Confronting threats to clean water

Nov 12, 2013

Despite the abundance of water on our planet, it remains a precious and sought after life-sustaining resource. Without the technology to provide safe, clean water to the masses, the general public would be consuming massive amounts of deadly bacteria daily. This is a case of the natural environment endangering humans. However, this can go both ways. Every year humans endanger the lives of millions of marine animals by (accidently) contaminating their water with oil. Oil spills dump thousands of tons of oil into the ocean every year affecting many species of animals.

Two recently published articles in Environment: Science and Policy for Sustainable Development give insight into these two similar situations. They focus on the issue of ; however, one addresses the implications on humans and the second focuses on the marine environment. You can access these articles for free until December 31, 2013.

"Access to Safe Water: A paradox in developed nations," unveils the complex process currently in place to provide safe drinking water in developed nations. This article focuses on combating the common public idea that water is a "throwaway' commodity. Developed nations need to shift their perspective about safe water; it is not a commodity but a necessity. Educating the public can lead to better management and other positive practices.

The second article, "Oil Pollution in the Marine Environment: Inputs, Big Spills, Small Spills, and Dribbles," discusses how (natural or human induced) affect the marine environment.

An important point in the article touched on petroleum composition. It is important to note because each component has different properties. For example, "When we ask questions about the fate and effects of an oil spill or other oil inputs, we are asking questions about the fate and effects of a complex mixture of different hydrocarbons… nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur containing material… even some small amounts of metals." Understanding this will help explain the effects different inputs of oil have on marine environment.

The author notes the different kinds of oil inputs, natural and human induced, and makes geographical comparisons of these inputs. He concludes how, as a result of humans' personal and corrective use of oil, we must "…adequately address the impacts of oil on the ". In other words, we must expand our knowledge of the problem in order to correctly rectify it.

Explore further: Discovery could lead to new way of cleaning up oil spills

More information: www.tandfonline.com/toc/venv20/current#.UoIJGvmTzfI

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

A complete solution for oil-spill cleanup

Oct 03, 2012

Scientists are describing what may be a "complete solution" to cleaning up oil spills—a superabsorbent material that sops up 40 times its own weight in oil and then can be shipped to an oil refinery and processed to recover ...

First 'microsubmarines' designed to help clean up oil spills

May 02, 2012

Scientists are reporting development and successful testing of the first self-propelled "microsubmarines" designed to pick up droplets of oil from contaminated waters and transport them to collection facilities. The report ...

Cold no curb on appetite

Sep 11, 2013

Living in a low temperature environment does not affect bacteria's appetite for hydrocarbons, according to recent research. This new knowledge could affect environmental risk assessment in the Arctic.

Recommended for you

More, bigger wildfires burning western US, study shows

15 hours ago

Wildfires across the western United States have been getting bigger and more frequent over the last 30 years – a trend that could continue as climate change causes temperatures to rise and drought to become ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Six Nepalese dead, six missing in Everest avalanche

At least six Nepalese climbing guides have been killed and six others are missing after an avalanche struck Mount Everest early Friday in one of the deadliest accidents on the world's highest peak, officials ...

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

There's something ancient in the icebox

Glaciers are commonly thought to work like a belt sander. As they move over the land they scrape off everything—vegetation, soil, and even the top layer of bedrock. So scientists were greatly surprised ...

Clean air: Fewer sources for self-cleaning

Up to now, HONO, also known as nitrous acid, was considered one of the most important sources of hydroxyl radicals (OH), which are regarded as the detergent of the atmosphere, allowing the air to clean itself. ...

Scientists tether lionfish to Cayman reefs

Research done by U.S. scientists in the Cayman Islands suggests that native predators can be trained to gobble up invasive lionfish that colonize regional reefs and voraciously prey on juvenile marine creatures.

Leeches help save woman's ear after pit bull mauling

(HealthDay)—A pit bull attack in July 2013 left a 19-year-old woman with her left ear ripped from her head, leaving an open wound. After preserving the ear, the surgical team started with a reconnection ...