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Air quality across the world has reached toxic levels

It’s no secret that air pollution is a growing problem. But just how bad it is it ? Earlier this year, the air quality in London surpassed the toxic smog in Beijing — reaching a jaw-dropping 197 micrograms of particulate per cubic meter.
For the first time, London’s air quality is worse than China’s; experts say that this is the worst air quality reading London has had since 2011. London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan has even issued the highest air pollution alert in the capital city, citing the “filthy air” as a “health crisis.”
To put that all in perspective, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that PM2.5 and PM10 (particulate matter) stay at or below a mean value of 25 and 50 micrograms per cubic liter in any given 24-hour period, respectively. Their suggested yearly averages are 10 and 20 micrograms per cubic liter, respectively.
London’s 197 micrograms of particulate per cubic liter smashes those recommendations and is clearly an imminent risk to human health. And unfortunately, the rest of the world isn’t faring much better.

Global air pollution takes its toll

In the fall of 2016, the World Health Organization released a new air quality model that revealed approximately 92 percent the entire world’s population lives in places where the air quality exceeds the WHO’s limits on particulate matter.  And that’s just outside: indoor air pollution is a whole separate issue that is also increasingly problematic.
According to the WHO’s report, at that time approximately 3 million deaths each year are related to outdoor air pollution — though some estimates are much higher.
In February 2017, BBC reported that the number of deaths attributable to air pollution is nearly double that. Data from the Global Burden of Disease Project has revealed that the number of deaths from air pollution has actually reached some 5.5 million annually.
Dan Greenbaum from the Health Effects Institute, located in Boston, MA, explains, “In Beijing or Delhi on a bad air pollution day, the number of fine particles (known as PM2.5) can be higher than 300 micrograms per cubic metre.”
Greenbaum reiterates that the amount of PM2.5 should really be sitting around 25 or 35 micrograms.
According to the research, air pollution causes more deaths than malnutrition, obesity, unsafe sex, and alcohol and drug abuse. The Global Burden of Disease project ranks air pollution as the world’s fourth greatest risk for mortality. [RELATED: Keep up with the latest information on toxic substances at Toxins.news]
No country is exempt from the ill effects of air pollution. The Guardian reported last year:
In Delhi, where there are nearly nine million vehicles, the high court has compared conditions to living in a “gas chamber;” Beijing and 10 other Chinese cities have issued red alert warnings; in Tehran, where the chairman of the city council, Mehdi Chamran, says air pollution kills up to 180 people a day, the smog has been so bad that schools have been closed and sports banned.
China and India are known for their terrible air quality; in 2015, roughly half of all air pollution-related deaths occurred in these two countries.

Other adverse effects of air pollution

The damaging effects of air pollution do not only show up in terms of mortality. There are many other ways that nano-sized particles in the air can cause harm. For example, recent research from University of Southern California has  found that air pollution raises the risk of dementia by up to 92 percent.  The small size of the particulate allows it to cross through the linings of the nasal cavity and go directly to the brain. Once there, damaging inflammation ensues, as your brain (and other exposed bodily tissues) react to the presence of foreign material.
A 2012 review published by the Journal of Toxicology notes that numerous studies have linked air pollution to diseases of the central nervous system (CNS), strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and neuro-developmental disorders. Preliminary research has also shown that there are a variety of avenues for air pollutants to exert their negative effects, particularly in regard to the CNS.  The team also noted that the adverse effects air pollution has on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems is well-documented, but that study of its effects on the brain and the rest of the CNS have been largely neglected. [Related: Keep up with the latest research news at Scientific.news]
The researchers write in their conclusion, “Air pollutants have been, and continue to be, major contributing factors to chronic diseases and mortality, thereby dramatically impacting public health. Air pollution is a global problem and has become one of the major issues of public health as well as climate and environmental protection.”

