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Honeybees are dying and it looks like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is responsible because of a system called “conditional registration” that expedites the process of getting pesticides to market.
Experts maintain that this lackadaisical formula has allowed dangerous chemicals to be sold to the public and used in commercial operations that have caused massive deaths of honeybee colonies and placed agriculture as a whole under constant threat.
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) states : “Insecticides conditionally registered in the early 2000s have been blamed for impairing honeybees’ immune systems; in the past five years, the honeybee population has declined 20 to 30 percent each year.”
The Government Accountability Office (GOA) found that the EPA has confused a “record-keeping system for tracking pesticides” that has contributed to the dangers to our ecosystem and the health of millions of Americans.
Problems with missing data while programs pushed through deadly chemicals to be purchased by the public under the guse of being safe has become normal at the EPA.
Although the EPA claims to have begun taking steps to correct these loopholes, they still assert that as long as the manufacturer of the pesticide follows the rules, there is not “unreasonable risk to the environment” and “the use of pesticide[s] is in the public interest” – not to mention the financial interest of producers of pesticides.
An estimated 16,000 pesticides are currently registered with the EPA.
No centralization of power and a lack of monitoring have resulted in handwritten notes and decisions based on memory being entered into files as legitimate documentation.
Earlier this year, researchers at Emory University and the University of California have studied bumblebees in Colorado and discovered that the most devastated impact is felt in the plants that are dying because of lack of pollination.
At a laboratory in Crested Butte, Colorado, Berry Brosi and Heather Briggs were assisted by numerous assistants who analyzed how species of bumblebees and utilized algorithms to assert that if other surviving species of bumblebees were to “pick up the slack”. Plant life would be able to recover.
It appears that bumblebees discriminated against a specific species of flower; the purple wildflower called Delphinium barbeyi (a type of larkspur).
Species of plant life have been in decline because of the sudden lack of bees worldwide.
In 2011, the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) released a report thatidentified an estimated “dozen factors, ranging from declines in flowering plants and the use of memory-damaging insecticides to the world-wide spread of pests and air pollution, may be behind the emerging decline of bee colonies across many parts of the globe.”
In the report, several key issues were mentioned:
• Viral fungal pathogens were destroying the bee colonies
• Migration of bees globally was observed
• Globalization of trade impacted bees
• Speices of plants are dying
• “Systemic insecticides” were causing toxicity in bees
• Climate change is disturbing flowering times
• Climate change is causing less quality pollen to be produced by flowers
A team of researchers at the Washington State University (WSU) have imported bee sperm from the European honeybee for storage and future fertilization.
Scientists want to fertilize American queen bees with European bee sperm to genetically engineer bees that are more resilient to a mysterious condition that coerces worker bees to abandon their hives to die.
The theory is that with this genetic manipulation, stronger bees can be created that will lead to healthier American insects.
The sperm that is not used in these experiments will be frozen for future use.
Residents of this city woke on Wednesday to a third day of thick gray smog which has disrupted dozens of flights and train services and caused a rash of health complaints. As Reuters reports, the toxic levels of pollution, fuelled by industrial growth a surge in the numbers of vehicles crowding their roads, are more than 7x what the nation deems safe and what the US EPA calls “hazardous”. But it’s not in China…
|French troops are to begin disarming rebel fighters across the Central African Republic, as thousands of foreign soldiers pour into the country in an effort to stop recent violence.
The plan to seize weaponry comes after the country’s president told Al Jazeera that he was not in complete control of his country.
Michel Djotodia said he could not stop armed groups operating, as a wave of killings left hundreds dead in just a few days.
“It is too much to say I have no control. I control my men. The men I can’t control are not my men,” said Djotodia, who came to power after a mainly Muslim armed group now known as Seleka overthrew President Francois Bozize earlier this year.
The former rebels who control the country were on Sunday patrolling neighbourhoods across the capital, Bangui, despite an order to return to their barracks.
