In between the bronzed bodies in skimpy thongs soaking up the rays on Copacabana beach, a tiny black and white bundle of feathers struggles to emerge from the surf. Exhausted and emaciated, its bones poking through the blubber, the young penguin finally collapses on the sand. It has strayed thousands of miles from home, one of more than 1,000 penguins to have washed up on the Brazilian coast this year
The state of California has a warning for its 36 million residents: Do not flush pharmaceuticals down the toilet or drain, or they may end up in a river near you.
Or, it turns out, even in the drinking water.
Researchers have found evidence that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species in the wild. Related research reports that human cells fail to grow normally in the lab when exposed to trace concentrations of certain drugs.
The rise in global carbon dioxide emissions last year outpaced international researchers' most dire projections, according to figures being released today, as human-generated greenhouse gases continued to build up in the atmosphere despite international agreements and national policies aimed at curbing climate change.
In 2007, carbon released from burning fossil fuels and producing cement increased 2.9 percent over that released in 2006, to a total of 8.47 gigatons, or billions of metric tons
The populations of the world's common birds are declining as a result of continued habitat loss, a global assessment has warned.
The survey by BirdLife International found that 45% of Europe's common birds had seen numbers fall, as had more than 80% of Australia's wading species.
Levels of noise in the world's oceans are causing serious problems for whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, a report warns.
The International Fund for Animal Welfare (Ifaw) says undersea noise blocks animals' communication and disrupts feeding. Naval sonar has been implicated in the mass deaths of some cetaceans.
U.S. hospitals and long-term care facilities annually flush millions of pounds of unused pharmaceuticals down the drain, pumping contaminants into America's drinking water, according to an ongoing Associated Press investigation.
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