Tag Archives: air pollution

15 Most Toxic Places in the World

A greener future should not remain as just a dream

It’s been a while since I last wrote here. I miss writing a lot but there had been many things occupying hubby and I lately (one is on the search for a new flat/home!). We have a wonderful option and we hope we can still negotiate for a better deal. The unit is nice and big enough for a couple and in a quiet neighborhood. It’s not too far from Makati and Ortigas – yet it’s still in Quezon City! We are bent on staying in QC so we can bring our Bayantel phone+DSL subscription with us – we really just like their services. This makes me wonder again whether Bayantel will consider expanding their coverage. They really should! Anyway, I will blog again about our search for the new lovenest once we have moved in by end of the month.

I had really wanted to write more about our environmental problems (and solutions) so I hope this blog will start me ‘revved’ up again. :) Here then are the 15 most toxic places in the world (lifted from the website of Mother Nature Network). This list does not want to put judgement against any location, country or nationality. I guess the MNN site only wants to remind us all again about the precarious condition of our environment, and in the process, motivate us to do more concrete and effective steps in arresting the degradation around us! Here is the list then –

1. Citarum River, INDONESIA – considered as the most polluted river in the world (I saw the photo posted with the list and I really cringed because you can no longer see any ‘empty space’ on the river surface – everything is just covered with floating debris and garbage.)

2. Chernobyl, UKRAINE – of course, everyone knows that this is where the 1986 nuclear disaster happened.

3. Linfen, CHINA – the MNN site said it is considered as the place with the worst  air pollution in the whole world. The coal and soot from industries and vehicles make the air so dirty that your laundry will turn black even before it dries, if you hang it outside your window. Actually, this doesn’t seem ludicrous because even in Manila, our white shirts turn grayish-black  on the collars if we stayed outdoors the whole day.

4. North Pacific Gyre, PACIFIC OCEAN – not many of us know that we are already building an island of garbage and debris right in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. The waves naturally push garbage away from the shores and accumulate in the center. Experts say that the debris there is already about 30 feet below the ocean surface. Imagine?

5. Rondonia, BRAZIL – this is considered the most deforested area of the Amazon rainforest. It has reached this stage because of rampant and uncontrolled cattle ranching. Our very own forests will most likely reach the same stage if we don’t do something more urgent about the continuing forest denudation.

6. Yamuna River, INDIA – this is the largest tributary of the Ganges River and flows through Delhi. It is said that 58% of the city’s wastes are dumped here. (Sounds familiar? Our very own Pasig River may not be entirely different although it is commendable that efforts are now being done to revive it.)

7. La Oroya, PERU – this is where rampant mining operations are being done. It is described as a “soot-covered mining town.” Experts say that 99% of the children living in the area already have high lead level in their systems – levels exceeding the acceptable limit.

8. Lake Karachay, RUSSIA – it is considered as the most polluted spot on earth. It has become a nuclear dumping site where radiation level is too high that an hour of stay there (without a very modern breathing mechanism strapped to your body) will be enough to kill you.

9. HAITI – the whole country is so deforested that the recent earthquake made the place even more fragile. It used to enjoy 60% forested area but that size is now down to 2% and fast dwindling…

10. Kabwe, ZAMBIA – the soil has accumulated toxic levels of lead and cadmium due to rampant mining. The children there have lead levels in their systems 5 to 10 times higher than the permissible levels.

11. Appalachia, West Virginia, US – it is also a mining town where the prevalent system being used is called “removal mining” where whole mountaintops are removed. This system leads to soil erosion – which consequently causes run-offs of toxic chemicals and pollutants to the rivers and streams below.

12. Dzerzhinsk, RUSSIA – this is the most chemically-polluted place in the whole world. Chemical wastes are dumped here leading to death rates 200 to 250% higher than birth rates.

13. Riachuelo Basin, ARGENTINA – the river body easily became a receptacle for the garbage and dump of more than 3,500 factories and 13 slum communities around the water system. It also ‘hosts’ 42 open garbage dumps.

14. Vape, INDIA – it has become a dumping place for chemicals as it lies south of industrial estates. The level of mercury in the groundwater is 96% higher than safety levels. There is an alarming presence of heavy metals particles in the air and even in the local produce!

