Nerdist: This Tool Lets You See World’s 1,000 Most-Polluting Rivers. “One of the biggest environmental disasters that needs to be addressed ASAP is the immense plastic pollution in the oceans. According to the nonprofit organization The Ocean Cleanup Project, the best way to do this is to tackle the incoming plastics at their source: rivers along coasts. With a new tool, the nonprofit allows people to see the 1,000 most-polluting rivers in the world; ones it aims to purify with its autonomous, plastic-collecting drone ships.”
AP: Scientists put GPS in trash to find out how far it travels . “Scientists are placing GPS devices inside plastic bottles to study how trash enters the watershed and travels downstream, with the ultimate goal being to reduce pollution in rivers and oceans.”
AP: Discarded masks litter beaches worldwide, threaten sea life. “Discarded masks and gloves started showing up on beaches not long after the virus began circulating widely last year, and continued to appear as quarantine-weary people sought an escape at the beach. In the second half of 2020, more than 107,000 items of PPE were collected by volunteers around the world according to the Ocean Conservancy group — a figure its members believe is a vast undercount of the year’s true totals.”
PR Newswire: The Lead in School Drinking Water Database (PRESS RELEASE). “The Lead In School Water Project is the first web-based application to rank and track every US state in terms of school-related lead exposure, testing and policy. This project’s goal is to provide a free public resource for parents, facility managers and regulators to monitor the latest data on their school’s waterborne lead concentrations.”
Florida International University: Citizen scientists collect vital data on microplastics – from their yachts
Florida International University: Citizen scientists collect vital data on microplastics – from their yachts. “As part of a new collaborative project, dubbed the S.A.R.A.H. initiative, privately owned yachts become platforms for FIU scientists to conduct field research. Special nets are towed behind the vessels to gather samples of plastic debris in the water. They are designed to collect even the tiniest bits of plastic – that can be smaller than a grain of rice – known as microplastics.”
EWG: EWG: PFAS Chemicals Must Be Regulated as a Class, Not One by One. “The known extent of contamination of American communities with the toxic fluorinated compounds known as PFAS continues to grow at an alarming rate, with no end in sight. As of March 2019, at least 610 locations in 43 states are known to be contaminated, including drinking water systems serving an estimated 19 million people.”
The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore launches live map of sewage pollution — and temporarily stops alerting the public to contamination
The Baltimore Sun: Baltimore launches live map of sewage pollution — and temporarily stops alerting the public to contamination. “More than 14 million gallons of sewage-tainted water has washed into Baltimore streams over the past two months, but city officials haven’t alerted the public of the contamination. Federal and state environmental regulators require the city to notify the public anytime at least 10,000 gallons of sewage contamination enters waterways. But the Department of Public Works stopped issuing the alerts in late January, when it launched a live map of sewage overflows on its website.”
Times Herald-Record: State watchdog group expands online water-purity database. “A nonprofit government and environmental watchdog group has improved a searchable database for the public to learn about purity threats to local public tap-water supplies. A year ago, the New York Public Interest Research Group unveiled ‘What’s in my Water?’… which makes most water-supply records searchable by zip code. NYPIRG recently added more information about local contaminants in water supplies, made the site more user-friendly and provided resources about private well water testing.
The New School: SGPIA Research Finds ‘Digital Divide’ in Google Street View of Environmental Issues, Slums
The New School: SGPIA Research Finds ‘Digital Divide’ in Google Street View of Environmental Issues, Slums. “For years, Arroyo Sarandí, a stream that snakes through the working class suburb of Avellaneda in Buenos Aires, has fallen victim to industrial use. Pollution and trash have caused serious flooding and health issues for the people living in villas misérias, or slums, along the river banks. But you wouldn’t know any of that by looking at Google Street View of Avellaneda: Neither the slums nor the environmental issues impacting it appear there.”
Undark: In ToxicDocs.org, a Treasure Trove of Industry Secrets . “The site officially launched last Friday with an initial 20 million pages of material focused on six toxic substances: asbestos, benzene, lead, polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB), polyvinyl chloride, and silica, and millions more pages are coming.” The whole article is worth a read; in particular, the problems solved to process five million pages of documents with OCR. “A recent batch of about 1.5 million pages only required about three days to convert to OCR.” Yow!
Civicist: New Spill Tracker Enlists Crowd To Help Monitor Pollution After Hurricanes. “After Hurricane Harvey hit Texas, a nonprofit organization that uses satellite imagery to monitor the environment launched a tool for citizens to report pollution caused by flooding. Built on the crowdmapping platform Ushahidi, the Harvey Spill Tracker maps reports of oil, chemical, or hazardous waste spills and other incidents based on satellite images, eyewitness accounts, and National Response Center alerts. Later today the organization will release an updated version that expands the region covered to parts of the country impacted by Hurricane Irma.”
PRNewswire: Hazard Map Now Available for Hurricane Harvey Affected Areas (PRESS RELEASE). “Mapbox has published a new map to give Houston officials and residents the most up-to-date information on the areas with the highest risk of hazardous materials in flood waters. The most up-to-date map can be found here. Using the most recent satellite images from DigitalGlobe paired with points of interest for superfund sites, refineries and other EPA toxic hazards in the greater Houston area, Mapbox created the map to highlight the areas of highest concern to help Houston police, other first responders and city officials plan for and mitigate issues associated with chemical plants, refineries and potential toxic contamination in flood waters.”
Residents of the state of New York have a new option to learn about their drinking water. “The What’s In My Water tool includes information about contaminants found through state and federal laboratory testing, and the location and nature of some potential threats to local drinking water. The map is searchable by zip code and maps.”