Current Issue

Digital & Print Edition

Neonic’ bug sprays awful news for honey bees: study

| 08/18/2016

A widely-used class of insecticides called neonicotinoids has contributed to the large-scale and long-term decline of wild bees, according to research unveiled Tuesday.A study covered 62 species from 1994 to 2011, examining the impact of exposure to the pesticide, which was used to treat oilseed rape crops in England.

In five of the species, including the spined mason and furrow bees, the chemicals accounted for at least 20 per cent of local population extinctions, researchers estimated.

And compared to bees that foraged on a wide range of flowers, decline was three times more pronounced among species - such as the buff-tailed bumblebee - that feed regularly on the rapeseed.

The findings, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications is timed to inform a review by the European Food Standards Authority (EFSA) on the overall risks associated with so-called ‘neonic’ pest killers. The review is scheduled for completion by January 2017.

The results also bolster small-scale and short-term studies that have previously fingered neonics as a culprit in bee decline, especially species bred for pollination and honey production.

Unlike contact pesticides - which remain on the surface of foliage - neonicotinoids are absorbed by the plant from the seed phase and transported to leaves, flowers, roots and stems.

They have been widely used over the last 20 years, and were designed to control sap-feeding insects such as aphids and root-feeding grubs.

“Our results have implications for the conservation of not only bee communities in intensively farmed landscapes, but the capacity of these systems to maintain stable crop pollination services,” said lead author Ben Woodcock, a researcher at the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Oxfordshire.

Neonics are deemed to be only one of several causes for the dramatic decline in bee colonies, especially in Europe and the United States.

“It is unlikely that they are acting in isolation,” Woodcock said in a statement.

“Habitat loss and fragmentation, pathogens, climate change and other insecticides” are other likely factors, he said.

Previous studies have found neonicotinoids can cause bees to become disorientated such that they cannot find their way back to the hive, and lower their resistance to disease.

Recent experiments showed that the insecticides also diminish the viability of bee sperm.

The European Union (EU) has placed a moratorium on the sale of neonicotinoids, though some European countries continue to use them under various exemptions.

Wild bees provided crop pollination services worth billions. A recent study estimated that value at more than $3,250 (2,950 euros) per hectare ($1,300 per acre) each year.

Bees of all kinds account for an estimated 80 per cent of plant pollination by insects.

Source: The Hindu


  • Tackling the scourge of plastic with bags made of cassava starch

    | 02/18/2017

    From bags washing up on Bali's beaches to food packaging scattered across roads and clogging waterways in cities, Indonesia is facing a plastic waste crisis driven by years of rapid economic growth. Now an entrepreneur from Bali, disgusted at the rubbish littering the famous holiday island, is ...More

  • Rs. 50,000 fine for airlines if planes empty human waste on air

    | 20/12/2016

    The menace of human waste being splattered on houses from airplanes while landing, today led the National Green Tribunal (NGT) to slap a fine of Rs. 50,000 on the airline whose aircraft empties toilet tanks on air. The NGT directed aviation regulator DGCA to issue a circular to all airlines, whose ...More

  • India to ban release of potent greenhouse gas

    | 10/15/2016

    Environment Minister Anil Dave has said India will no longer permit the release of HFC-23, a family of potent greenhouse gases, released when local companies produce the refrigerant HCFC-22. Mr. Dave is at Kigali, Rwanda, in the midst of thrashing out a deal with the developed countries to amend th...More

  • GST rate on polluting items may be higher : Jaitley

    | 10/15/2016

    Within days of India signing the Paris Agreement to curb greenhouse gas emissions, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley today said tax on environment unfriendly products will be “distinct” from others in the forthcoming GST regime so as to boost funds for climate financing. “The indirect tax regime t...More

  • British Petroleum abandons Great Australian Bight drill plans

    | 10/12/2016

    British oil giant BP Tuesday ditched plans to drill in the Great Australian Bight after reviewing its global exploration programme, a decision environmentalists hailed as a victory for the pristine wilderness. The company had wanted to drill four deep exploration wells in waters off the South Austr...More

