El Locos por la Tierra retoma las sesiones presenciales

Después de hacer diversas sesiones en formato virtual, el programa Locos por la Tierra impartido por el ICTA-UAB reanudó el pasado día 27 de junio sus sesiones formativas en formato presencial.

What do we breathe when in the forest?

For the first time, a study characterizes the forest chemistry of the air under the canopy of a Mediterranean holm oak forest and detects maximum concentrations in July and August.

Catalonia's Scientific Contributions to Fighting Covid-19

Sixty ICREA researchers, including Isabelle Anguelovski of the ICTA-UAB, lead more than a hundred research activities on Covid-19.

Academia in the Time of COVID-19: Towards an Ethics of Care

                                                                                                                                                                       .

Computer Platform Gives Visibility to Catalonia's Small Villages

A research team from the UAB, in collaboration with the Association of Microvillages of Catalonia, has created a Geographic Information System (GIS) for Active and Sustainable Hamlets (GISASH), which gathers information on the state of and services offered by the more than 330 municipalities in Catalonia with fewer than 500 inhabitants.

Environmental justice defenders victims of violence and murder

Grassroots movements halt environmental degradation in up to 27% of environmental conflicts worldwide, according to a study by the ICTA-UAB.

Technological changes and new low-carbon lifestyles, key to mitigating climate change impacts

In order to mitigate climate change impacts and achieve a more sustainable society, it is necessary to transform the current energy system based on fossil fuels into a model based on renewable energies.

Exploring climate change impacts through popular proverbs

Members of an irrigation community doing maintenance work in an acequia de careo (irrigation canal built at the top of the mountain) to improve the circulation of water for irrigation and human consumption.

Neolithic vessels reveal dairy consumption in Europe 7,000 years ago

Pottery from the site located in Verson (Francia) analysed during the research (Picture by Annabelle Cocollos, Conseil départemental du Calvados ou CD14 publicada en Germain-Vallée et al.

Mapping out the impacts of pollution upon Indigenous Peoples worldwide

Sulphur mine in Ijen, Java, Indonesia. Picture by Joan de la Malla.

Economic growth is incompatible with biodiversity conservation

A study involving more than 20 specialists in conservation ecology and ecological economics highlights the contradiction between economic growth and biodiversity conservation.

Encuesta: El rol del verde residencial durante el confinamiento por el brote de COVID-19 en España

El grupo de investigación BCNUEJ (www.bcnuej.org) del ICTA-UAB (https://ictaweb.uab.cat/) y del IMIM (www.imim.es) está realizando un estudio sobre el papel del verde residencial (vegetación interior, en balcones, en terrazas, cubiertas verdes, jardines particulares, etc.

ICTA-UAB shares protective material with hospitals

ICTA-UAB is since last Monday 16 March 2020, an Institute with Restricted Access. Most of the laboratories are empty, the Scientific and Technical Services are closed, only the basic services are working and most of the people is working and staying at home.

Higher and earlier pollen concentrations expected for this spring

Spring and summer pollination will begin a few days earlier than usual and in important numbers, reaching higher than average levels (from the 1994-2019 period).

Power struggles hinder urban adaptation policies to climate change

Transformative actions implemented by cities to address and mitigate the impacts of climate change may be hindered by political struggles for municipal power.

Analysis of tropical fire soot deposited in the ocean will help predict future global climate changes

The ICTA-UAB begins a scientific expedition in the Atlantic Ocean to collect dust and smoke samples from the fires of tropical Africa deposited in marine sediments.

What elements and characteristics should forests have to influence human health?

Despite the increasing interest of the scientific community and society towards the potential of forests as a source of human health, the existing scientific literature does not allow for a coherent relationship between the type of forest and different health variables.

Red coral effectively recovers in Mediterranean protected areas after decades of overexploitation

Protection measures of the Marine Protected Areas have enable red coral colonies (Corallium rubrum) to recover partially in the Mediterranean Sea, reaching health levels similar to those of the 1980s in Catalonia and of the 1960s in the Ligurian Sea (Northwestern Italy).

Sub-national “climate clubs” could offer key to combating climate change

‘Climate clubs’ offering membership for sub-national states, in addition to just countries, could speed up progress towards a globally-harmonised climate change policy, which in turn offers a way to achieve stronger climate policies in all countries.

