Cloud of pollution `out of control'
Sunday 21 November 1999
Clouds hovering far from the land over the world's oceans are a sign that the smoke creating the pollution is now "overloading the atmosphere" according to Professor Mario Molina, and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is to launch an urgent investigation.
An enormous cloud of brown haze, the size of the United States, has been found over the Indian Ocean, 100 miles from the nearest shore, by an international scientific group. No one knows what has caused the smoke - it could come from forest fires, car exhausts on the Indian sub-continent, or perhaps from industrialised countries thousands of miles away.
Professor Molina, who was speaking after being given UNEP's $200,000 (pounds 128,000) Saskasawa Prize - the world's top environmental award - said the cloud over the Indian Ocean had only been found because scientists from the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Group were specifically examining the area. He said there were signs of similar clouds over the Pacific and that he feared they could become a "global" phenomenon. Normally such pollution would be washed out of the air by rain, but the fact they were persisting suggested that an alarming change may be taking place.
He said he feared that pollution was "overloading the atmosphere beyond its capacity to clean itself".
Professor Klaus Topfer, UNEP's executive director, added that the cloud was a cause for "huge concern" and said he was planning to launch "co- ordinated scientific research" into the phenomenon.
However, Professor Molina, who is a scientific adviser to President Clinton added that, in the meantime, the level of ozone damaging chemicals in the atmosphere were gradually beginning to decrease as a result of international agreement to phase them out, marking the beginning of what is expected to be the first major victory over global atmospheric pollution.
But he added that the chemicals last so long in the atmosphere that the ozone layer is not expected to recover fully until the year 2050 even if all nations in the world succeed in banning them.
- 1 Howard Jacobson: Let's see the 'criticism' of Israel for what it really is
- 3 Belgium fan Axelle Despiegelaere lands L'Oreal campaign after World Cup viral photo
- 4 Britney Spears sings 'Alien' without Auto-Tune in embarrassingly brilliant leaked audio clip
- 5 PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Game of Thrones author George RR Martin says 'f*** you' to fans who fear he will die before finishing Westeros saga
Instagram of US airport security chiefs: Lipstick knives and IED training kits among items seized
‘Ryan Gosling got someone pregnant and it's not me. Brazil you think you’re devastated…’
Israel-Palestine crisis: ‘We just want it to end… We don’t deserve to live like this’
Israel-Palestine crisis: Eight killed in Gaza Strip cafe while watching World Cup semi-final
Sustained immigration has not harmed Britons' employment, say government advisers
Australia facing international condemnation after turning around Sri Lankans at sea
7/7 memorial defaced on anniversary of 2005 attacks with ‘Blair lied thousands died’ graffiti
Even when it brutalises one of its own teenage citizens, America is helpless against Israel
There’s a nasty smell in the political air – and it’s coming from the Tories
Vanessa Feltz criticises 'vile' reaction to Rolf Harris allegations
£60000 - £75000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...
£60000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A leading provider in investment managemen...
£600 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: AVS, JVS Openlink Endur Developer JVS, ...
£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...