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Environmentalists say salmon escape is worse than a plague of rats

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018


Salmon (Image grabbed from Reuters video)

A Chilean environmental court ordered the Norwegian-based Marine Harvest to cease operations for 30 days at their Punta Redonda Center in Chile after more than half a million salmon escaped in an episode Greenpeace is saying is the environmental equivalent of 140 million mice running through the streets of the capital.

“The impact is taking place in two areas. First, there is the impact to the health of people who may consume this salmon; they’ve already said that these salmon are not fit for human consumption,” said Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Coordinator Estefania Gonzalez. “But there is an even greater ecosystem damage which is much more dangerous. Because the salmon is not a native species to this area, what it does is eat and devour all the other species in the sea. It is a truly, truly highly destructive species. This is why we wanted to make the comparison that this (the salmon escape) is equivalent to having 140 million loose mice in the city of Santiago.”

On July 5, more than 600,000 salmon escaped the fish farm near the southern city of Calbuco after a storm damaged nine enclosures at Marine Harvest’s Punta Redonda Center.

Greenpeace expressed concern that some of the salmon are a non-native species that could devour a number of wild fish and seafood, and their decomposition could potentially trigger an outbreak of algae bloom.

Under Chilean law, the company has 30 days to recover the fish and has been working with local fisheries to do so.

On Monday, Chilean courts ordered the company to take additional measures to protect the environment, including flying over the region to search for dead fish, making a plan for the disposal of the dead fish, monitoring local rivers and reporting on their progress weekly.

Some of the salmon had been injected with a course of antibiotics that was incomplete at the time of their escape, making them unfit for human consumption and prompting concern by the environmental group that the fish will make it into the food chain too early.

“The antibiotics released in the sea is equivalent to what Norway uses in 4- years and here we have it just one escape. Therefore, the impact of this particular escape, added on to all the impact that the salmon farming industry is generating every single day polluting the water, adding chemicals, pesticides, feces, the increase of red tides, is something that our ecosystems cannot support,” added Gonzalez.

For years, Greenpeace has been fighting salmon fishing, saying it is destructive to other species and the natural ecosystem.

Marine Harvest has downplayed the threat posed to the environment by Florfenicol, the antibiotic injected into some of escaped salmon, saying that there was a little risk it could generate resistance in humans. — Reuters

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Deforestation in Brazil savannah ticked up in 2017 after 2016 drop

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Friday, June 22nd, 2018

Trees in leafy area of savannah (Image grabbed from Reuters video)



Deforestation in Brazil’s vast savannah, which takes up 25 percent of the country, ticked up in 2017 after a sharp drop in 2016, the Environment Ministry said on Thursday (June 21), outpacing destruction of the Amazon rainforest.

Destruction of native vegetation in the region known as the Cerrado rose to 7,408 square km last year after falling 43 percent to 6,777 square km in 2016, data showed.

The Cerrado’s plant life is a major carbon sink and its preservation is considered vital to Brazilian efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions and global warming.

Revised data from the Environment Ministry showed that deforestation of the Cerrado rose 10 percent in 2015 to 11,881 square km. The ministry’s last report on the biome had found that Brazil deforested an average 9,483 square km per year in the region between 2014 and 2015. — Reuters

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Plastic waste in Antarctica reveals scale of global pollution – Greenpeace

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, June 7th, 2018

Greenpeace activists Grant Oakes and Marcelo Legname pull a manta trawl out of the sea to collect water samples in Neko Harbour, Antarctica, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Alexandre Meneghini


Plastic waste and toxic chemicals found in remote parts of the Antarctic this year add to evidence that pollution is spreading to the ends of the Earth, environmental group Greenpeace said on Thursday.

Microplastics – tiny bits of plastic from the breakdown of everything from shopping bags to car tires – were detected in nine of 17 water samples collected off the Antarctic Peninsula by a Greenpeace vessel in early 2018, it said.

And seven of nine snow samples taken on land in Antarctica found chemicals known as PFAs (polyfluorinated alkylated substances), which are used in industrial products and can harm wildlife.

The United Nations’ environment agency says plastic pollution has been detected from the Arctic to Antarctica and in remote places including the Mariana Trench, the deepest part of the world’s oceans in the Pacific.

On Tuesday, it said that less than a 10th of all the plastic ever made has been recycled, and governments should consider banning or taxing single-use bags or food containers to stem a tide of pollution.

Last year researchers at the University of Hull and the British Antarctic Survey found that levels of microplastic in Antarctica were five times higher than expected only counting local sources such as research stations and ships.

That means that the pollution is crossing the Southern Ocean, often considered as a barrier to man-made pollution. Scientists say the long-term impacts on marine life are unknown.

At the other end of the world, researchers in Germany reported in April that sea ice floating on the Arctic Ocean contains large amounts of plastic waste, which could be released as the ice thins because of global warming.

In trying to understand the spread of pollution, she told Reuters that new areas for research could include how far tiny bits of plastic are getting blown on winds to the Arctic and how much is swept by ocean currents. –Reuters

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Pristine Antarctic waters under threat from many fronts

by UNTV News   |   Posted on Thursday, March 22nd, 2018

Greenpeace’s Arctic Sunrise ship sails during a protest in the Barents sea, Norway, July 21, 2017. Will Rose/Greenpeace/Handout via Reuters

Greenpeace scientists are gathering data in the Antarctic to preserve the pristine waters of the Antarctic, where penguins frolic, glaciers plunge into the sea and icebergs float through the waters circling this continent at the bottom of the world.

The Arctic Sunrise, a Greenpeace research vessel, is on a three-month voyage through the waters of the southern ocean to document the effects of climate change, pollution, and fishing on native wildlife to build support for a proposed Antarctic Ocean sanctuary.

“The chance to protect these areas, which are so vital to such a huge number of species in so many ways, it can’t really be missed,” said Tom Foreman,  Greenpeace expedition leader.

The sanctuary would measure 1.8 million square kilometers making it the largest protected area on earth, and provide a safe haven for marine life from industrial fishing.

The area is the natural habitat of numerous whales, seals, penguins and many kinds of fish and marine life.

“Single-use plastic is – they believe now is accounting for up to 70, 80 percent of the plastic that is entering the oceans. And, it’s for a few moments of convenience. It has sometimes up to hundreds of years of lifetime in the ocean,” said Grant Oakes, a Greenpeace employee.

According to Greenpeace, the sanctuary is needed to put the area off limits to the krill fishing industry which is looking to expand into the area. Krill is a keystone species in the Antarctic ecosystem – most wildlife is either directly or indirectly dependent on it, including penguins, whales, and seals. — Reuters


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