Welcome to our class!

We are an environmental science course at St. Benedict's Prep in Newark, NJ, taught by Mrs. T. We'll be blogging about environmental issues all term, so please stay tuned!

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill

An explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon Macondo oil well drilling platform on April 20, 2010. The explosion caused millions of barrels of oil to be released into the Gulf of Mexico. There were several reasons why the Macondo exploded starting with a gas leak and ending with an unsuccessful blowout preventer. As a result of the spill, wildlife was immediately affected. Birds, Turtles, Dolphins, and many more animals were greatly affected by this disaster causing many deaths and a decline in several animal populations. BP has spent over $14 billion and over 70 million personnel hours to clean up the spill. Methods of cleanup consisted of booms and skimmers; booms are physical barriers that trapped the oil inside the booms boundary while skimmers are boats with nets that would pick up oil near the surface. The Gulf of Mexico still suffers today from what happened on April 20, 2010 and BP still continues to fix its mistake.


Fracking is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside and essentially using that gas for daily activities such as driving a car. Fracking involves drilling wells as deep as 8,000 feet underground and pumping down chemicals mixed with water and sand that create fissures in the rock, which in turn allows natural gas to be released and pumped back up to the surface for collection. Fracking produces approximately 300,000 barrels of natural gas a day, but at the price of numerous environmental, safety, and health hazards as dangerous chemicals are currently used to create these cracks such as radium and uranium. There is growing concern that the process has contaminated the water supply and air, harming local residents. Fracking has been a problem all over the United States as their have been over 1,000 documented cases of water contamination due to fracking. So the question that you should ask yourself is, "Is getting gas really worth people in danger?"


Sunday, February 21, 2016

The United States Radium Corporation was built is New Jersey in 1944 and ended in 2007. The company used Hammers recipe of glow in the dark paint for people to see their watches or clocks in the dark. They called this product Undark. Radium Corporation assured that the products would not cause radioactive harm to people since it was in very small amounts. Although it was true for the product itself, it was not true for the works exposed to it. The company had a byproduct of radiation that is called Radon and although not harmful in the open can cause lung cancer if concentrated in homes. The factory caused a contamination of radiation in the Essex County area. Which resulted in the unearthing and reearthing of the areas ground.


The Cercla also known as Superfund is a law that was enacted by congress with taxed petroleum and chemical companies in case of any clean ups. It also enabled federal authority to respond to releases or any threatened releases that may cause hard to people or the environment. The three basic ideals this law carried out was to created a trust fund in case someone was not held responsible, provided a liability for anyone who was responsible for a chemical waste and it established restrictions on closed and abandoned waste sites. Two major chemical waste disasters led to the enactment of this law. The first was the love canal. The canal was a man made canal with the original plan to make it generate cheap electricity. That never came about so Hooker chemicals bought the property. They then began dumping tons of chemical waste and it accumulated to over 21,000 tons. Hooker chemicals then covered up the canal with layers of dirty compressing it and making it like clay. It was sold to niahra school board. The residents and the school built in the neighborhood began to feel the effects of the waste. Strange diseases such as epilepsy and birth defects began to appear.
       The next disaster was the Valley of the Drums. Paint and coating companies began to dump drums of chemicals in this valley located in Bullit County, Kentucky. Farmers near by began to complain about the smell, and this was due to the releases of the toxic wastes. Nothing could've been done because there were no regulations that opposed this. After the years went by, a fire started which lasted a week. This caused attention by officials but again nothing could be done due to the lack of regulations.
       The United States is divided into ten superfund regions. In our state of New Jersey, there are over
  291 sites. One in specific is located in South Plainfield NJ called Cornell-Dubilier Electrinics. They began disposing PCB waste in the ground, thus polluting the solid, sediments and groundwater. It is still in the process of being cleaned.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Cuyahoga River Fire of 1969

The Cuyahoga River fire of 1969 was a direct cause of water pollution. This river lit on fire at least thirteen times. It is polluted with a bunch of sewage and oil from nearby factories. A train passed over the railways and there was a debris of oil trapped beneath two wooden frameworks. The train let out sparks, these sparks lit the oil on fire, and as a result the river caught on fire. This happened at 12:00 pm. The Cuyahoga River is located in Northeast Ohio. The most important thing to get out of this fire is that it caused a push in environmentalism (ideology and social movement regarding concerns for environmental protection and improvement of the health of the environment). Once the resident of Ohio pushed for this, new acts were introduced in efforts to help with the water pollution of Cuyahoga River. It proved to be successful because the Cuyahoga River now contains about 60 different species of fish. Since this river fire the North East Ohio Regional Sewer Districts has invested over 3.5 billion dollars towards the purification of the river. There is a projection that over the next thirty years the city of Cleveland will invest around $5 billion dollars to the upkeep of the waste water system. Unfortunately this river will not be the same, however none the less the issue can be managed.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

David Suzuki

"David Suzuki The Environmentalist"

          David Suzuki was born on March 24, 1936 in Vancouver, Canada. He graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 1958 with honors in Biology, and a Ph. D. in Zoology from the University of Chicago in 1961. He is now a professor at Emeritus at UBC. David Suzuki is a very important person in today's society. He is the founder of the David Suzuki Foundation. This foundation plays an important role to who David is. David Suzuki is an award winning scientist, environmentalist, and broadcaster. He believes that conversation s the necessity for human kind's survival. Through his radio and television programs, he had tried to educate adults and younger audiences. Thanks to him, Canadians around the world are gathering together to speak with officials in the need to co-exist with nature, making us aware about global warming, toxic pollution, climate change, and renewable energy. He has raised millions of dollars to help clean up Canada and around the world from the toxic hazards that are among us. Thanks to an environmentalist like David Suzuki he is an important person who has made us aware about the hazards and is making a change.

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Sunday, February 7, 2016

Mobro 4000 Garbage Barge

The Mobro 4000 was an American trash disaster. A barge is a boat used specifically to carry cargo, in this case 6 million pounds (3,000 tons) of trash. In 1967, Islip, New York, like many cities in the US was running out of space to dispose of garbage. Lowell Harrelson an Alabaman builder had the idea to put this extra garbage on a barge and ship it south to Morehead City, North Carolina and make money using the methane gas that came off the decomposing garbage for energy. Because of claims that this barge had rodents and hazardous hospital waste North Carolina rejected it along with New Orleans, Louisiana; Mexico; Belize; and Key West, Florida also rejecting the barge. The barge had no other choice but to go back to Islip. Even while trying to dock in Islip the barge was met with two legal battles rejecting it from docking. The judge ordered the trash to be incinerated after its 6,000 mile (3 month) journey. This was a huge story in the media at the time and left people aware of where their trash would end up and what would happen to it or what wouldn't happen to it.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Endangered Species Act

The endangered species act was signed by Richard Nixon in 1973. It tasks the government with the conservation of vulnerable and endangered species as well as critical environment. Protecting the environment is managed by the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. The procedure for listing a species' conservation status follows four major criteria: number of species, breeding success, effect of predation and disease, and any known threats such as poaxhing. Animals are ranked on the conservation status scale from "least concern" to "extinct."