Major Oil Spill Contaminates 1,000 Birds in Rotterdam Harbor
Environmental groups and volunteers are working to save about 1,000 oil-covered birds after a freighter spilled heavy fuel oil into a Rotterdam harbor on Saturday, the Netherlands' Sea Creatures Rescue Team estimated to Reuters.
Odfjell, the owner of the freighter Bow Jubail, said the vessel crashed into a jetty while mooring and accidentally ruptured its hull, releasing 217 tons of heavy fuel oil into the water.
Swans, gulls, geese and cormorants were contaminated by the oil, according to BBC News. Emergency workers trying to rescue the animals were said to be overwhelmed by the numbers.
The slick has covered a six-mile radius in the harbor, BBC News reported, citing local media. Hundreds of birds are still thought to be in the water.
"I haven't yet seen a swan untouched by the oil. It's a real catastrophe," adviser Claude Velter told Dutch TV.
Trieste aanblikken van besmeurde zwanen in #Maassluis https://t.co/825aU2ZTsY— Olivier van Det (@Olivier van Det)1529870152.0
About 250 oil-stained swans were taken to the animal shelter Vogelklas Karel Schot in Rotterdam on Sunday.
"The birds are now stabilized," the rescue center said in a Facebook post. "In addition to food and water, they need rest. It is expected that the first birds in the next few days will be stable enough to be washed."
Update: 250 knobbelzwanen in de Vogelklas. Daarmee zit ons centrum vol. We werken nauw samen met @SonRespons en… https://t.co/JkaEjgXryR— Vogelklas KarelSchot (@Vogelklas KarelSchot)1529867392.0
André de Baerdemaker, a spokesperson for Vogelklas, told Dutch broadcaster RTL News on Monday that the swans came through well overnight.
"Fortunately we have not seen any dead birds yet, but I hear that possibly dead animals have been found elsewhere," de Baerdemaker noted. "They are now extra vulnerable to infections and tomorrow we will assess which animals are strong enough to be washed."
De Baerdemaker explained (via NL Times) that the oil can potentially leak through a swan's plumage. "This causes them to get wet and hypothermic and they lose energy. Then they can't collect enough food."
Other animal rescues in The Hague and Hook of Holland also took in affected birds, BBC News reported. But as of Monday, the large overflow of impacted animals prompted state officials to set up a emergency center in a car park in the city of Maassluis.
Maassluis: Na overleg is besloten dat er tijdelijk geen zwanen meer worden gevangen omdat de opvanglocaties vol zit… https://t.co/A2kqSyK1J3— Flashphoto NL (@Flashphoto NL)1529915464.0
The Port of Rotterdam said Sunday a clean-up operation was underway.
"Experts expect that clean-up work will take days if not weeks," the Port said.
Odfjell said it "regrets the unfortunate incident and takes this matter very seriously." The company said the leakage was stopped, and there is no risk of further spills.
The company is also cooperating with Dutch authorities to "mitigate the consequences of the spill" and has set up an incident investigation team to identify the root causes.
Harbour master René de Vries told Dutch TV (via BBC News) he could not remember a spill on such a scale in the past decade. "Rotterdam was a clean harbor until Saturday and we want to keep it that way."
[Watch] Tanker Breached, Major Oil Spill in Rotterdam https://t.co/8A7Czro1du https://t.co/tJ7LjmNFxA— viswa_mfame_guru (@viswa_mfame_guru)1529911498.0
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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