1. Tons of death fish washed up on the shores of a lagoon of an urban area (Lagoa Rodrigo de Freitas) of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The official state news service Agencia Brasil said about 100 city employees working full-time cleared nearly 80 tons of fish as of Sunday. There was no immediate estimate of how many died, but several species were involved. Rio's environmental secretary speculates that increased levels of a harmful algae may be the immediate cause of the sudden die-off Friday.

  2. On 26 February 2010 Adventure Ecology founder and environmentalist David de Rothschild unveiled the Plastiki, a pioneering 60ft catamaran made from approximately 12,500 reclaimed plastic bottles and srPET: a fully recyclable material. The Plastiki crew is making final preparations to embark on an adventure taking them 11,000 nautical miles across the Pacific Ocean from San Francisco to Sydney. The Plastiki will be drawing attention to the health of world oceans, and in particular the large amounts of plastic debris, by showcasing waste as a resource and demonstrating real world solutions through the design and construction of the Plastiki.

  3. Marine species of March 2010 in the International Year of Biodiversity is a free-living marine nematode (Nematoda)

  4. The new Federal Nature Conservation Act and the Federal Water Act will enter into force on 1 March 2010. With this step, a nationwide statutory basis applies which harmonises nature conservation and water legislation at a high level. The previous framework legislation is repealed. Owing to constitutional amendments, these Acts are now the binding basis for action for citizens and the work of the enforcement authorities in the Länder.

  5. A census of the world’s largest mountain gorilla population has counted 480 animals, an increase of 100 - more than a quarter - since the last count in 2003. The gorillas surveyed live in Central Africa’s Virunga Massif region, a volcanic mountain ecosystem consisting of three adjacent national parks spanning parts of Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Rwanda. A fourth park, southwestern Uganda’s Bwindi, is home to an additional 302 mountain gorillas, the only other remaining wild population, which together with four orphaned mountain gorillas in a sanctuary in the DRC brings the wild population to 786. The Virunga census was conducted in March and April 2010 by local authorities with the support of the International Gorilla Conservation Programme (IGCP), a coalition of several conservation organizations, including WWF.

  6. The world’s combined global land and ocean surface temperature made last month the warmest March on record, according to NOAA. Taken separately, average ocean temperatures were the warmest for any March and the global land surface was the fourth warmest for any March on record. Additionally, the planet has seen the fourth warmest January – March period on record.

  7. On 2 March 2010, the European Commission adopted a Green Paper which sets out options for a European Union approach to the protection of forests and to information about forest resources and their condition. Responses to the Green Paper from the public, Member States, EU institutions and other stakeholders will guide the Commission on whether additional action is needed at EU level. The Green Paper 1 sets out the main challenges facing Europe's forests. It presents existing forest information systems and the tools available to protect forests, and raises a series of questions relevant to the development of future policy options. The paper is part of the follow-up to the White Paper 2 on adapting to climate change adopted by the Commission in April 2009. Since competence for forest policy lies primarily with the Member States, the debate should focus on how climate change is modifying forest management and protection in Europe and how EU policy should evolve to enhance its contribution to Member State initiatives.

  8. About one third of the population has voiced problems concerning aircraft noise, according to a representative survey done by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). Five million people report severe disturbance. The complaints lodged by the population are justified, as also reflected in a new UBA study by Prof. Greiser titled Risikofaktor nächtlicher Fluglärm [ Risk factor night-time aircraft noise]. As concerns cardiovascular diseases, it has been proven that the risk of disease in persons affected by increasing exposure to aircraft noise is higher than in those not exposed at all. For psychiatric disorders there is one consistent result: the incidence of depressive disorders in females is significantly higher.

  9. Since 1 March 2010, it constitutes an administrative offence inter alia to place batteries on the market without previously registering their presence on the market. The Batteries Act register has been accessible via the UBA website since 1.12.2009.

  10. On 2 February 2010 the European Commission adopted two decisions concerning the Genetically Modified Amflora potato: the first authorises the cultivation of Amflora in the EU for industrial use, and the second relates to the use of Amflora's starch by-products as feed. After a comprehensive authorisation procedure, which started in 2003, and repeated favourable scientific opinions, the Commission decided to authorise Amflora. This GM potato is to be used for the production of starch that is suitable for industrial applications (e.g. paper production). The decision provides for strict cultivation conditions to prevent the possibility that GM potatoes will remain in the fields after harvest and to ensure that Amflora's seed will not be inadvertently disseminated into the wider environment. A complementary authorisation is taken in order to cover the by-products of the starch extraction when they are used as feed.

