‘Four times more toxic’: How wildfire smoke ages over time

Smoke from wildfires can rise many kilometres into the stratosphere and cause air pollution in areas far away from where the flames actually were. Image credit - Pixabay/Saiho, licenced under Pixabay licence

Enormous plumes of smoke thrown into the atmosphere by uncontrolled wildfires may be affecting the health of people living hundreds of miles away. Every year, thousands of fires engulf forests, grasslands and moors across Europe. In 2018, more than 204,861 hectares of land were left burnt in Europe and other countries around the Mediterranean, while the previous … Read more

Dairy waste is being turned into bioplastics and plant food

Dairies generate a substantial amount of organic waste, including wastewater and whey, which are now being used to create products like bioplastics. Image credit - Keith Weller/USDA/Wikimedia, public domain

Sarah Wild Dairies in Europe are major economic drivers in rural areas, but they produce significant waste from cleaning and processing. Wastewater and milk residue, which are typically disposed of, are now being turned into new products such as phosphate-rich fertiliser and bioplastics. The EU produced 172.2 million tonnes of raw milk in 2018 and demand for milk is … Read more

Six innovations to tackle coronavirus

Single-patient isolation pods can help protect air ambulance crews from infection, allowing coronavirus patients to be transported to areas with higher intensive care capacity. Image credit - EpiGuard

by Chris Pate From bioluminescent testing kits to disinfecting robots, Horizon examines six innovations and technologies currently being developed to tackle the coronavirus. 1. Coronavirus-popping surface coating An anti-microbial coating that destroys the coronavirus on impact could help to decontaminate commonly used surfaces, according to scientists from the UK. The coating, which can be dipped or … Read more

Air pollution affects brain development – but when does the damage start?

90% of brain development happens by the age of four, so scientists want to understand the effects of air pollution at the earliest stages of life. Image credit - Unsplash/Pixabay, licenced under Unsplash licence

by Ian Le Guillou The emergency rooms in Barcelona were collapsing under the pressure. Hundreds of patients were arriving in desperate need as they struggled to breathe, while intensive care units struggled to cope with the sudden influx of respiratory problems. Epidemiologists scrambled to trace the source of the outbreak.  This epidemic in the 1980s might … Read more

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