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Mining precious rare-earth elements from coal fly ash with a reusable ionic liquid

Rare-earth elements are in many everyday products, such as smart phones, LED lights and batteries. However, only a few locations have large enough deposits worth mining, resulting in global supply chain tensions. So, there's a push toward recycling them from non-traditional sources, such as waste from burning coal -- fly ash. Now, researchers report a simple method for recovering these elements from coal fly ash using an ionic liquid.

'Urban green space affects citizens' happiness'

A recent study revealed that as a city becomes more economically developed, its citizens' happiness becomes more directly related to the area of urban green space.

Worrying insights into the chemicals in plastics

ETH researchers examined chemicals in plastics worldwide. They found an unexpectedly high number of substances of potential concern intentionally used in everyday plastic products. A lack of transparency limits management of these chemicals.

Modeling a circular economy for electronic waste

New research develops a framework to understand the choices an electronic waste recycler has to make and the role that digital fraud prevention could have in preventing dishonest recycling practices.

Civil engineers examine urban cooling strategies using reflective surfaces

Researchers used a Computational Fluid Dynamics model to find ways to decrease cost and increase usage of cooler surfaces. The paper examined the possibility of applying cooler surfaces to just half the surfaces in a city.

Exposure to pollutants, increased free-radical damage speeds up aging

A new study suggests that unrepaired DNA damage can increase the speed of aging.

The end of Darwin's nightmare at Lake Victoria?

Lake Victoria, which came under the spotlight in 2004 by the documentary 'Darwin's nightmare', is not only suffering from the introduction and commercialization of the Nile perch: A study has highlighted other worrying phenomena, particularly climatic ones, which have an equally important impact on the quality of the lake's waters.

Mountain fires burning higher at unprecedented rates

Forest fires have crept higher up mountains over the past few decades, scorching areas previously too wet to burn, according to researchers. As wildfires advance uphill, a staggering 11% of all Western US forests are now at risk.

An acceleration of coastal overtopping around the world

The combination of sea level rise, tides, storm surge and waves has increased the overtopping of natural and artificial coastal protection by nearly 50% in the last two decades.

Developing countries pay steep economic and health costs because of high car air pollution

Some of the world's most vulnerable cities suffer disproportionate economic losses because of the health consequences of in-car air pollution, finds a new study.

Most rivers run dry -- now and then

A new study found that between 51-60% of the 64 million kilometres of rivers and streams on Earth that they investigated stop flowing periodically, or run dry for part of the year. It is the first-ever empirically grounded effort to quantify the global distribution of non-perennial rivers and streams. The research, which was published today in Nature, calls for a paradigm shift in river science and management.

Bacteria used to clean diesel-polluted soil in Greenland

Diesel-polluted soil from now defunct military outposts in Greenland can be remediated using naturally occurring soil bacteria according to an extensive five-year experiment in Mestersvig, East Greenland.

Ozone pollution has increased in Antarctica

Ozone is a pollutant at ground level, but very high in the atmosphere's 'ozone layer,' it absorbs damaging ultraviolet radiation. Past studies have examined ozone levels in the Southern Hemisphere, but little is known about levels of the molecule in Antarctica over long periods. Now, researchers have analyzed more than 25 years of Antarctic data, finding that concentrations near the ground arose from both natural and human-related sources.

Urbanization drives antibiotic resistance on microplastics in Chinese river

Microplastic pollution of waterways has become a huge concern, with the tiny pieces of plastic entering food webs and potentially having harmful effects on animals and people. In addition, microplastics can act as breeding grounds for antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Now, researchers have analyzed antibiotic-resistance genes (ARGs) on five types of microplastics at different locations along the Beilun River in China, finding much higher abundances in urban than rural regions.

Air pollution exposure during pregnancy may boost babies' obesity risk

New research shows pregnant women exposed to higher levels of air pollution have babies who grow unusually fast in the first months after birth, putting on excess fat that may put them at risk of obesity and related diseases later in life.

Environmental News -