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Pollution

WNYC News

Wayward Dolphin Dies in Polluted Gowanus Canal

Friday, January 25, 2013

A wayward dolphin that swam into a polluted canal on Friday died before high tide, marine experts said.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

The Link Between Lead & Violent Crime

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kevin Drum, columnist for Mother Jones, discusses studies that demonstrate a link between the concentration of lead in the atmosphere and violent crime rates.

 

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Petrochemical America

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Kate Orff, an assistant professor at Columbia University and founder of SCAPE, a landscape architecture studio in Manhattan, discusses the causes of sustained environmental abuse along the largest river system in North America. The book Petrochemical America combines Richard Misrach's photographs of Louisiana's "Chemical Corridor" with Orff's "Ecological Atlas"—a series of speculative drawings developed through intensive research and mapping of data from the region

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The Leonard Lopate Show

The Shape of the Air

Monday, December 31, 2012

William Bryant Logan takes a close look at the air that surrounds us—what it is and what it does. In Air: The Restless Shaper of the World is an examination of the air we breathe, from the pure to the polluted.

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WNYC News

EPA Proposes Gowanus Canal Cleanup Plan

Thursday, December 27, 2012

WNYC

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has released its proposal to clean up the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.

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Soundcheck

Noise Pollution: Once In Cities, Now In Seas

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Thanks to humans, the world's oceans today are noisier than ever: Submarine sounds created by commercial ships, air guns and torpedoes have become a major issue -- particularly for mammals like whales and dolphins.

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WNYC News

After Gowanus Canal Floods Its Banks, Fears of What's Left Behind

Friday, November 16, 2012

WNYC

Businesses along the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn fear toxic contamination may have tagged along with flood waters during Sandy’s vicious storm surge.

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Transportation Nation

This is What Air Pollution Sounds Like

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Oil pump near Taft, California (photo by Anna Conti via flickr)

Researchers in California have translated air pollution into futuristic soundscapes.

The website Atlantic Cities reports that scientists at University of California-Berkeley collected air samples from different locations across the state, then assigned tones to the different chemicals they found.

The authors write: "You can actually hear the difference between the toxic air of a truck tunnel (clogged with diesel hydrocarbons and carcinogenic particulate matter) and the fragrant air of the High Sierras."

Give it a listen.


According to the researchers, Bakersfield -- a town situated in California's Central Valley -- sounds a lot like Oakland's Caldecott Tunnel.  This is "the result of fresh hydrocarbons from a main trucking highway and oil and gas fields surrounding the sampling site."

Despite decades of progress, Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of death due to air pollution. The American Lung Association gives failing grades to more than half of California's counties.

Read more over at Atlantic Cities.

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WNYC News

To Get Cleaner Air in the Bronx, Environmental Officials Crackdown on Polluters

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

State environmental officials are working with community groups, elected representatives and businesses to enforce air pollution laws in the Bronx.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Andrew Blackwell talks about traveling to the most polluted places on Earth and considers what they mean for us. Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures in the World's Most Polluted Places is equal parts travelogue, expose, environmental memoir, and faux guidebook.

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New Jersey News

Vote on Controversial Newark Power Plant Expected This Week

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

WNYC

A vote on whether to allow Hess to build a controversial natural gas power plant in Newark will go in front of the city's planning board this week.

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Transportation Nation

NYC, 44 Other Regions, Blow 2008 Smog Standards

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

(photo by: harry_nl)

(New York -- WNYC) New York City and surrounding suburbs currently blow past smog limits set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The agency’s latest data, released Tuesday, found that forty-five areas of the country fail to meet air quality standards for ground level ozone.

The standards were set by the Bush Administration in 2008. They allow 75 parts of smog per billion cubic feet of air. As you can see on the map below, pockets of the country in almost all regions fail to meet air quality standards, but the bulk of "nonattainment" areas are along the Northeast corridor and throughout California. (See the EPA's designations for each area here.)

The agency said that the noncompliant areas were assigned a classification based on how close they are to meeting the standards. The classifications range from marginal to moderate, serious, severe and extreme. Most of the areas that do not meet the standards, including the New York region, are classified as marginal – that is, closest to meeting the standards.

The EPA said it expects these areas would be able to comply within three years, usually as a result of recent and pending federal pollution control measures.

“The standards are too weak,” said Frank O'Donnell, president of the DC-based non-profit environmental group Clean Air Watch. O’Donnell is pushing for the EPA to move ahead with low-sulfur gasoline. “Now that gasoline prices are dropping, we urge the House Energy and Commerce Committee to drop plans to kneecap EPA authority to see cleaner gas standards,” said O’Donnell.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office said in a statement that the city has made progress on cleaner air... cutting greenhouse gasses by 12 percent below 2005 levels.

In an email, an EPA spokeswoman said it was a “coincidence” that the data was released on May 1st, World Asthma Day. Smog can reduce lung function and aggravate asthma.

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WNYC News

City Focuses on Green Infrastructure to Stop Sewage Pollution

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The New York City Department of Environmental Protection wants to improve ways to prevent sewage from polluting local waterways during heavy rainfalls through a long-term plan involving green infrastructure.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Plastic Ocean

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Captain Charles Moore, environmentalist and researcher, talks about discovering of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the summer of 1997, when he was sailing from Honolulu to California. In Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Ocean Moore looks at the secret life and hidden properties of plastics—from milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

EPA Watch List

Monday, November 14, 2011

Elizabeth Shogren, who covers environmental stories on the national desk at NPR, and Jim Morris, project manager at the Center for Public Integrity, discuss a joint project from NPR and CPI, which found that the Environmental Protection Agency maintains a watch list of the worst polluters in the country.

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The Leonard Lopate Show

Plastic Ocean

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Captain Charles Moore, seafaring environmentalist and researcher, talks about discovering of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the summer of 1997, when he was sailing from Honolulu to California. He had stumbled upon the largest garbage dump on the planet-a spiral nebula where plastic outweighed zooplankton, the ocean's food base, by a factor of six to one. In Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Ocean Moore looks at the secret life and hidden properties of plastics—from milk jugs to polymer molecules small enough to penetrate human skin or be unknowingly inhaled.

Comments [15]

WNYC News

Unsafe Levels of Sewage Found in the Hudson River: Report

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

A new report from the environmental group Riverkeeper confirmed what many New Yorkers long suspected: sewage pollution can make the Hudson River unsafe for swimming.

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WNYC News

City Closes Four Beaches Due to Spilled Sewage

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The city has now closed four beaches — one in Brooklyn and three on Staten Island — after a wastewater treatment facility dumped hundreds of millions of gallons of raw sewage into the Hudson River following a four-alarm fire last week.

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The Brian Lehrer Show

Hudson River Sewage Discharge

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cas Holloway, NYC's Department of Environmental Preservation Commissioner, discusses the millions of gallons of sewage released into the Hudson after a fire at the North River Wastewater Treatment Plant in Harlem this week.

Comments [16]

The Leonard Lopate Show

Mann v. Ford

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Co-directors Maro Chermayeff and Micah Fink discuss their documentary “Mann v. Ford,” about one of the worst environmental disasters in the United States, which was located just 19 miles from New York City. This toxic Superfund site is at the former home of the Ford Motor Plant in Mahwah, NJ, where thousands of cars were produced, along with toxic paint sludge, which was dumped on nearby Ramapough Mountain Indian land. This film tells the story of Wayne Mann, the leader of a small Native American community, who stands up to Ford. “Mann Vs Ford” is playing July 18 at 9 pm on HBO.

Comments [13]