  11. More than 155,000 tonnes of what is sometimes hazardous electronic waste are exported annually from Germany to non-European destinations, a volume which includes some 50,000 tonnes of PC and television monitors alone. The latter often contain metals as well as flame-retardant bromide compounds such as hazardous polybrominated diphenyl ether (PentaBDE). Even defective appliances are often re-classified as “functional”, then usually shipped to Asia and Africa where they are only rarely recycled ecologically. These are the findings of a new study commissioned by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), which was presented at CEBIT in Hannover on 4 March 2010. n their one-and-a-half-year-long study experts from the Hamburg Institute for Environmental Strategies (Ökopol) compiled the most solid information as yet on the origin and volume of exported devices. The equipment came from flea markets, second hand shops or were retrieved from junk yards. From there it is often transported via collection points for export, usually by sea. Besides harmless metallic raw materials, WEEE also houses a host of hazardous materials which must be recycled properly to avoid harming human health and the environment. An old computer contains more than 100 different materials, and conventional monitors contain lamps which must also be disposed of professionally.

  12. A section of the Arctic Ocean seafloor that holds vast stores of frozen methane is showing signs of instability and widespread venting of the powerful greenhouse gas, according to the findings of an international research team led by University of Alaska Fairbanks scientists Natalia Shakhova and Igor Semiletov. The research results, published in the March 5, 2010 edition of the journal Science, show that the permafrost under the East Siberian Arctic Shelf, long thought to be an impermeable barrier sealing in methane, is perforated and is starting to leak large amounts of methane into the atmosphere. Shakhova's research results show that the East Siberian Arctic Shelf is already a significant methane source, releasing 7 teragrams of methane yearly, which is as much as is emitted from the rest of the ocean. A teragram is equal to about 1.1 million tons.

  13. The United Nations Secretary General and the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) announced on 10 March 2010 that they asked the InterAcademy Council (IAC) to conduct an independent review of the IPCC’s processes and procedures to further strengthen the quality of the Panel’s reports on climate change. The IAC is the umbrella organization for various national academies of science from countries around the world. The review will examine every aspect of how the IPCC’s reports are prepared, including the use of non-peer reviewed literature and the reflection of diverse viewpoints. The review will also examine institutional aspects, including management functions as well as the panel’s procedures for communicating its findings with the public.

  14. On 8 March 2010 police stopped a tractor-trailer transporting a uranium hexafluoride cylinder on the A1 motorway in Bremen. The cylinder was mounted on a flat rack with essential components rusted through. The police ordered the flat rack to be replaced, before the transport would be allowed to continue. The cylinder had arrived in the Hamburg port from the USA and was on the way to Urenco's Gronau enrichment plant.

  15. The fifteenth Conference of the Parties (CoP15) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took place from 13-25 March 2010, in Doha, Qatar. On 25 March the parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora failed to agree on stronger protection for endangered fish species. The proposals submitted by the EU, the United States and other countries did not receive the required majorities. The EU proposal put forward by Germany on the protection of the porbeagle missed the requires two-third majority by one vote. Previously, the proposal on the spiny dogfish had also failed to receive the necessary support. The United States, which submitted proposals for six shark species to be listed in Annex II, suffered the same failure. Equally abortive was the proposal put forward by Monaco on a temporary ban on international trade of the bluefin tuna. However, some amphibian species made it into the CITES Appendices this year: some tree or leaf frog species from Central America, for example, were listed in Appendix II of the Convention and the Luristan newt from Iran even received the strict protection status of Appendix I. Moreover, elephants in Tanzania and Zambia retained their protection status under Appendix I.

  16. German federal environment minister Norbert Röttgen has lifted a 10-year moratorium on exploratory work at the Gorleben salt dome, a potential repository for Germany's radioactive waste.

  17. The German Meteorological Service has defined the Brocken observatory as climate reference station for climate observations. Twelve National Reference Stations (Aachen, Brocken, Fichtelberg, Frankfurt/Main, Görlitz, Helgoland, Hamburg-Fuhlsbüttel, Hohenpeissenberg, Konstanz, Lindenberg, Potsdam and Schleswig)were established in the national network to monitor climate developments.

  18. Habitat loss is having a serious impact on Europe’s butterflies, beetles and dragonflies. The release of the European Red List, commissioned by the European Commission, shows that nine percent of butterflies, 11 percent of saproxylic beetles (beetles that depend on decaying wood) and 14 percent of dragonflies are threatened with extinction within Europe. Some species are so threatened that they are at risk of global extinction and are now included in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Today’s studies reveal that nearly a third (31 percent) of Europe’s 435 butterfly species have declining populations and 9 percent are already threatened with extinction.

