Catching ultrafine emissions could help develop cleaner cars

Scientists are developing a device to trap and analyse ultrafine particles from car exhausts.

Modern engines – in particular those which inject fuel at high pressure – maximise efficiency and cut carbon dioxide emissions, but may also release harder-to-catch pollution associated with cancers and lung, heart and Alzheimer’s diseases. In response, European researchers are analysing exhaust particles down to one billionth of a metre, which may help in the development of … Read more

Smart containers to reward people for recycling properly

Europe's waste plastic represents more than €10 billion in lost resources each year.

Smart recycling containers that reward people for proper use could help drive up the rate of plastic recycling, reducing the amount of plastic that goes into oceans and landfill, and creating business opportunities out of the challenge to cut back on waste. It’s part of a wave of innovations aiming to keep plastic circulating in the … Read more

Noise pollution is one of the biggest health risks in city life

Traffic noise increases people's blood pressure which is related to heart attacks and strokes.

Noise is one of the biggest pollutants in modern cities but the risk is often overlooked despite being linked to an increased risk of early death, according to research conducted by scientists. ‘Noise produces a stimulus to the central nervous system and this stimulus releases some hormones,’ said Dr David Rojas from the Barcelona Institute … Read more

Cleaned-up data shows bigger-than-thought reduction in Europe’s NO2 pollution – Dr Folkert Boersma

New, improved algorithms show that nitrogen dioxide pollution is declining faster than thought in Europe.

An analysis of a newly cleaned-up dataset tracking Europe’s air pollution has revealed that nitrogen dioxide levels are on a steeper downward trend than previously thought, according to Dr Folkert Boersma from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, who says that ensuring the quality of Earth observation data can reveal new insights into climate change. He … Read more

Not so fantastic single-use plastic to get an eco-friendly makeover

A packaging film made from the milk protein casein is water-soluble and biodegradable.

Milk-based edible food packaging and ready-meal trays made from wood could help reduce the pervasiveness of single-use plastic, a major cause of environmental pollution adversely affecting wildlife, habitats and human health. It may come as a shock to some, but around half of all the plastic products in the world are used only once. After they … Read more

Sticky tape and simulations help assess microplastic risk

Microplastics are considered the most common form of marine litter.

by Natalie Grover Tiny pieces of plastic, now ubiquitous in the marine environment, have long been a cause of concern for their ability to absorb toxic substances and potentially penetrate the food chain. Now scientists are beginning to understand the level of threat posed to life, by gauging the extent of marine accumulation and tracking … Read more