Articles on Water pollution

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One Nation’s Pauline Hanson says landholders’ constitutional water rights have been undermined by government changes – but is that true? AAP Image/Tertius Pickard

Could the Constitution protect farm water from coal seam gas?

The Australian Constitution says residents have the right to water from the rivers for irrigation and conservation purposes but governments have brought in laws that are restricting this – One Nation’s…
Rubbish strewn on beaches eventually ends up in one of the world’s giant ocean garbage patches. Vberger/Wikimedia Commons

Redrawing the map could reveal ocean garbage patch culprits

Most of us have littered at one time or another, and in the process we probably contributed to the enormous of amounts of plastic that enter the ocean every year, eventually ending up in one of the five…
Debris or not debris? Floating rubbish could hamper the search for MH370. AAP Image/AP Pool, Kim Christian

The difficulty of searching for MH370 in a giant rubbish patch

Frustratingly, the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has turned up many floating objects, but none of them are from the plane. That’s largely because the latest search area is likely to…
A large proportion of India’s Yamuna River is effluent. Ajay Tallam

The world has fresh water, but it’s full of poison

Images of the typhoon-ravaged Philippines were terribly confronting, vividly conveying what an angry planet can dish up. But amid the destruction and death, an important point was largely missed: the world’s…
Much of Australia’s waste plastic is ending up in the ocean, and in fish. John Schneider

Australian waters polluted by harmful tiny plastics

Each square kilometre of Australian sea surface water is contaminated by around 4,000 pieces of tiny plastics, according to our study published today in journal PLOS ONE and data repository Figshare. These…

Wetlands improve polluted streams

A team of US researchers has found that watershed wetlands can help to improve the quality of streams polluted by acid rain…
Metal-resistant trout: first Cornish rivers, then the world. Philthy54

The trout that like heavy metal

Contaminated during the surrounding area’s history of mining, the River Hayle in Cornwall contains metals including copper, zinc, nickel and cadmium at levels that can kill brown trout, a particularly…
Dredging of Tasmania’s Tamar Estuary reveals our sewerage systems aren’t coping so well. Ian Kidd

Sewerage systems can’t cope with more extreme weather

Anyone flushing a toilet in urban Australia today does so confident that they’ll never again see the thing they’ve flushed. They probably also think they are causing minimal environmental harm, thanks…
The poor condition of the Reef means we have to find better ways to improve water quality. Flickr/FarbenfroheWunderwelt

Great Barrier Reef report in: time to make polluters pay

Last week, the Australian and Queensland governments released a reef report card which found the overall condition of the reef in 2010-2011 was “poor”. This was compared to its “moderate” condition in…
Thousands of dead pigs pulled from a Chinese river are pushing China’s parliament to take the environment more seriously. Philippe Semanaz

Pigs and pollution: China can’t keep ignoring the environment

In a joke currently circulating on China’s most popular social media, Sina Weibo, a Beijing resident boasts about his happy life in the badly air-polluted capital, saying that every morning when he opens…

Life wells up from the deep

A variety of life has been discovered off the northern coat of Papua New Guinea. A team led by Professor Jim Thomas of Nova…
Rubbish in the ocean - marine debris - is a terrible threat to wildlife. Discarded fishing nets are among the worst. AAP Image/Department of the Environment and Heritage/Melbourne Zoo

Ghostnets fish on: marine rubbish threatens northern Australian turtles

Each year around 640,000 tonnes of fishing gear is lost or thrown overboard by the fisheries around the world. These “ghostnets” drift through the oceans and can continue fishing for many years. They kill…
The NSW Government recommends not eating fish caught west of Sydney Harbour Bridge. Gord McKenna/Flickr

Sydney Harbour’s toxic legacy shows value of green safety net

The story of dioxin contamination of Sydney Harbour shows us the great value of the green safety net of environmental law. The laws that form this green safety net, particularly federal laws, have recently…

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