  19. Representatives of the Dutch, Danish and German governments meeting on 18 March 2010 in Westerland/Sylt agreed on new impetus for the protection of the Wadden Sea. At the conference, which was attended by over 130 international participants, the three partners of the Trilateral Wadden Sea Cooperation adopted a management plan for the entire Wadden Sea. Decisive action will now be taken against invasive alien species and the major challenges resulting from climate change. For the Wadden Sea ecosystem and for mankind it is vital to facilitate adaptation to the impacts of climate change through a package of measures. At the conclusion of the conference the governments of the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany agreed on a joint political programme for the coming 3 years geared towards even better protection of the common ecosystem. The conference on Sylt included the signing of a modernised founding document for the Cooperation and a new administrative agreement for the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat. In future, a newly established Wadden Sea Board will take on the strategic leadership of the Wadden Sea Cooperation. This board will be comprised of representatives of the three governments - or in Germany's case the Wadden Sea federal Länder - as well as two representatives from the nature conservation associations and the Wadden Sea Forum, an independent platform of stakeholders in the region. With the conclusion of the Sylt Conference, the presidency of the Wadden Sea Cooperation passes from Germany to Denmark.

  20. The cinema documentary THE 4TH REVOLUTION – EnergyAutonomy describes the possibility to switch to 100% renewables within the next 30 years by telling the stories of its protagonists, a prominent environmental activist, Nobel laureates, innovative businessmen and politicians. It demonstrates the opportunities which will be provided by the energy revolution regarding the sustainable economic development and social and economic fairness. The film was launched in German cinemas on 18 March 2010.

  21. The Plastiki and crew have reached the end of their voyage which has taken them through the Pacific Ocean on an 8,000 nautical mile adventure lasting over 130 days. On 26 July 2010 the team arrived on at Sydney’s Australian National Maritime Museum, Darling Harbour.

  22. The signatories to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) have come one important step closer to a global agreement on biopiracy. Delegates from the 194 states met in Cali, Colombia, and agreed on a common basis for negotiation of an international regime on access and benefit sharing of genetic resources. Its purpose is to create a global legal framework that regulates both access to genetic resources and the distribution of the profits made through their commercial use.

  23. Portuguese authorities have announced the establishment of four marine protected areas on the extended continental shelves of the Azores as well as mainland Portugal. The four sites – on the southern Mid Atlantic Ridge, Altair Seamount, Antialtair Seamount and Josephine Bank - together cover an area of 120,000 square km rich in vulnerable deepwater communities, including cold-water coral reefs, sponge fields, coral gardens, and deep sea bony fish, sharks and rays. The announcement of marine protected area status was made at an international North Atlantic environmental commission (OSPAR Convention) meeting attended by UN fisheries and seabed agencies in Funchal, Madeira. It follows three of the four sites being declared off limits to the use of destructive bottom fishing gear just under a year ago.

  24. Above average sea temperatures throughout the early part of 2010 have led to the first recorded major coral bleaching event at Lord Howe Island, the world’s southern-most coral reef. Water temperatures have exceeded 26-27 degrees over the last few months, which is a couple of degrees warmer than the usual summer sea temperature, leading to mild to moderate bleaching in some parts of the reef system and almost total coral bleaching in other areas. The reef lies within the Lord Howe Island Marine Park and is part of the Lord Howe Island World Heritage site.

  25. On 26 March 2010 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its proposal under the Clean Water Act to significantly restrict or prohibit mountain top mining at the Spruce No. 1 surface mine in Logan County, W. Va. Spruce No.1 mine is one of the largest mountaintop removal operations ever proposed in Central Appalachia. The project was permitted in 2007 and subsequently delayed by litigation. The Spruce No. 1 mine would bury over 7 miles of headwater streams, directly impact 2,278 acres of forestland and degrade water quality in streams adjacent to the mine. EPA’s proposed determination comes after extended discussions with the company failed to produce an agreement that would lead to a significant decrease of the environmental and health impacts of the Spruce No. 1 mine. EPA has used its Clean Water Act veto authority in just 12 circumstances since 1972 and never for a previously permitted project.

  26. On 29 MArch 2010 Russia signed a deal with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to set up the world's first nuclear fuel bank of low-enriched uranium for countries that need fuel for civilian purposes, including nuclear power plants.

  27. On 30 April 2010 a French appeals court upheld Total's conviction in the 1999 sinking of the tanker Erika off the coast of Brittany.

  28. Marine species of April 2010 in the International Year of Biodiversity is the unicellular alga Emiliania huxleyi.

  29. On 3 April 2010 the Chinese-registered coal carrier Shen Neng 1 ran aground on a reef about 70km east of Great Keppel Island, Queensland Australia, and ruptured its fuel tanks. The Vessel, which was carrying about 65.000 tonnes of coal, has 950 tonnes of oil on board.