15. EARTH’s ORBIT (yes, you read it right) – around our home called Earth are 4 million pounds of space debris including nuts, bolts, metals, carbon and even a spacecraft! Can you imagine being thrown up there in the skies and dying NOT because of lack of ‘breathable’ oxygen but because you ran smack a floating spacecraft?

We don’t need a lengthy discourse just so we can be convinced to do something more concrete now, right? So please help us save this Earth. It is our only home.

Have a good life!

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This is not a paid blog. Reference: Website of Mother Nature Network.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin

Leonids meteors and much more

I woke up at almost 2:00 pm today and I have a good excuse for that. Leonids meteors.

From 2:00 to 4:00 am, hubby and I were lying down on borrowed carton and rubber mats (thanks to students and fellow astronomy fans out there), at the viewdeck of the PAGASA Observatory in UP Diliman Campus.  It became quite cold at around 3:00 am and that’s when we realized how stupid we were not to bring anything like mats and blankets! :) (Next time, we know better!)

Anyway, the long wait was definitely worth it. We started seeing meteors every 15 or 30 minutes or so. If my count is right, I have seen about 11 of them. Not bad for a 2-hour stay. The girl beside me who started their watch at about 9:00 pm said she was already on her 25th meteor by the time we were leaving. So using simple calculation, she have seen an average of 3 to 4 hours meteor an hour. Not bad too! (I must also thank her and her other friends who kindly shared their mats with me and hubby – who are total strangers in the dark!)

My favorite meteor happened sometime around 3:30 am – it left a bluish streak of light and the ‘train’ it created was thicker than the others I have seen this morning. It appeared below the Orion star constellation (at least from my vantage point of view). I shouted and clapped my hands along with the others who would also normally applause and cheer everytime a meteor arrives. Wow, if we had seen only one meteor that night, then it would already be worth the long and chilly wait.

Photo credits: Jim & Carol Harlan from Space(dot)Com

The other meteors were equally magical, leaving reddish, yellowish and mostly whitish glow along the dark skies. One even had an almost greenish tinge! According to the NASA website, “The color of many Leonids is caused by light emitted from metal atoms from the meteoroid (blue, green, and yellow) and light emitted by atoms and molecules of the air (red). The metal atoms emit light much like in our sodium discharge lamps: sodium (Na) atoms give an orange-yellow light, iron (Fe) atoms a yellow light, magnesium (Mg) a blue green light, ionized Calcium (Ca+) atoms may add a violet hue, while molecules of atmospheric nitrogen (N2) and oxygen atoms (o) give a red light. The meteor color depends on whether the metal atom emissions or the air plasma emissions dominate.”

Leonids meteors showers (taken in US skies)

Photo credits: Anthony Galvin from Space(dot)com

The news articles about the meteors showers predicted that there would be about 100 meteors appearing every hour but unfortunately, I think the visible ones numbered about five per hour only. I guess one reason is that the others were not visible to the naked eye anymore because of the clouds and yes, the level of pollution in Manila. I always think that ‘stars shine more brightly’ in the provinces because the air there is cleaner and therefore the skies are clearer. It makes sense because according to scientists, those ‘hazy’ skies are mostly caused by air pollution. One probable factor why we also didn’t see more meteors was the cumulative effect of city lights – I am very sure that we’d see more of the meteors had we been watching from, say, a secluded beach resort or a mountaintop. I hope we city dwellers will do something more concrete to combat air pollution, or we are doomed to a future with no more nights of stargazing and meteors-watching.

It was my first time to do stargazing again after a long while. This time, I have a husband beside me (who must have been thinking how the hell he ended up with a wife who would drag him into the dead of the night just so they can watch falling stars…hehehe). [Yes, hubby, expect more of nights and morning like that!]

I posted this in my Facebook today, “Looking at the expanse of the night skies with stars scattered all over like burning jewels, it made me think again about how mysterious, beautiful, perfect and energizing the universe is. Everything is just so perfect, the planets don’t colide, the earth just circles the sun in harmony with all the other planets, and we live, we breathe, we laugh…Ahhh, this is so full of mystery, so full of magic…”

God must really really love us all very much.

For more details about Leonid meteors and other astronomical facts, you may visithttp://leonid.arc.nasa.gov/meteor.html

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This is not a paid blog.

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2014 Mary Anne Velas-Suarin