  • NGT directs Delhi govt to shut pickling units in city

    | 10/06/2016

    NEW DELHI: Noting that pickling units fall under prohibited list of industries as per Master Plan 2021, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Delhi government to shut down such industries units located in the national capital with immediate effect. Pickling is a metal surface treatment u...More

  • Paris climate pact to enter into force on Nov. 4

    | 10/06/2016

    The Paris Agreement on climate change will enter into force on November 4, as enough countries have signed onto the landmark accord to bring it to the emissions threshold that will trigger its implementation, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has said. “This is a momentous occasion,” Secretary-Gener...More

  • Paris Agreement to enter into force in November

    | 10/06/2016

    In a historic vote held at the plenary session of the EU Parliament in Strasbourg, a majority of the members voted in favour of ratifying the Paris Agreement. The vote paved the way for the entry into force of the Agreement - to keep global warming levels less than 2°C above pre-industrial level...More

  • Justin Trudeau unveils Canada carbon price plan for 2018

    | 10/04/2016

    Canada will impose a national minimum carbon price in 2018 in order to meet its Paris accord commitment to slash greenhouse gas emissions, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. “All Canadian jurisdictions will put a price on carbon pollution by 2018... To get there, the government will set a fl...More

  • Indian NGO bags UN climate award for clean energy project

    | 10/04/2016

    An Indian NGO, Swayam Shikshan Prayog, has bagged the UN climate award this year. The NGO, which trains women to become clean energy entrepreneurs across Maharashtra and Bihar, is one of the 13 projects to be recognised at the forthcoming UN climate summit in Marrakesh in November. In an official r...More

  • Air pollution to blame for traffic accidents: study

    | 10/04/2016

    London: Air pollution may be responsible for hundreds of car accidents a year, as toxic air may impair driver fitness, a new UK study has found. Researchers from the London School of Economics divided the UK into a grid of 32 areas each covering about 7,700 square kilometres and mapped accidents to...More

  • Will the Paris agreement be ratified by end of 2016?

    | 10/09/2016

    If there is one question that climate treaty watchers are speculating on the world over, it is this: Will the Paris agreement be ratified by end of 2016? The treaty that was negotiated at the UN summit in Paris last year can enter into effect only 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for ...More

  • Elephant seals to measure changing ocean currents

    | 08/31/2016

    Scientists have used a group of elephant seals to observe changes in the circulation of the world’s oceans reveals a recent research.The international researchers led by the University of Tasmania’s Dr. Guy Williams, used sensors attached to 20 elephant seals to measure water temperature...More

  • UK air quality shows little improvement over past 20 years, says study

    | 08/30/2016

    There has been little improvement in air quality over the past 20 years as transport planners focus on preventing road deaths, according to a study. Two university academics set out to try to understand why there has been little improvement in air pollution concentrations from road transport since t...More

  • Global warming is melting the Greenland Ice Sheet, fast

    | 08/27/2016

    A new study measures the loss of ice from one of world’s largest ice sheets. They find an ice loss that has accelerated in the past few years, and their measurements confirm prior estimates. As humans emit heat-trapping gases, we expect to see changes to the Earth. One obvious change to be on ...More

  • India ranked 77 in disaster risk index of the world

    | 27/08/2016

    While Bangladesh is among the top five countries at risk of disaster, India ranks 77 on the World Risk Index - marginally better positioned than Pakistan which is placed at 72. The index is part of the World Risk Report 2016 released on Thursday by the United Nations University Institute for Environ...More

  • Human-induced climate change began earlier than previously though

    | 08/25/2016

    Continents and oceans in the northern hemisphere began to warm with industrial-era fossil fuel emissions nearly 200 years ago, pushing back the origins of human induced climate change to the mid-19th century. The first signs of warming from the rise in greenhouse gases which came hand-in-hand with t...More

  • Study measures methane discharge from Arctic permafrost

    | 08/25/2016

    The project, led by UAF researcher Katey Walter Anthony, studied lakes in Alaska, Canada, Sweden and Siberia where permafrost thaw surrounding lakes led to lake shoreline expansion during the past 60 years. Using historical aerial photo analysis, soil and methane sampling, and radiocarbon dating, th...More