Source: Natural News


June 30, 1908: The Tunguska Event

In the morning of June, 30 1908 eyewitnesses reported a large fireball crossing the sky above the taiga of the Stony Tunguska (PodkamennayaTunguska) in Siberia. A series of explosions was heard even in the 1.200km distant village of Achajewskoje. Various meteorological stations in Europe recorded seismic and pressure waves and in the following days strange atmospheric phenomena were observed, silvery glowing clouds, colourful sunsets and strange luminescence in the night.
Russian newspapers reported about a meteorite impact based on the eyewitness accounts and the hypothesis of Dr. Arkady Voznesensky (1864-1936), director of the Meteorological Observatory at Irkutsk from 1895 to 1917. International newspapers speculated about a possible volcanic explosion, remembering the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883. However the inaccessibility of the region and the instable political situation in Russia prevented further research.
Thirteen years later the Russian mineralogist Leonid Alexejewitsch Kulik (1883-1942), reading some of the eyewitnesses' accounts about an explosion and a large glowing object, became interested in the phenomena - there was also the hope to recover precious extraterrestrial metals from the supposed meteorite.
Kulik travelled to the city of Kansk, where he discovered further reports in the local archives. Most stories refer to large fireballs, flames and a sequence of 14 thunders. March 1927 he arrived at the outpost of Wanawara -then, April 13, Kulik discovered a large area of 2.150 square km covered with rotting logs and almost no tree still standing - the strange "Forest of Tunguska".

Despite an intensive survey, Kulik and his team didn't locate a single great impact crater as expected, but found some circular pits that were interpreted as impact craters of fragments; however no meteoritic material was discovered in the entire studied area.
In autumn 1927 a preliminary report by Kulik was published in various national and international newspapers, the destroyed forest and the event became known as the "Tunguska Event".
Kulik formulated one of the first hypotheses to explain the phenomena and the lack of evidence on the ground, as he proposed that a bolid exploded already in the atmosphere, causing the observed explosion and devastation. Fragments became buried in the swampy ground, to soft to preserve the typical morphology of an impact crater. Also later expeditions in 1929 failed to find extraterrestrial material.
In 1934 Sowjet scientists proposed a variation of the meteorite-hypothesis. A comet is composed mostly of ice, and would be completely vaporized in an explosion in the atmosphere.
The lack of direct evidence generated many more or less serious speculations and hypothesis: The engineer Aleksander Kasantsews formulated between 1945 and 1959, based on the impression left by the first atomic bombs, an unusual explanation involving a nuclear explosion of possible extraterrestrial origin.
American physicists published in 1973 in the journal Nature the idea that a small black hole collided with earth, causing some sort of matter-antimatter explosion.
The German astrophysician Wolfgang Kundt and later Jason Phipps Morgan of the Cornell University in Ithaca and Paola Vannucchi from the University of Florence proposed in the last years an ulterior hypothesis: "Verneshots", in reference to the author of the novel "A Journey to the Center of the Earth", are supercritical magma/gas mixtures erupting violently from the underground. According to the proposed model in areas with a thick earth crust or composed of resistant rocks (the region of Tunguska is covered by the basalts of the Siberian Trapps) magmatic intrusions and gases tend to build up pressure until the cover is shattered to pieces. Hot gases escape into the atmosphere, causing a huge explosion.
However the most compelling hypothesis remains the impact of a natural extraterrestrial object. This hypothesis is supported by the reports describing a fireball descending on the tundra, sedimentary features (the presence of nanodiamonds, magnetic- and silicate spherules in sediments) and the mapped distribution of the logs.
But there are some inconsistencies - accounts of a series of thunders are hard to reconcile with a single impact and the recovered sediments are not unambiguous, explainable also by the common background sedimentation of extraterrestrial material on earth.
In 2007 Luca Gasperini and his research team of the University of Bologna proposed a small lake as possible impact crater of a fragment of the meteorite that caused the explosion. Lake Cheko is unusually deep for a region characterized by shallow ponds, formed by melting permafrost. The lake was apparently not reported previously of 1908, however the region was poorly mapped and explored at the time. Also here the proposed evidence is not undisputed as seen in the published paper by COLLINS et al. in 2008.
Only the discovery of extraterrestrial material on the bottom of a lake would (may)be the decisive argument to settle the discussion of the mystery of Tunguska.



