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Calif. warns people not to flush pharmaceuticals

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.

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Half of Europe's frogs face extinction

More than half of all amphibian species in Europe could become extinct by 2050 because of a combination of habitat loss, infectious diseases and the effects of climate change, scientists have found.

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Carbon Is Building Up in Atmosphere Faster Than Predicted

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

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World's common birds 'declining'

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.

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Oceans are 'too noisy' for whales

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.

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Health facilities flush estimated 250M pounds of drugs a year

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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Environment needs dose of bold reform

The international organisations that look after the global environment need reform, but arguing about the institutional format for the UN's main environmental body is not necessarily going to help resolve the problems.

A major problem with international environmental decision-making is that the various UN bodies are not joined up. Priorities are unclear and there is much overlap and duplication of work.

Another problem has been an explosion of new multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), put in place to deal with the increasing problems that require international cooperation.

There are currently more than 500 of them. 

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