Seabirds on one of Australia’s remotest islands have plastic in their stomachs.
A recent survey found more than 95 per cent of the migratory flesh-footed shearwaters nesting on Lord Howe Island, between Australia and the northern tip of New Zealand, had swallowed plastic garbage.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, plastic has been shown to bind poisonous pollutants. As a result, some shearwaters were found with concentrations of mercury more than 7,000 times the level considered toxic.
Smoke-belching coal-fired power stations and factories and fossil fuel-guzzling motor vehicles may be seen as the big villains of the global climate change debate, but they aren’t the only ones contributing to the greenhouse effect.
Australia’s hundreds of millions of cattle, sheep, pigs and other agricultural animals – not to mention our native fauna – also release significant amounts of methane and other gases into the atmosphere.
Sugarcane is one of nature’s most efficient natural converters of sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into fuel or biomass – and as such, it is perhaps the world’s fastest growing and largest biomass agricultural crop.
The strategic planning of open pit mining projects that span several decades is critical to achieving maximum project value.
To address this issue, BHP Billiton Global Technology has developed a mine planning optimisation software tool called Blasor™. By using optimal mine planning software, strategic planners can now determine ultimate pit sizes and pit development plans that deliver maximum value over the life of the mine.
In Australia we call them bushfires. In other parts of the world they are called forest fires, and global climate change and increasing human populations mean they are increasing in frequency and ferocity.
A team of Queensland researchers have discovered the genetics that underlies the one molecule that lobsters, prawns and other crustaceans use to make the complex coloured patterns appreciated by biologists and connoisseurs of seafood.
The work of Dr Nick Wade and colleagues will help with conservation and aquaculture, and may even lead to a new food colourant. The colour of seafood is directly linked to its acceptability as food. Highly coloured lobsters and prawns attract a premium price. And for the crustaceans themselves, it’s a matter of survival.