Wave of dead sea creatures hits Chile's beaches

Heaps of dead whales, salmon and sardines blamed on the El Nino freak weather phenomenon have clogged Chile's Pacific beaches in recent months.
Last year, scientists were shocked when more than 300 whales turned up dead on remote bays of the southern coast. It was the first in a series of grim finds.
At the start of this year, a surge in algae in the water choked to death an estimated 40,000 tons of salmon in the Los Lagos region, where the Andes tower over lakes and green farming valleys down to the coast.
That is about 12 percent of annual salmon production in Chile, the world's second-biggest producer of the fish after Norway.
This month, some 8,000 tons of sardines were washed up at the mouth of the Queule river. And thousands of dead clams piled up on the coast of Chiloe Island.
Authorities blamed a "red tide" of algae.
They banned fishing in the affected region, putting thousands of fishermen out of work.
"We have red tides every year in southern Chile, but this time it reached further north," said Jorge Navarro, a researcher at the marine institute IDEAL.
"It affected bivalve populations (such as clams) that had never before been exposed like this" to the algae, he said.
On the shores of Santa Maria Island off the center off Chile's long coast, cuttlefish have been washed up dead in the thousands.
Various beaches in the center of the country were closed meanwhile as the specimens of the dreaded Portuguese Man-of-War jellyfish, normally foreign to the area, floated nearby.
- Shifting oceans -
Scientists largely blame the anomalies on El Nino, a disruptive weather phenomenon that comes with warming sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific.
With its 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) of Pacific coastline, Chile is particularly exposed to the effects of El Nino, which strikes every few years.
"We think that a common factor in the deaths of creatures in southern Chile, in the salmon farms and in fish off the coast is the El Nino phenomenon," said experts at the Chilean fisheries institute IFOP.
The current El Nino "has been classed as one of the most intense in the past 65 years," they told AFP in a statement.
Warmer sea water can lead to greater quantities of algae. They kill others species by consuming oxygen in the water or filling it with toxins.
"The Chilean ocean is shifting and changing," said Sergio Palma, an oceanographer at Valparaiso Catholic University.
"There has been a series of events that indicate an El Nino which is making its presence felt in many ways."
- Fish farming impact -
But scientists also suspect other causes for the mass destruction of the sea creatures.
The huge toll of whales last year "could be caused by a natural ecological process" that may be nothing to do with what killed the sardines and clams, said Laura Farias, an oceanographer at Concepcion University.
"There is no ecological, oceanographic or climatic explanation" linking the whales to the other incidents, she said.
She suspects the growth of fish farming in Chile's southern Patagonia region is to blame for killing the salmon and clams.
"There are studies indicating that in Patagonia the greater occurrence of toxic blooms could be a consequence of aquaculture."
Various scientists have said the current El Nino seems to be subsiding, causing the surface of the sea to cool slowly.
The mass destruction of sea life has been a wake-up call, however.
"Chile still lacks information about the sea," said Valesca Montes, a fisheries specialist at the Chilean branch of the World Wildlife Fund.
"It has to invest in oceanographic studies, so that we can predict certain events" and be better prepared for climate change.


Mysterious fish die-off in Lake Toba, the largest volcanic lake in the world, terrifies residents

Lake Toba is the largest volcanic lake in the world occupying the caldera of a supervolcano on the Island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

Millions of fish were found dead by fishermen between May 3 and May 5, 2016. Officials are unable to find the source of the mass killing but think it is linked to the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water. Could the drop in oxygen content in the north-east of lake Toba be the result of volcanic activity of some kind?

  It all started one month ago, when fishermen at Lake Toba started to find dead fish in their nets.

lake toba mass die-off, lake toba fish mass die-off, lake toba eruption, volcanic unrest lake toba, mysterious fish kill lake toba, mysterious mass die-off lake toba, lake toba supervolcano eruption
via Beritasatu
But the mysterious die-offs have suddenly increased beginning of this month, when professional fishermen caught more than 320 tones (May 3, 2016) and then 800 tons (May 5, 2016) of dead fish… In overall about 1500 tones in 3 days! So millions of fish!

lake toba mass die-off, lake toba fish mass die-off, lake toba eruption, volcanic unrest lake toba, mysterious fish kill lake toba, mysterious mass die-off lake toba, lake toba supervolcano eruption
via Vulkania.ru
Fishermen report these apocalyptical fish kills have never happened before. Normally, they only find a few dead fish. But this time, all the fish are dead.

 Officials aren’t able to clearly pinpoint the cause of this still unexplained mass die-off but believe it is related to the lack of dissolved oxygen in the water.

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