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Displaying items by tag: pollution

#Rio2016 - Rio's water 'will be ready' for sailors when the Olympic Games begin in August, according to China's Xinhua News Agency.

Speaking at an event to mark the lighting of the Olympic torch in Athens on Thursday (21 April), International Olympic Committee president (IOC) Thomas Bach told the media: "We are very confident that the competition area for the athletes will offer safe and fair conditions.

"The city, the state and the organising committee are undertaking many efforts and what we see now is that 60% of the surface is clean," he added. "Without the Games it would be zero."

However, Bach made no reference to concerns over viral contamination of the notoriously polluted Guanabara Bay, nor the risk posed to female sailors by the spread of the Zika virus.

Published in Olympic

#MarineWildlife - There's some good news for marine wildlife in Clare and around the Irish coast as a recent study on the health of whales and dolphins in Europe's oceans identified Ireland's population as among the world's healthiest.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the paper in journal Scientific Reports identified lingering traces of now banned chemicals called PCBs that are still affecting the reproductive rates of cetaceans in European waters, particularly killer whales.

Biopsy samples of dolphins from the Shannon Estuary were included in the global study – but all indications are that the whales and dolphins that populate the sanctuary of Irish waters are among the healthiest in the region, though they still face the threat of pollutants in the Shannon Estuary, as the Clare Champion reports.

Published in Marine Wildlife
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#MarineWildlife - Toxic chemicals banned in Europe nearly 30 years ago are still polluting the seas off the continent.

And marine scientists fear their continued presence could spell the end for the killer whale and other species in European waters, as the Irish Examiner reports.

The warning comes from newly published research on concentrations of polychlorinated biphenyls, or PCBs, in marine wildlife – specifically orcas and other dolphins – in Irish, British and Mediterranean waters.

Co-authored by Dr Simon Berrow of GMIT and the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group, the paper in the latest issue of journal Scientific Reports claims that despite the outright ban on the use of PCBs since 1987, they persist in "dangerously high levels in European cetaceans".

High exposure to PCBs, once used in the manufacture of paints and electrical equipment, weakens the immune systems of cetaceans and has a severe effect on their breeding rates.

The paper is available online HERE.

Published in Marine Wildlife

#Rio2016 - 'Tropical heat' has been blamed by Rio government officials for the thousands of dead fish that washed up this week on the shores of Guanabara Bay, venue for this summer's Olympic sailing events.

But as Scuttlebutt Sailing News reports, locals are not so sure – believing contamination of the bay's notoriously polluted waters to be the real cause.

Just last month it emerged that sailors who ingest just three teaspoons of water from the planned Olympic sailing courses have a 99% chance of contracting a viral infection.

City authorities, meanwhile, also investigating whether the fish – mostly sardines – may have been illegally discarded by commercial fishermen.

It comes nine months after a similar fish kill clogged the Olympic rowing venue at the Rodrigo de Freitas Lagoon – a common occurrence in a body of water that periodically suffers from shortage of oxygen.

Published in Olympic
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#Rio2016 - A smart new system for automatic cleaning of marinas has reached its crowdfunding goal with days to spare – and could soon be employed at the Olympic Games.

According to Sail World, the Rio 2016 organisers are among those who have expressed interest in and voiced support for the SeaBin, an automated rubbish bin designed to collect floating debris and oil from busy marina berths.

The project, launched by Australians Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton, has surpassed its $230,000 by more than $17,000 with four days to go as of today (Monday 4 January).

It means the project can now move on to the next stage, working with a French manufacturer to develop a new generation of SeaBins made from mostly recycles plastics.

And it's possible we might see the first SeaBins in action at the Rio sailing villages this summer – although there's not that can be done about viral contaminants in Guanabara Bay, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Published in Olympic
Tagged under

#Pollution - The effects of diesel laundering over decades in South Armagh are being felt even greater today, say Dundalk anglers, as the New Year starts with the River Fane closed to all but catch-and-release fishing.

As Independent.ie reports, a 10-fold decrease in stocks of salmon as well as brown trout and sea trout in the river, which flows into Dundalk Bay from the Monaghan-Armagh border, is the direct result of diesel laundering operations by the IRA since at least the 1980s.

