(Rice University 25 November 2013) Rice University researchers have found that gold and palladium nanoparticles can rapidly break down nitrites, a common contaminant in drinking water that often results from overuse of agricultural fertilizers. The nanoengineered catalysts were 7 1/2 times more efficient at reducing nitrites than previously studied catalysts made of palladium and aluminum oxide.
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ABC News Allyson Horn 3 December 2013
The State Government is reviewing the environmental compliance of billionaire businessman Clive Palmer’s Yabulu Nickel Refinery near Townsville in north Queensland.
The refinery’s operator Queensland Nickel had agreed to address water accumulation issues in its tailings waste dams by the start of this month.
The environment department says the spill risk of the dams does not meet environmental standards.
It says it will monitor the site to minimise the risk of waste spilling into the surrounding Great Barrier Reef.
The department says there is about two metres between the water level and the top of the dam.
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ABC news James Kelly 4 December 2013
A group of North Queensland cane farmers has pledged to improve their use of chemicals to reduce their toxic effects on the Great Barrier Reef.
But environmental group WWF says the deal does not go far enough in reducing nitrogen run-off.
A group of cane growers at Mackay signed up to the initiative known as SmartCane this morning.
Farmer Michael Deguara says the deal means using chemicals more effectively.
Science Alert University of Western Australia 28 November 2013
Each square kilometre of Australian sea surface water is contaminated by around 4000 pieces of tiny plastics that could affect humans as well as marine life according to researchers from The University of Western Australia and CSIRO Wealth from Oceans Flagship.
Their study published in the international journal Plos One reported the plastic particles were mostly a result of the breakdown of disposable packaging and fishing gear made of polyethylene and polypropylene. These two polymers are commonly used to make everyday items, such as water bottles and plastic cups.
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Brisbane Times Tony Moore 29 November 2013
In January 2013, topsoil blocked the Mt Crosby Water Treatment Plant after four times the level of the January 2011 floods washed downstream to the bay.
That meant the city of Brisbane was within hours of running out of drinking water.
Healthy Waterways report cards into the condition of greater Brisbane’s rivers, streams and Moreton Bay’s water continually show there is a serious problem emerging
Brisbane Times Tony Moore November 28, 2013
Brisbane, you have a problem.
And your problem is eroded topsoil.
Eroded topsoil from Lockyer Valley farms is Brisbane’s Achilles’ heel.
It is Brisbane’s Achilles’ heel because it will choke our drinking water.
Sydney Morning Herald Peter Hannam 27 November 2013
Australia’s coal seam gas industry has rejected a peer-reviewed report that suggests greenhouse gas emissions from drilling and fracking are 50 per cent worse than thought.
The Harvard University-led study found methane leaks from the US fossil fuel industry were far higher than official estimates. The Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association (APPEA) said it had no implications for the local industry, which claims coal seam gas is far cleaner than coal.
The result, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, contradicted a move by the US Environmental Protection Agency to cut its estimates of methane emissions from fossil fuel extraction and processing by 25 per cent to 30 per cent for 1990-2011. ”We find that [methane] data from across North America instead indicates the need for a much larger adjustment of the opposite sign,” the report said.
ABC News Margot O’Neill 26 November 2013
One of Australia’s largest and most diverse Antarctic expeditions heads south this week to update the precious scientific records made 100 years ago by explorer Sir Douglas Mawson.
Expedition leader Professor Chris Turney from the University of New South Wales says Mawson and his team collected hundreds of thousands of measurements on the frozen continent that have become critical to charting signs of global warming.