The Red Cross says 400 bodies were found after three days of fighting between Seleka and a largely Christian armed group named Anti-Balaka [“anti-machete”, the weapon of choice of many Seleka fighters].
Meanwhile, thousands more international troops are on their way to the embattled country.
The African Union has about 2,500 troops there now, but is increasing that to 6,000.
In addition, the 1,200 French troops already in the country have been bolstered by the arrival of 400 more soldiers.
On Saturday, the country’s interim authorities ordered all forces except foreign peacekeepers and the presidential guard off the streets of Bangui, after a hospital in the capital was been attacked by Seleka rebels.
The armed men reportedly pulled injured victims from Bangui’s Amitie hospital, and shot dead at least 10.
The hospital has since been abandoned.
Al Jazeera has learned that the Anti-Balaka group contains elements of Bozize’s army, and is regrouping outside the capital, awaiting reinforcements.
French President Francois Hollande also said on Saturday it would be difficult for the current head of CAR to stay in place because he let the crisis there unfold.
“I don’t want to point fingers but we cannot keep in place a president who was not able to do anything, or even worse, who let things happen,” he said in an interview broadcast on the France 24 TV channel.
Hollande said elections should be held before 2015 when Djotodia’s mandate ends. “The idea is to head as fast as possible towards elections,” he said.
French forces started deploying to the north and west of the country to secure main roads and towns outside the capital, French army spokesman Gilles Jarron said on Saturday.
“Peacekeepers are patrolling the main roads. This is helping keep the looting down. But the atrocities are inside the neighbourhoods,” said Amy Martin, head of the UN officer for the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).
“If they can get into the neighbourhoods, we might start seeing a reduction in these crimes. The level of atrocities and the lack of humanity, the senseless killing defies imagination.”
The latest bloodshed started on Thursday as armed Christians from Anti-Balaka raided Muslim neighbourhoods, in a country that has been seeing tit-for-tat violence between rival armed groups since Bozize’s downfall in March.
Residents of a small town in northern Washington state may turn to courts to force a B.C. mining company to address what they say is a high prevalence of certain diseases in their community.
Northport, Washington, a town of about 375 people, is 30 kilometres downstream on the Columbia River from Teck Resources’ lead-zinc smelter in Trail, B.C.
Jamie Paparich, who grew up Northport, began an independent public health study two and a half years ago after observing that the number of people there with diseases such as Crohns, colitis, multiple sclerosis and thyroid disorders was unusually high with respect to the population.
“There is just too many people with all those illnesses in a small little town of 375. You don’t expect to know almost 20 people with multiple sclerosis in a town that small,” Paparich says.
That work caught the attention of a research group at Harvard University, who then followed up and confirmed a number of Paparich’s findings.
Now, top U.S. litigator Steve Berman, who made his name with class action law suits against companies like Enron, Exxon, Boeing and Rio Tinto, is visiting Northport to gauge support for a potential suit against Teck Resources.
“There’s time I think it’s so frustrating and nothing has gotten better,” says Paparich.
“But then stuff like this happens. The Harvard study is coming to a head and it’s going to blow the lid off things. And then these lawyers, who I have a lot of faith in, want to talk to town people. So I think it’s coming to a head.”
For its part, Teck has admitted to polluting the Columbia River, but says there is no proven link between its smelter and illness in Northport.
None of the allegations have been proven in court.
- Aviation biofuels about to take off? (mobile.wnd.com)
- ‘Biofuel sector needs government support’ (thehindu.com)
- Florida company announces mass production of biofuel made of waste (fromthetrenchesworldreport.com)
- Growing biofuels: how to reap rewards (theguardian.com)
- Sky’s the Limit – Aviation Biofuels About to Take Off? (prometheus.org)
- Less than 1 percent of tar-sands environmental infractions penalised (theecologist.org)
- Canadian minister: technological advancements will make oil sands cleaner (mining.com)
- No one knows how to stop these tar-sands oil spills (grist.org)
- Update: Study finds little environmental enforcement in oilsands infractions (calgaryherald.com)