Pollution

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Tracing the journey of microplastics in the Arctic

By now it’s well established that microplastics are a problem in the environment, even in the remotest parts of the planet. But where do different microplastics come from and how they get there, especially in the Arctic?

Finding ways to use less salt on snowy roads

It’s springtime in much of the northern hemisphere, although spring snowstorms are still possible. When that happens, salt trucks and ploughs help make roads safe. But road salt can be bad for the environment, and can rust cars, bicycles and other metal. New research shows that salt use can be safely — and substantially — cut in certain circumstances.

Making it easier to capture CO2 in the cement industry

Cement manufacture accounts for as much as seven per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions. A new hybrid technology makes it easier and less expensive to capture and purify CO2 produced by the industry. And the technology can be retrofitted to existing plants.

Clothing, furniture play a role in ocean and freshwater pollution

Lakes choked with algae and marine “dead zones” result from too many nutrients in the water. The traditional culprit is agriculture, which relies on fertilizer to boost plant growth. But the production of consumer goods, like clothing, is also a major — and growing — contributor.

New filter removes run-off chemicals

The filter will first be used to recover aircraft de-icing chemicals. In the future it will also be used in urban areas to remove environmental toxins, pollution and probably microplastics.

New study estimates the carbon footprints of 13,000 cities

Many see cities as the new front lines of the climate change fight. Identifying the mayors and city councils in cities with the biggest carbon footprints, and the most power to make big changes, could mobilize a wave of reinforcements.

Plastic in rivers and lakes a growing concern

Almost all research on plastic contamination in water systems focuses on oceans. But the biggest problem is plastic that ends up in freshwater ecosystems, according to an NTNU biologist.

Global hot spot maps link consumers with impacts

A new model creates global hot spot maps to illuminate how what we buy pollutes the planet and where. The idea is to help governments, industries and individuals target areas for cleanup.

Researching the dark side of microplastics

Minute particles of plastic, called microplastics, are everywhere. An international research team is now about to investigate how toxic microplastics are to marine animals such as plankton, crabs and fish, and to find out if such plastics accumulate in the food chain.

ABC — anything but coal

Policymakers, industry and government officials will have to invest US $2.5 trillion for electricity generation over the next 20 years. A new report presents the environmental costs and benefits linked to different renewable energy sources, and makes one thing abundantly clear: anything is better than coal.

Awash in trash at the top of the world

Every year, an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic waste blows, falls or flows into the world’s oceans. Earlier this autumn, participants in the annual Svalbard Course plucked up 512 kg of the stuff from just one beach in two hours.

Hope for the climate, hope for clean air

Climate talks in New York this week have offered a glimmer of hope that the world’s political leaders finally understand the need to act to curb global warming. An NTNU researcher says that these actions will have a beneficial side effect: cleaner air in some of the most polluted places on the planet.

The 80 per cent solution

By recycling used water, we can live with just a couple of buckets of fresh, clean water a day, while the rest of our water will come from recycled sources.