Waste from the process of converting subsidised agricultural 'green' diesel to 'white' diesel for general road use has reportedly been dumped openly into a tributary of Lough Ross, which feeds into the Fane – a river that supplies drinking water to Dundalk and much of North Louth.

A recent study found that these pollutants include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons or PAHs, the same chemicals that continue to affect spawning grounds in areas impacted by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska 26 years ago.

Independent.ie has much more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Rio2016 - Sailors in Rio who ingest just three teaspoons of water from the Olympic courses on Guanabara Bay have a 99% chance of being infected by a virus.

That's according to the latest damning findings from the Associated Press, following from its own investigation earlier this year that found levels of viruses detected at the Olympic sailing venue to be as much as 1.7 million times this allowed on California beaches.

Samples taken more recently now indicate that a high concentration of viruses is detectable even more than a kilometre offshore away from the pollution sources that have plagued Rio's waters for decades.

Despite assurances by the ISAF – which previously floated the idea of moving the sailing venue out of Rio to cleaner waters – that steps were being taken "to ensure the health and safety of all athletes", there was still an illness rate of 7% among sailors competing at an Olympic test event in August.

That figure included 49er bronze medallist Erik Heil, who was treated for severe inflammations in his legs and a hip.

The cause of his illness turned out to be the superbug MRSA, and Heil has since proposed wearing plastic overalls while sailing out from the shore to limit his exposure to that an other bacterial infections.

But experts in waterborne viruses have told the AP that such efforts are futile when Rio's Olympic waterways "are as rife with pathogens far offshore as they are nearer land".

The AP has much more on the story HERE, coming in the same week as the ISAF's chief executive Peter Sowrey resigned after only six months in the job – the latest in a spate of high-profile departures from sailing's world governing body.

Published in Olympic

#Angling - Newtownabbey anglers have urged vigilance after the discovery of a pollutant flowing into the Three Mile Water in the Co Antrim town earlier this week.

As the Newtownabbey Times reports, the suspect discharge was coming from a sewage pumping station.

But later tests by Northern Ireland Water and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency found no damage had been caused to the river habitat.

The Newtownabbey Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Angling

#Rio2016 - The blame for Rio's pollution woes should fall squarely on local political leaders and not on sporting bodies, according to the head of Britain's sailing team.

As Scuttlebut Sailing News reports, Stephen Park says the press should turn its attention to those responsible for the notorious pollution problems in Guanabara Bay – the sailing and windsurfing venue for the 2016 Olympic Games – rather than place the burden on sailing's country leaders to withdraw from the venue.

Park's comments come in the wake of news that another sailor was hospitalised after the recent Aquece test event with a bacterial infection believed contracted in Rio's waters.

According to Sail-World, 49er bronze medallist Erik Heil was treated for severe inflammations in his legs and one hip which he says began on his journey home from Rio.

And the sailor has explicity blamed his illness on the waters of Marina da Glória, where wastewater from the city's hospitals flows openly into the bay, and has had his case taken ip by the German Olympic Sports Confederation, as the Guardian reports.

Heil's post-Rio illness follows that of Kiwi 470 sailor Jo Aleh, who missed three races at Aquece over a bug alleged to be connected with water contamination, and South Korean windsurfer Wonwoo Cho, whose hospitalisation came just days after the ISAF's latest threat to move Olympic sailing events to a new course in the Atlantic.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, a recent investigation into water quality at the current Olympic sailing venue found that athletes are "almost certain to come into contact with disease-causing viruses".

Published in Olympic

#CoastalNotes - 'Poor' water quality off Youghal have seen the Cork town's beach subject to bathing advisories for the remainder of the summer season, as the Irish Examiner reports.

Stricter EU regulations on bathing water quality have prompted Cork County Council to erect notices advising against swimming at the popular Front Strand till at least 15 September.

Regular testing will be carried out in the meantime at the beach, which suffers more than others in the area due to runoff from farms along the River Blackwater which enters the sea nearby.

Youghal has long been identified as a pollution blackspot on the Irish coast, being one of a number of urban areas still discharging untreated wastewater into the sea.

The Irish Examiner has more on the story HERE.

Published in Coastal Notes
Page 6 of 11

Fastnet Yacht Race 

This race is both a blue riband international yachting fixture and a biennial offshore pilgrimage that attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between. The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland.

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth.
  • The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
    Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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