Poachers in Africa are encroaching on wildlife land and killing rhinos in travel hot spots now devoid of visitors due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Air pollution. Italy is Europe’s most polluted country
Secondo il rapporto dell’Aea solo in Italia sono 84400 le morti premature causate dalle polveri fini. La più colpita è la Pianura Padana.
Particulate matter, ozone, nitrogen dioxide. Europe’s air quality is significantly threatened by these pollutants, mostly in urban centres, according to the latest report of the European Environment Agency (EEA), entitled Air Quality in Europe 2015. It examines the European population’s exposure to air pollutants and provides a snapshot of air quality based on data provided by official monitoring stations across Europe.
The report finds that despite a decrease in total emissions has been registered over the past 10 years, concentrations are still above the World Health Organisation’s recommended levels.
“Despite continuous improvements in recent decades, air pollution is still affecting the general health of Europeans, reducing their quality of life and life expectancy,” said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx. “It also has considerable economic impacts, increasing medical costs and reducing productivity through working days lost across the economy.”
The particulate matter (PM10 and PM2.5), ozone (O3), and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are the most problematic pollutants. As for PM2.5 alone, estimates show 432,000 premature deaths in Europe. Italy has the major concentrations of pollutants, along with Germany and France. Indeed, 84,400 premature deaths have been registered in Italy, followed by Germany (72,000) and France (58,400).
The causes are mainly linked to the transport industry, which is responsible for 46% of the emissions of nitric oxide, to the domestic and commercial heating, which produce 43 to 58% of the particulate matter, and to the energy production, which is the major emitter of sulphur oxides. These are followed by industry, agriculture (particularly for the production of ammonia) and waste, which produce a significant amount of methane (31%).
In terms of life months lost, according to a report published in June by the Italian associations Cittadini per l’Aria: “This means that pollution shortens the life of every Italian of 10 months on average; 14 for those who live in Northern Italy, 6.6 for those who live in Central Italy, and 5.7 for those who live in Southern Italy”.
Actor and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio has contributed two million dollars to a fund to protect Virunga National Park in Congo from threats such as terrorism, the coronavirus and poaching.
Bangladesh suffered widespread damage as a result of Cyclone Amphan. Yet the Sundarbans mangrove forest acted as a natural barrier protecting the country from further destruction, as it has done countless times before.
For the first time in seventeen years, Iceland’s two main whaling companies won’t resume whale hunting. The announcement concerns this year’s season but could carry into the future.
The relationship between the coronavirus and wildlife is complex: while the pandemic may lead to a reduction in the illegal trade in wild animals, it may also encourage it in other respects.
The largest coral reef in the world is severely threatened by climate change, but researchers are developing strategies that could contribute to saving the Great Barrier Reef.
NGO Free the Bears has opened a mountain sanctuary for moon bears in Laos. With the government’s help, it aims to close all bile farms by 2022.
The Covid-19 pandemic is a planetary wake-up call from the Earth to humanity. On Earth Day, over 500 organisations launched a global call for urgent action with the health and wellbeing of all peoples and the planet at its core.
Pollution in India has fallen drastically without the fumes of cars and factories. It’s been thirty years since the Himalayas were last visible from such a distance.