Oil Slicked Penguins Wash Ashore Dead in Argentina

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: May 12, 2006   View Article

Hundreds of dead Magellanic penguins covered in oil have washed ashore in recent days on the coast of Argentina, according to news reports.

Most have been found in the Cabo Virgenes nature reserve, about 1,350 miles (2,200 kilometers) southwest of Buenos Aires near the southernmost tip of Patagonia.

Several hundred more of the polluted birds have shown up alive, and rescue workers are scrambling to remove oil from the penguins’ feathers.

Sea Otter Recovery Threatened by Pollution, Researchers Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 5, 2006   View Article

Disease-causing agents and toxic chemicals running off the U.S. West Coast may be killing hundreds of southern sea otters each year in the prime of their lives, scientists say.

Sea otters normally live for about 15 years, but large numbers of dead breeding-age animals have been reported.

Some scientists believe the contaminants suppress sea otters’ immune systems, making the creatures more susceptible to infectious diseases.

Car Free Days Bring Quiet to Communities, Advocates Say

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 29, 2006   View Article

Beep beep. Vroom vroom. Thump thump.

The constant cacophony of honking horns, roaring engines, and booming car stereos has helped fuel a sixfold increase in noise pollution over the past 15 years that is driving people from cities, according to advocates for peace and quiet.

Wouldn’t it be nice, they ask, if cars were on the fringe of our daily lives?
To help find an answer, “car-free day” events held in a handful of cities across the U.S. are giving urban dwellers a taste for life with fewer—and in some cases no—cars.

Alaska Oil Spill Fuels Concerns Over Arctic Wildlife, Future Drilling

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: March 20, 2006   View Article

A recent spill of about 267,000 gallons (1 million liters) of oil in the tundra of Alaska’s North Slope is raising a new round of questions from environmental groups about proposed plans to open more land in the region to oil drilling.

The North Slope region of Alaska borders the Arctic Ocean and contains most of the state’s petroleum reserves. It is also home to thousands of migratory birds, caribou, and other creatures.

Old Fridges, Cars Slow Ozone Hole Recovery

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: December 8, 2005   View Article

Running low on sunscreen? Lost your sunglasses? Better buy some more.

The gaping hole in the ozone layer above Antarctica may take 15 years longer to recover than anticipated, scientists warned Tuesday, adding that old refrigerators and cars may be to blame.

Cleaning Big Cities’ Air “Not Rocket Science,” Expert Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: October 27, 2005   View Article

Hemmed in by mountains on three sides, the basin that houses Mexico City, Mexico, has some the dirtiest air in the world.

Pollutants spewed by power plants and tailpipes have nowhere to go. They stay within the city and compromise the health of thousands of people.

But it doesn’t have to be this way, according to Mario Molina, a Nobel laureate in chemistry who is affiliated with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge and the University of California, San Diego.

Synthetic Fragrances Harmful to Marine Life, Study Says

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: July 11, 2005   View Article

Synthetic fragrances commonly added to perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and dozens of other personal health care products are proving harmful to the marine environment and potentially to humans as well, according to marine scientists.

Also known as synthetic musks, the chemical compounds reportedly compromise a cellular defense mechanism that normally prevents toxins from entering cells. The mechanism is controlled by efflux transporter proteins embedded in cell membranes.

© 2008-2010 Collected Writings By John Roach