Victoria Reyes-García receives an ERC Proof of Concept grant linked to the LICCI project

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ICTA-UAB demands the UAB to reduce number of flights

Given our current climate emergency, recently acknowledged by the UAB, the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB) has drawn up a proposal urging the University to put into action a new travel policy to tackle one of its most polluting activities: Flying.

New assessment finds EU electricity decarbonization discourse in need of overhaul

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Mining waste dumped into Portmán Bay continues to release metals into the sea 25 years later

The waters of the Mediterranean Sea continue to receive dissolved metals from the mining waste deposited in Portmán Bay (Murcia) 25 years after the cessation of mining activity.

A new ICTA-UAB project to assess the impacts of micro- and nano-plastics in the tropical and temperate oceans

A new project led by ICTA-UAB researcher Patrizia Ziveri is one of five projects selected for funding by the Joint Programming Initiative Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans).
News
High lead concentrations found in Amazonian wildlife

Date: 2019-09-02




Researchers from ICTA-UAB and the UVic-UCC detect high levels of lead concentration in wildlife samples from the Peruvian Amazon caused by lead-based ammunition and oil-related pollution in extraction areas.

It is in industrialised countries and regions of the world where one can find the highest concentrations of lead, the world's most widespread neurotoxical accumulative metal. Thus, it was presumed that the Amazon, the world's largest expanse of tropical rainforest containing the highest levels of biocultural and cultural diversity, would contain a low amount of urban or industrial contaminants due to its remoteness and low human impact.

A group of researchers from the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology and the Department of Animal Health and Anatomy at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB), and the Central University of Catalonia/Vic University, for the first time have evaluated lead concentrations and isotopic fingerprints in free-ranging wildlife in remote areas of the Peruvian Amazon. For the study, liver samples were collected from 315 animals from 18 different species, hunted for food by local indigenous peoples (Quechua, Achuar and Yagua). These areas under study are very remote and only accessible after a 4-5 day boat trip along the local rivers. Some of these areas are also located within the second most productive oil concession of the country, operating since the 1970s.

High concentrations of lead were found in the livers of Amazon wild mammals and birds, animals which are consumed daily by the local indigenous population. These values are higher than those observed among wild animals found in industrialised countries. The presence of this unexpectedly high level of lead in Amazonian wildlife poses a health risk for the local population, which relies on subsistence hunting.

Half of all samples analysed contained more than the 0.5 miligrams per kilo which European regulation considers to be the limit for human consumption of animal entrails, and 91% contained more than the 0.1 miligrams considered a suitable level for human consumption of meat in general. A very high risk for the population, taking into account that almost thirty of the samples analysed contained far higher levels of lead.

The researchers also demonstrated that the main sources of lead are the extended use of lead-based ammunition, as well as pollution related to oil extraction. In fact, lead-based ammunition could be an underestimated problem throughout the continent of South America. These results suggest that lead has entered the trophic chain in areas where human population depends on subsistence hunting. Thus, it is not likely a unique problem, but one that affects indigenous people around the world who use lead-based ammunition.

In addition, the fact of having found oil-related lead in wildlife suggests that other toxic compounds related to oil activities may have also entered the trophic chain. Indeed, in the northern Peruvian Amazon, oil extraction activities have generated an important environmental impact through the daily spillage of lead-rich wastewater into the environment.

Due to the high dependence of indigenous people globally on subsistence hunting and the extended use of lead-based ammunition, jointly with the advance of oil activities in tropical rainforests (oil and gas reserves overlap with 30% of the world's rainforests), these results uncover an important health risk for tropical wildlife conservation and for local human communities depending on these animals as their main source of protein.

Finally, the study further illustrates how remote natural areas also contain yet another ubiquitous anthropogenic footprint. This might be extended throughout the Amazonian ecosystem and other rainforests around the world, illustrating how human impact reaches further than usually envisaged, and the expansion of anthropogenic contaminants from industrial centres to the most remote areas of the planet.

The study, published this week in the journal Nature Sustainability, included the involvement of Mar Cartró Sabaté, researcher at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB); Pedro Mayor, Department of Animal Health and Anatomy at the UAB; Martí Orta, researcher at the Central University of Catalonia/Vic University and ICTA-UAB; and Antoni Rosell, ICREA researcher at the ICTA-UAB.

Original article:
Cartró-Sabaté, M., Mayor, P., Orta-Martínez, M., Rosell-Melé, A. Anthropogenic lead in Amazonian wildlife. Nature Sustainability. 2019. doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0338-7

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