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Environment

  • Feeding a kiosk frenzy

    Feeding a kiosk frenzy

    The placing of a fast food kiosk, cheek and jowl with the statue of Jean de Valette in Valletta, rightly raised a furore, as it was seen as the epitome of disrespect towards the capital city’s cultural identity. But while the perceived denigration...

  • Mediterranean cowry

    Mediterranean cowry

    Visiting the beach after storms can be very rewarding. Waves can throw up interesting creatures and deposit them on the sand or in rock pools. A few days ago, while looking in a rock pool at Pembroke, I found a Mediterranean cowry trapped...

  • In a first for a fish, Oregon chub no longer risks extinction

    For the first time, a fish has been removed from US Endangered Species Act protection as federal officials declared that a tiny shimmering minnow found only in an Oregon valley was no longer in danger of extinction. Millions of the five-centimetre...

  • Fracking has one bird fan

    Fracking is controversial but likely to have at least one real fan − the black-chinned hummingbird. The noise of machinery at gas extraction sites in the US appears to benefit the nectar-loving birds, boosting their nesting capacity and the rate...

  • Hidden costs of transport

    Hidden costs of transport

    Accidents, congestion and wear and tear on roads are all impacts of traffic. More worrying from a long-term health point of view are the environmental impacts of traffic which can affect us in negative ways. Sounds and smells of traffic are top of...

  • Clogged by plastic

    Clogged by plastic

    The world’s oceans are clogged with plastic debris, but how much of it finds its way into the seas annually? Enough to place the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic trash on every 30cm of every nation’s coastline around the...

  • Along came a green spider

    Along came a green spider

    The green spider is an indigenous member of the huntsman spider family, which got its name because of its fast active hunting habits. It is characterised by its bright green colour which perfectly camouflages it in the green vegetation where it...

  • ‘Few firms tackling deforestation’

    ‘Few firms tackling deforestation’

    Just a handful of companies are taking the steps needed to halt the destruction of the world’s tropical forests, a new global ranking system has found. The analysis by the Global Canopy Programme assessed 500 companies, governments and investors...

  • Stressed bees ‘behind decline’

    Stressed young bees that are forced to grow up too fast could largely account for disastrous declines in populations of the insects around the world, research suggests. Bees usually begin foraging at two to three weeks old but when older workers...

  • Amazon fear over mussels

    Amazon fear over mussels

    The world’s mightiest waterway, the Amazon River, could be under threat from the most diminutive of foes − a tiny mussel invading from China. Since hitching its way to South America in the early 1990s, the golden mussel has claimed new territory...

  • UK plant named after Attenborough

    UK plant named after Attenborough

    A new wild flower has become the first living species in the UK to be named after naturalist and TV presenter Sir David Attenborough. The Attenborough’s hawkweed (Hieracium attenboroughianum) was found a decade ago in the Brecon Beacons in south...

  • Patient abusers rewarded

    Patient abusers rewarded

    The mass sanctioning scheme drawn up by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority understandably caused considerable angst the moment it bobbed up on the radar. In a country where flouting planning policies is intrinsic to the local ethos, many...

  • International conference on geo-risks in the Mediterranean

    International conference on geo-risks in the Mediterranean

    An international scientific con­ference about geological risks in the Mediterranean will be held in Malta on July 20 and 21. The meeting will bring to­gether experts and researchers in various fields, such as geo­logy, seis­mology, geo-ha­zards,...

  • Quake Watch

    Quake Watch

    Seismicity across the globe throughout January was relatively mild. Hundreds of earthquakes occurred globally during the month but there was no major earthquake. The Mediterranean region was affected by normal earthquake activity in known...

  • Investments in water in poor nations give big benefits – World Bank

    Investments in water in poor nations give big benefits – World Bank

    Investing to provide drinking water for 750 million people in poor nations who lack clean supplies makes clear economic sense with bigger than expected health benefits, World Bank estimates showed. A parallel drive to improve sanitation,...

  • Wood blemit

    Wood blemit

    The wood blemit is a scarce mushroom that grows under both coniferous and deciduous trees in places such as Buskett, limits of Rabat, and the Simar Nature Reserve in Xemxija. It is a saprophytic species that feeds on the fallen leaves of...

  • Giant guinea pig fought with teeth

    Giant guinea pig fought with teeth

    A ‘guinea pig’ the size of a buffalo that lived three million years ago had a bite as strong as a tiger’s, scientists have learned. Experts believe it may have used its giant rodent teeth in the same way an elephant uses its tusks, to dig for food...

  • Action plan for an organic future

    Action plan for an organic future

    Organic farming is much more than a system of agricultural production whereby pesticides, synthetic fertilisers and genetically modified organisms are not used in favour of sustainability and a better quality of life. Wider benefits of organic...

  • Sustainable energy conference

    Sustainable energy is the theme of the annual conference of the University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy to be held on March 17. The quest for energy, clean water and decent housing could lead to power struggles and conflicts, because these...

  • Comet Lovejoy

    Comet Lovejoy

    Discovered last August by Terry Lovejoy, comet C/2014 Q2 (Lovejoy) is the object in the sky currently attracting most attention from astro­nomers all over the world. The comet, the fifth discovery of this expert Australian comet hunter, has gotten...

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