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Sat, 24 Mar 2018
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Earth Changes


Future of the Sea report: Ocean plastic projected to triple within seven years

© NOAA Marine Debris Program / Flickr
Marine debris laden beach in Hawaii.
If we don't act now, plastic pollution in the world's oceans is projected to increase three-fold within seven years, according to a startling new report.

The Future of the Sea report, released Wednesday for the UK government, found that human beings across the globe produce more than 300 million metric tons of plastic per year. Unfortunately, a lot of that material ends up in our waters, with the total amount of plastic debris in the sea predicted to increase from 50 million metric tons in 2015 to 150 million metric tons by 2025.

Roughly 70 percent of all marine litter is plastic, and the effect of this non-biodegradable waste can be devastating for marine biodiversity.

Comment: Most of us are simply unaware.... that our ocean is being used as a trash can!


Two dogs maul child to death in Zimbabwe

canine attack
© Angela Antunes / CC by 2.0
A nine-year-old Beitbridge child yesterday died from injuries sustained after being attacked by two vicious Boerboel dogs while coming back from school.

Nyasha Zaina was pronounced dead at around 10am yesterday after staff at Beitbridge District Hospital battled to save her following the attack at around 4pm on Wednesday.

She was mauled all over her body, sutured on her head, thighs, backside and almost every limb. Medical staff said she lost a lot of blood.

The Boerboel, also known as the South African Mastiff, is a large, Molosser-type breed bred for the purpose of guarding homesteads. Bred as working farm dogs, Boerboels are some of the most powerful dog breeds in the world.

Cloud Precipitation

Central and northern New South Wales floods as 13 inches of rain falls in 48 hours in Australia

Flooding of the Bellinger River, at Bellingen Bridge.

Flooding of the Bellinger River, at Bellingen Bridge.
In just two days, more than 300 millimetres of rain has fallen in parts of eastern New South Wales, resulting in flash flooding.

A low pressure trough moving slowly along the NSW coast brought persistent rain and storms to parts of the Hunter and lower Mid North Coast during the last 36 hours.

The heaviest falls so far have occurred on the Barrington Tops, where a rain gauge at Careys Peak received 339 millimetres during the 48 hours to 9am today, Weatherzone recorded.

Cloud Lightning

Lightning bolt kills 4 family members in South Africa

The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) is on high alert after a warning of flash floods was issued by the South African Weather Services.

Heavy rains fell on Thursday and is expected to continue in most parts of the province into the weekend.

The inclement has already claimed the lives of a mother and her three children when lightning struck their home in eNgonyameni in the Jozini local municipality in the northern part of the province. The father was injured and taken to the nearest hospital and is in a critical condition.

Reacting to the incident, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, Cogta MEC, expressed her dismay at this occurrence as yet another family has lost its loved ones due to bad weather.


Horrifying footage as mass stranding of over 150 pilot whales hits Hamelin Bay, Western Australia

More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay, 10km north of Augusta, WA, early this morning.
© Parks and Wildlife Service
More than 150 short-finned pilot whales stranded en masse at Hamelin Bay, 10km north of Augusta, WA, early this morning.
A mass stranding of more than 150 pilot whales overnight has led to the deaths of most of those animals, in one of the largest beachings on Western Australia's southwest coast in several years.

After being alerted by a fisherman early this morning, wildlife officers discovered about 75 short-finned pilot whales already dead, with around 50 still alive but beached on the sand at Hamelin Bay, 10km north of Augusta on the state's southwestern tip.

But many whales have since died, according to senior marine operations officer for Parks and Wildlife John Edwards. At midday, volunteers and conservation officers were struggling to save 15 whales still swimming in shallow waters by guiding them back out to sea.

The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development issued a shark advice and warned people to avoid the area.


Mysterious rumble shakes homes in San Diego, California

Mystery boom in San Diego, CA
© NBC News
Several residents in San Diego County reported witnessing a strong rumble that shook their homes Monday morning.

NBC 7 first heard calls from locals wondering what it could be just after 9 a.m. Other San Diego County residents have written on the NBC 7 Facebook page that they also noticed the strange occurrence.

"My front door started rattling with no discernible wind," commented Pilar Shepard. "I thought maybe we'd had a small earthquake."