  • Deforestation brought on decreased precipitation in Ganga Basin, NE India

    | 08/24/2016

    Using satellite data and regional climate models, IIT Bombay researchers have found that deforestation (converting woody savannah to crop land) in northeast India and north-central India has led to a 100-200 mm reduction in summer monsoon rainfall in these two regions. The land use information is ba...More

  • New bits of knowledge into the relationship amongst erosion and tectonics in the Himalayas

    | 08/24/2016

    Earth's climate interacts with so called surface processes -- such as landslides or river erosion -- and tectonics to shape the landscape that we see. In some regions, the sheer force of these processes has led scientists to believe that they may even influence the development of tectonics. An i...More

  • Off South Africa s coast, great white sharks are threatened

    | 08/23/2016

    On the edge of a boat off this coastal village, Michael Rutzen stubs his cigarette into a soda can and stares pensively out to sea. Extensive research by Rutzen and his marine biologist partner, Sara Andreotti, has found that great whites off the South African coast are rapidly heading for extinctio...More

  • More than 80,000 cautioned to empty seething California rapidly spreading fire

    | 08/21/2016

    An evacuation order has been issued for over 80,000 people due to a massive wildfire that has ripped through rural communities outside Los Angeles California.Authorities on Wednesday warned 82000 residents in San Bernardino County to evacuate from the fast-moving fire that began on Tuesday in Cajon ...More

  • Scotland’s wind turbines cover all its electricity needs for a day

    | 08/21/2016

    High winds on Sunday were strong enough to power the equivalent of all of Scotland’s electricity needs for the day, according to environmentalists.The Met Office issued a yellow “be aware” weather warning covering much of the country as wind speeds reached 115mph on the top of the ...More

  • Seventh-Largest Greenhouse Gas Emitter Becomes First Major Economy To Formally Accept The Paris Agreement

    | 08/21/2016

    When 175 countries and parties officially signed the Paris Agreement on Earth Day this year, it marked a critical next step in the fight to stop climate change. But signing the agreement in front of the cameras at the UN is only the first step. Approval of it back at home is another altogether. Why ...More

  • Climate change alters the rules of sperm competition in the sea

    | 08/19/2016

    Researchers from the University of Exeter have shown that increasing ocean acidification, brought about by human made carbon emissions, reduces sperm performance in a species of sea urchin, slowing down sperm in future ocean conditions. Interestingly, they found that different males were affected to...More

  • Neonic’ bug sprays awful news for honey bees: study

    | 08/18/2016

    A widely-used class of insecticides called neonicotinoids has contributed to the large-scale and long-term decline of wild bees, according to research unveiled Tuesday.A study covered 62 species from 1994 to 2011, examining the impact of exposure to the pesticide, which was used to treat oilseed rap...More

  • Sewage sludge could make great sustainable fertilizer

    | 08/17/2016

    Phosphorus is a key supplement for every living being. At the point when lacking in the eating routine, it seriously bargains human wellbeing, and when inadequate in horticulture, it confines crop profitability. Without phosphorus, there can be no sustenance creation.  As the wellspring of phos...More

  • Methane leaks: A new way to find and fix in real time

    | 08/16/2016

    The technique led to the detection and immediate repair of two leaks in natural gas pipelines in the Four Corners region of the U.S. Southwest. The approach could inform strategies for meeting new federal limits on methane emissions from the oil and gas industry. Methane emissions have spiked in rec...More

  • Global nitrogen footprint mapped for first time

    Nitesh | 29/01/2015

    The international collaboration, led by the University of Sydney's Integrated Sustainability Analysis team in the Faculty of Science, found developing countries tend to embody large amounts of nitrogen emissions from their exports of food, textiles and clothing. Australia is one of the few wealt...More

  • Exposure to airborne particulate matter during pregnancy

    Nitesh | 10/30/2015

    The study, by researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and the University of Cincinnati, identified a 19 percent increased risk, with the greatest risk when high exposure occurred during the third trimester of pregnancy. Diesel exhaust particles make up a substantial portion...More



Facebook Reveals Its First Full-Size Internet Drone. Facebook Reveals Its First Full-Size Internet Drone