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The sea is naturally self-cleaning because most pollution is eaten by microorganisms living in the water. But that process takes time. Too much time, because as the tourist season is beginning in the Mediterranean, the coastlines can be damaged at any time by shipping accidents resulting in oil spills which are difficult to remove from the surface of the water.
Published: 1 October 2014
Today, we might take it for granted that mobile-phone cameras, desktop printers, medical equipment, automobile parts and other everyday items will continue to get smaller, lighter and more reliable.These enhancements seem so natural and gradual that we might not even realise it on a day-to-day basis.
Published: 9 September 2014
Objects showcased in museums or exhibitions are vulnerable to the effects of pollutants both from outside the building where they are housed as well as from potential substances found inside. Better measuring tools could enable curators and conservators of cultural artefacts to take the necessary steps to ensure their protection.
Published: 4 August 2014
Farmers around the world are united in their loathing of fruit flies. A new warning system developed by an EU-funded project to alert them of imminent infestation could save struggling farmers both time and money and cut down on pesticide use. Two companies are preparing to commercialise the results.
Published: 30 July 2014
They may sound exotic or obscure to most of us, but they are an integral part of our everyday lives, whether we know about them or not. Known as perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), they are chemical compounds which are used in a wide variety of industrial products, from food and drink packaging to fire-fighting foams, to dirt- or water-proofing treatments for carpets or clothing. The drawback is that these chemicals have now spread throughout the environment.
Published: 29 July 2014
One out of every two fish which we eat has not been caught in the sea but raised on a farm. Can aquaculture make fish tastier and more environmentally friendly? An experimental fish farming facility near Brest in France is taking part in a European project to connect aquaculture research centres across the EU.
Published: 17 July 2014
Changes in climate patterns, ocean circulation, as well as temperature and light-all related to climate change-are having a growing impact on marine ecosystems. Understanding how these factors, together with anthropogenic drivers (such as fishing and pollution), affect the environmental status of marine ecosystems is vital if we are to ensure that they are effectively managed.
Published: 30 June 2014
In recent decades the developed world has benefitted from a significant increase in the amount and variety of readily available food. But this abundance of food, often high in fat and sugar, may be also contributing to an increase in obesity.
Published: 27 June 2014
Large-scale industrial pollution of soil and groundwater is a well-known problem. Cleaning that pollution is far from easy because site managers may often have little knowledge of how the pollutant is behaving beneath the surface.
Published: 25 June 2014
Whatever we think about it, it is clear that surveillance has increased-it is hard to ignore as the topic frequently hits the headlines. But does it matter? The EU-funded IRISS project is intent on finding out. The team is looking at whether surveillance changes our behaviour, and how it impacts our basic rights. The conclusions will be presented to policymakers, together with recommendations.
Published: 18 June 2014