directional sound that comes off as harmonious enough to cover whatever unwanted noise is spreading through in the work place.

Trivia: A Unique Type of Noise Pollution

In the Philippines, people love to while away their time by singing along with their karaoke or videoke machines. It is quite common among the neighborhood in slum areas to set the decibels of their machines at several notches over and above than that of their neighbor’s.  Imagine a place where houses with but single pieces of ply-woods to separate them, will have people singing at the top of their voices using microphones and accompanied by blaring sound machines with high powered speakers to boot.

Imagine these people finding themselves uplifted from their slum origins through the hard work of their overseas relative and are now residing in quiet residential neighborhoods. The more reason they have to enjoy life and sing to their heart’s content and the neighbors have no recourse but to put ear plugs in their ears.   

 Ciel Cantoria also writes for Brigh Hub. Read a related article about Noise Pollution and Its Sources also by the author at this link:

The author also answers several "what if" questions at her site at:

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Contaminated San Francisco Estuary Still Contaminated Despite the NEP

Do you live in California? Lately, there have been reports that striped bass baby fish or fingerlings found in San Francisco estuary are deformed. In fact, studies reveal that even while in the mother fish 's womb, the developing larvae shows signs of abnormality. Some parts have yellowed areas indicative of blistered and dead tissues and the spinal cord is unusually curved. What this information is telling us, is that the San Francisco estuary and the fish from its waters is unsafe.

What is an estuary? An estuary is that part of the bay area where the river water and ocean water meets usually near a coast. Before 1987, prior to the establishment of the National Estuary Program (NEP), estuaries were considered as worthless and were commonly used as dumping sites. Hence, out of the 102 estuaries found in the US, 28 estuaries were considered as threatened and were placed under the National Estuary Program for rehabilitation and control. The San Francisco estuary is one those placed under this program.

Then why are the fish in San Francisco estuary contaminated or deformed? The waters in San Francisco estuary is still contaminated inspite of being under the National Estuary Program (NEP) for more than twenty years. Cleaning up the San Francisco estuary is not an easy task and may take more than what it took to clean up the other estuaries. This is simply because the contamination found in this estuary dates back from 1848 when the mining industries were booming in California due to the famous California "gold rush". Mining companies meant the use of mercury and the estuary then was their dumping sites, hence San Francisco estuary was the recipient of a legacy of toxic wastes.

The pollution of the estuary didn't stop there either, studies showed that the presence of copper is also high in the list of pollutants as California went into modernization. As California progressed, so did the quality of the pollutants that were deposited in the estuary. Flame retardants, chemicals used in making paper goods, electric transformers, pesticides and a wide range of chemicals that were banned decades ago are also the contributing pollutants in the waters of San Francisco estuary. So one need not wonder why it's taking too long for the NEP to cleanup these waters, more than one century and a half of toxic wastes have been deposited in this area. 

So now do you live in San Francisco, California? 

For more information about San Francisco and other estuaries, read a related article entitled 
"Water Contamination in San Francisco Estuary Blamed for Deformities in Baby Fish" by following this link. 

Where Have All the Frogs Gone?

Did you know that frogs are now endagered species? An affliction has been besetting frogs all over the world and biologists say that this has something to do with global warming. However at this stage, researchers still can't place it all in one solid explanation. One thing is for sure, frogs are dying globally and in massive numbers at that.

Do you remember the time when you could hear frogs croaking in unison? We never stopped to think about it, but sure enough we no longer hear those phenomenal frog conciertos anymore. As early as 1996, the Sierra Nevada frogs were noticed to be decreasing in numbers. Whereas before, they croaked and leaped in abundance both in the low and high of the Sierra Nevada ranges, the last survey in 1999 came up with only 2 Sierra frogs remaining.

In 2003, Conservationsts sued the Fish and Wildlife Services for refusing to list the frogs under the Endangered Species Protection program. They wanted to give the frogs protection from several factors they considered as detrimental to the frog's existence, namely: grazing, recreation, dams and water diversion, roads and predation. They scored a victory in 2006 when the Federal judge ordered the Fish and Wildlife Services to list the Yellow-legged frog and the Yosemite toad under the Endangered Species Protection program. So they thought the problem will be kept under control

Recent developments however showed that frogs all over the world are dying and in massive numbers including those in tropical countries. What the Sierra Nevada folks thought as an isolated case was happening globally. That's the reason we no longer hear the "blidits" and the croaks nor see them hop-hop- hopping along the road anymore as we pass by the mountainsides. In fact, can you remember those times when you saw bodies of frogs on the roads obviously  victims of hit and run incidents? 
Scientists have now devoted their time in researching for answers and to find out what seems to be wiping out these frogs on the face of the Earth. Actually, it's no longer just a matter of frogs dying, the issue is now about biodiversity - where every living thing, even in the minutest of form is essential to maintain a balanced ecology. 

They have considered global warming and the rise in temperatures. They have connected it to a certain fungus but this fungus was supposed to have been extinct a long time ago. Scientists are still baffled while frogs continue to die. If the next generation ever gets to read about the frog prince, kids in the future will never get to see a real frog and understand why the princess refused to kiss it.

For more information about the plight of these frogs, read a related article entitled "Sierra Frogs- Will They Survive Global Warming" by following this link:


What if Global Warming Continues?

The damaged ozone layer is still the most critical environmental issue that our world is facing today. For one, the green house effect is a natural occurrence in the Earth’s make-up. Solar energy naturally radiates through the Earth’s atmosphere designed to transmit thermal heat as an important factor to sustain all of Earth’s life forms. 

As a result the environment in our planet gets warmed due to the layers of carbon dioxide and methane, which protects the Earth from absorbing too much solar heat. This protective layer of gasses is more commonly known as the ozone layer. As the ozone layer protects the Earth from absorbing too much thermal energy, it has the dual role of preventing the warmth from bouncing back into space. This is then what we all know as the “greenhouse effect”. 

However the Earth is old or even ancient since it dates back from the very beginning. Man in turn became smarter and smarter, in fact too smart for his own good. The earth’s atmosphere became too saturated with carbon dioxide and all sorts of gasses coming from man’s technological innovations, unaware that it was damaging our protective ozone. Until one day, man became conscious of the sudden changes in climates and temperature, in the weather and the natural calamities. 

We now have acid rains, hurricanes and typhoons in stronger forms and duration leaving some parts of the world in total devastation. Too much solar heat has permeated the atmosphere beating down on our large bodies of water. The volume of evaporation and moisture form into low pressure areas and depressions and the winds get tangled and trapped in the Earth’s spinning motion. Hence we are met with natural catastrophes of greater magnitude. 

After understanding all these, what‘s next? What can man do that he hasn’t tried before?Actually it’s not just the hair sprays and the aerosols but also the smoke coming from power plants, factories and automobiles. Can we do without all of these?