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Despite firefighters' efforts, the Hazelwood mine fire showered the nearby town of Morwell with pollution. AAP Image/Country Fire Authority

Dirty air, dodgy politics: why it’s easier to attack science than listen to Morwell fire death stats

I’m quite nervous about writing this. I’m going to stray from my familiar academic world into a political one, and it’s on an issue that may very well have killed several people. My reputation has already…
Ice cores reveal that Antarctica was polluted long before Scott and Amundsen set foot there. Andrew Mandemaker/Wikimedia Commons

Our pollution reached Antarctica long before the great explorers

Lead pollution from Australia reached Antarctica in 1889 – long before the frozen continent’s golden age of exploration – and has remained there ever since, new research shows. In our study, published…
Is that an volatile organic compound I can smell, or your aftershave? Lei Han

City parks are good for people, but not so good for buildings

While city planners have been encouraged to plant trees and gardens to green the city for the health of its inhabitants, recent research has found that the same trees can damage certain buildings. Our…
Pollution on an industrial scale. SARIN KUNTHONG

Cutting emissions now makes business sense for industry

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report tells us that CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise and that, unchecked, climate change will likely…
The South Australian town of Port Pirie – home to a historic smelter – has some of the worst reported toxic air pollution in Australia. Photo by Imre Hillenbrand www.universalfocus.com.au

Australia’s dirty secret: who’s breathing toxic air?

Australians living in poorer communities, with lower employment and education levels, as well as communities with a high proportion of Indigenous people, are significantly more likely to be exposed to…
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…
Canary where? Stefan Rousseau/PA

Smog cloud is the same old pollution with a Saharan twist

It might seem strange to some that dust from the Sahara is falling on their cars in England. Stranger still, that Saharan sand is mixing with general air pollution from both continental Europe and the…
Thick haze has shrouded Shanghai for the past week, in the latest instance of extreme air pollution. Wikimediacommons/Galaxyharrylion

Shanghai’s ‘airpocalypse’: can China fix its deadly pollution?

The current “airpocolypse” emergency in Shanghai - which has seen schoolchildren ordered indoors to protect them from the polluted air, flights grounded and companies ordered to cut production - comes…

Pollution and genes increase autism risk

Air pollutants may increase the risk of autism in people who have a genetic disposition to the condition. US researchers…

Plastics contaminate subalpine lakes

Potentially dangerous plastics and microplastic particles are contaminating subalpine lakes at a rate similar to levels found…
The secret killer. United Nations Photo

Thousands die early due to air pollution

A recent MIT study claims that total combustion emissions in the US account for about 200,000 premature deaths per year. This enormous figure is not unique. In the UK, roughly 29,000 premature deaths are…

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