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Cars are queued in Turin, Italy in August. Particulate matter levels were the highest in Italy, Poland and the Balkans countries. Nicolò Campo / LightRocket / Getty Images

Air pollution in Europe led to more than 400,000 early deaths in 2016, according to the most recent air quality report published by the European Environment Agency (EEA).

The report, released Wednesday, found that almost every European who lives in a city is exposed to unhealthy air, Reuters reported.

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Bottlenose dolphin surfaces in the Potomac River Sept. 25. Parker Michels-Boyce / The Washington Post / Getty Images

Dolphins have returned to the Potomac River and are even giving birth there, The Smithsonian reported.

The body of water that George Washington once called "the nation's river" used to host dolphins in the 1800s, but it had gotten so heavily polluted by the 1960s that wildlife struggled to survive and President Lyndon Johnson called it a "national disgrace." Fifty years of cleanup efforts have paid off, however, and now more than 1,000 bottlenose dolphins have been counted in its waters.

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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Person who is homeless sits near San Francisco beach. wildwise studio / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cited San Francisco for violating the Clean Water Act by allowing used needles to spill into the ocean. The violation notice executes a threat Trump laid out a few weeks ago and ratchets up California's environmental policies feud with the White House, according to the AP.

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Erin Houghton presenting the project to a Soil and Water Conservation Society tour group in 2015. NEW Water

By Samantha Harrington

When heavy rain falls in northwest Wisconsin, fertilizer and manure can wash off farm fields into nearby waterways. This pollution contains phosphorus, which can cause algal blooms and foul surface water.

"We know we're going to see increased precipitation events. We know we're going to have more severe precipitation events," says Erin Houghton of NEW Water, Green Bay's wastewater utility.

State regulations require the utility to reduce phosphorus in the water it discharges. But instead of building a $100 million treatment plant, NEW Water decided to tackle the problem at its source.

The utility worked with crop and soil experts and farmers to minimize runoff. They experimented with planting cover crops, tilling the soil less, and planting grass buffers alongside fields.

Houghton says the goal is "keeping those nutrients and soil where they need to be, and on those fields, and really working for that farmer."

She says the early results are promising, so NEW Water is expanding the project into a 20-year plan. The utility is confident that by preventing runoff in the first place, it can reduce phosphorus pollution without an expensive new treatment plant.

As the climate warms, the problem could get worse.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Yale Climate Connections.

Stock photo of cruise ship at Hardangerfjord regeion of Norway. cookelma / iStock / Getty Images Plus

You might have known that cruise ships are some of the world's worst polluters. Now, there is more disturbing news from the shipping industry thanks to a bombshell investigation that found that global shipping companies have spent billions to equip their ships with "cheat devices" that get around new emissions standards by dumping pollution into the sea rather than the air. The British newspaper The Independent revealed the fraud in an exclusive story.

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Setting and testing the line protections for Siemens SF6 gas insulated switchgear in 2007. Xaf / Flickr / CC BY-NC 2.0

Electricity from renewable sources is growing exponentially as the technology allows for cheaper and more efficient energy generation, but there is a dark side that has the industry polluting the most powerful greenhouse gas known to humanity, as the BBC reported.

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Maryland wetlands near Nanticoke Wildlife Management Area. Farmers, developers or landowners will no longer need a permit to pollute the streams and wetlands. NRDC / Matt Rath / Chesapeake Bay Program / Flickr

The Trump administration repealed the 2015 Clean Water Rule rule Thursday, a rule intended to protect 60 percent of the nation's waterways from pollution, The New York Times reported.

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The Revelator

By John R. Platt

September has arrived, summer vacation season is over and it's time to get stuff donenot just for the month ahead but for the future of the planet.

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A sadhu—a common term for a mystic, an ascetic, practitioner of yoga—rowing a boat on the holy Ganges River.

hadynyah / E+ / Getty Images

By Johnny Wood

The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.

The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.

Here are some of the challenges the river faces.

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Drilling next to homes in North Dakota's Bakken Shale. Tara Lohan

By Tara Lohan

In 2010 when I first started writing about hydraulic fracturing — the process of blasting a cocktail of water and chemicals into shale to release trapped hydrocarbons — there were more questions than answers about environmental and public-health threats. That same year Josh Fox's documentary Gasland, which featured tap water bursting into flames, grabbed the public's attention. Suddenly the term fracking — little known outside the oil and gas industry — became common parlance.

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Loz Pycock / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Created with GIMP

By John R. Platt

Things are heating up — and not just because it's August. This past June was the hottest June on record, and as of this writing July was shaping up to follow. That makes this month's new books about climate change essential reading, along with other important new titles on pollution, wildlife, oceans and Indigenous peoples.

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