  30. On 7 April 2010 the Solar Impulse HB-SIA underwent an extended 87 minute test flight. The flight reached an altitude of 1,200 m (3,937 ft). The Solar Impulse is designed by Swiss adventurer Bertrand Piccard's team - there are plans to fly it around the world in 2012.

  31. Europe's first mission dedicated to studying the Earth’s ice was launched on 8 April 2010 from Kazakhstan. From its polar orbit, CryoSat-2 will send back data leading to new insights into how ice is responding to climate change and the role it plays in our Earth system. The CryoSat-2 satellite was launched at 15:57 CEST (13:57 UTC) on a Dnepr rocket provided by the International Space Company Kosmotras from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The signal confirming that it had separated from the launcher came 17 minutes later from the Malindi ground station in Kenya. CryoSat-2 replaces the original CryoSat satellite that was lost in 2005 owing to a launch failure. The mission objectives, however, remain the same: to measure changes in the thickness of the vast ice sheets that overlie Antarctica and Greenland, as well as variations in the thickness of the relatively thin ice floating in the polar oceans.

  32. The Bolivian President Evo Morales has called for the First World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth (WPCCC) to be held in Bolivia. The conference took place April 19-22 near the city of Cochabamba.

  33. The federal Environmental Specimen Bank (ESB), Germany’s archive documenting environmental quality, provides exhaustive public information. Since 1981 it has collected environmental and human specimens which it analyses for pollutant substances, and put them in long-term storage. The new web application at www.umweltprobenbank.de provides private citizens, scientists, policy and administration officials alike with user-friendly and easily navigable access to topics and data contained in the ESB. The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has operated the Environmental Specimen Bank on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Environment for over 30 years. It comprises one of the central components of environmental observation in Germany. Regular sampling occurs in 13 typical areas within six different eco-system types. Students from the universities of Münster, Halle, Greifswald, and Ulm make annual donations of blood and urine samples to the ESB. The representative environmental and human samples have in part been stored permanently since 1981. This allows retrospective trend analyses of substances for which there was no verification procedure at the time of sampling, or which were mistakenly considered harmless at the time. A public ESB web application has existed since 2000. This new look lends a new and appropriate outfit to the familiar theme.

  34. On 19 April 2010 Germany's Federal Environmental Agency announced, that its high-altitude observatories had registered a drastic rise in fine dust in the air. On Germany's highest mountain, the Zugspitze, in the Alps, the reading was eight times the long-term average.

  35. The Deepwater Horizon oil spill is the largest marine oil spill in history, and was caused by an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil platform about 80km off the coast of Louisiana on 20 April 2010. On 22 April 2010 the Deepwater Horizon sank in about 5,000 feet (1,500 m) of water. After a series of failed efforts to plug the leak, BP said on 15 July 2010 that it had capped the well, stopping the flow of oil into the Gulf of Mexico for the first time in 86 days. Five million barrels of oil were released by the Macondo well, with roughly 4.2 million barrels pouring into the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

  36. Professor Peter Lemke of the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven has been awarded the 50,000 € “Bayer Climate Award 2010” by the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. He is being honoured for his groundbreaking research and pioneering contributions to the understanding of the role of sea ice in the climate system. Werner Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Bayer AG, presented Lemke with the award at the international climate conference “Continents under climate change” organized by the Humboldt University, in Berlin on April 22, 2010. An independent international board of experts selected the winner from 16 candidates, nominated by the presidents of major European research associations.

  37. The current national emissions-reduction pledges accompanying the Copenhagen Accord will not limit global warming to two degrees Celsius. In fact, they imply a global mean temperature increase of more than three degrees Celsius this century. This is reported by a team of researchers led by Joeri Rogelj and Malte Meinshausen of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in the current edition of the journal “Nature”.

  38. Scientists have discovered more than 123 new species in the Heart of Borneo area during the past 3 years – an average of more than 3 new species per month. These fascinating finds include the world’s longest known stick insect, a flame-coloured snake and a colour-changing frog. In total, 67 plants, 29 invertebrates, 17 fish, five frogs, three snakes and two lizards and a brand new species of bird have been discovered. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) released the list of the discovered species on 22 April 2010.

  39. After intensive negotiations, two German environmental groups – BUND Mecklenburg Western-Pomerania and WWF Germany – have reached an agreement with Nord Stream AG on further far-reaching environmental steps to protect the Baltic Sea. Plans for the long-term storage of excavation material from construction works at the landfall, and for environmental monitoring during construction have been modified. Furthermore, an additional “close season” of ten days for herring has been agreed for next year.

  40. On 24 April 2010 around 120,000 nuclear protesters formed a 120-kilometer human chain that stretched from a nuclear power plant in Brunsbuettel, through Hamburg along the Elbe River to another plant in Kruemmel. The protest come just days before 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Ukraine.