France's bird population undergoing catastrophic collapse from pesticides

Eurasian Skylark
© HBW Alive
Endangered Eurasian Skylark
Bird populations across the French countryside have fallen by a third over the last decade and a half, researchers have said. Dozens of species have seen their numbers decline, in some cases by two-thirds, the scientists said in a pair of studies - one national in scope and the other covering a large agricultural region in central France.

"The situation is catastrophic," said Benoit Fontaine, a conservation biologist at France's National Museum of Natural History and co-author of one of the studies. "Our countryside is in the process of becoming a veritable desert," he said in a communique released by the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), which also contributed to the findings.

The common white throat, the ortolan bunting, the Eurasian skylark and other once-ubiquitous species have all fallen off by at least a third, according a detailed, annual census initiated at the start of the century. A migratory song bird, the meadow pipit, has declined by nearly 70%.

The museum described the pace and extent of the wipe-out as "a level approaching an ecological catastrophe". The primary culprit, researchers speculate, is the intensive use of pesticides on vast tracts of monoculture crops, especially wheat and corn.

The problem is not that birds are being poisoned, but that the insects on which they depend for food have disappeared. "There are hardly any insects left, that's the number one problem," said Vincent Bretagnolle, a CNRS ecologist at the Centre for Biological Studies in Chize.

Comment: Humans destroy nature's balance and expect it to be better.

Snowflake Cold

Late cold weather grounds hundreds of frozen storks in Bulgaria

Safet Halil holds a stork in his farm backyard. He found five of the stranded birds, took them home and lit a stove to warm them up, before feeding them fish.
© Dimitar Dilkoff
Safet Halil holds a stork in his farm backyard. He found five of the stranded birds, took them home and lit a stove to warm them up, before feeding them fish.
What would you do if you encountered scores of distressed storks covered in ice lying in a snow-covered field? In Bulgaria, people have been taking them home.

A cold snap in the north-east of the country has stranded hundreds of the migrating birds this week, covering their wings in ice and grounding them.

"I found five frozen storks near the village road the day before yesterday," Safet Halil, 53, from the village of Zaritsa, near the town of Dulovo said on Wednesday. "I took them home, lit a stove to warm them and fed them fish."

Halil, a road maintenance worker, sparked a wave of support on social media on Monday and others in the region followed his example, with more than 40 birds sheltered inside people's homes, garages or barns.

Experts said the frozen wings had forced the birds to spend the night on the ground instead of perched on trees as usual.


Hundreds evacuated and 30 people are sent to hospital as Ijen volcano spews toxic sulphuric gas in Indonesia

Mount Ijen is seen the day after the crater was closed to visitors and many residents living on its slopes were forced to flee to avoid toxic gas near Bondowoso, East Java, Indonesia

Mount Ijen is seen the day after the crater was closed to visitors and many residents living on its slopes were forced to flee to avoid toxic gas near Bondowoso, East Java, Indonesia
Some 200 people have been evacuated with 30 needing hospital treatment after an Indonesian volcano belched thick clouds of sulphuric gas on Wednesday.

Residents were treated for vomiting and breathing difficulties after Mount Ijen in East Java province began spewing out noxious gas.

A popular tourist and mining site on the slopes of the mountain had to be closed until further notice.

'Because of this incident, the public - tourists or miners - are not allowed near the crater until further notice,' said Sutopo Purwo Nugroho, spokesman for the national disaster mitigation agency.

Cloud Precipitation

Storm and floods leave 3 dead and 1,000 displaced in São Paulo, Brazil

Flooding in São Paulo

Flooding in São Paulo
A heavy rainstorm in the city of São Paulo, Brazil, 20 to 21 March 2018, left 3 people dead, dozens of homes destroyed and more than 1,000 people displaced.

The storm began during the afternoon of 20 March and brought lightning strikes and strong winds, as well as heavy rain.

Brazil's Instituto Nacional de Meteorologia (INMET) says that around 50 mm of rain was recorded in Sao Paulo's Mirante de Santana weather station between 20 and 21 March 2018.

The storm downed more than 80 trees across the city. São Paulo Civil Defense reported over 50 incidents of flooding. Levels of the Pinheiros river that runs through the city remain high after the storm.