Water pollution

two students on the beach

Surfing scientists in Spain are hunting down microplastics 

​​​​​​​Plastic is everywhere. Scientists have found the stuff in just about every corner of the planet, even through the high seas. But getting a better understanding of what’s going on here, where the plastic waste comes from, and what it is, can still be challenging. That’s especially true along shallow coastlines.

Plastic pollution has become a major concern in Ghana.

Ghana’s fishermen are drowning in plastic. The govt is trying to tackle pollution before it’s too late.

Polluted river Sonora, Mexico

A recent leak of sulfuric acid into the Mexico’s Sea of Cortez arouses anger and concern

A hand holds small micro-plastics.

As the world grapples with plastic, the US makes more of it — a lot more

Pushing plastics
Workers in a dark building sort trash from a conveyor belt.

Inside the long war to protect plastic

Pushing plastics
Close up of colorful plastic bits

Microplastics have turned up in the remote Arctic Ocean, which means they’re everywhere


Scientists are finding microscopic bits of plastic just about everywhere they look, including in remote, pristine environments and in the human body.

Child drinking water

Newark, NJ, has a lead contamination problem in its water


The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, brought lead contamination to the nation’s attention in 2015. Now, the spotlight is turning to Newark, New Jersey.

Green algae bloom in Florida

Florida’s ‘red tide’ could help turn the state blue


In Florida, a surge of toxic red and green algae blooms has fueled frustration with Republican Governor Rick Scott.

The new water-based process being used by some independent Mongolian miners can extract up to 80% of the gold from the ore and is much cleaner than processes using mercury or cyanide.

These Mongolian miners are making gold greener. Now they want their government to help.


Gold mining is a key source of income in Mongolia, but it can often be a dirty business. An effort by small, independent miners to switch to a non-toxic processing method is improving the outlook for their health and the local environment.

A boy throws a plastic bottle into Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro on Aug. 7.

Rio’s water cleanup barely works and it’s crimping impoverished fishermen


In the run-up to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio’s state government came under fire for the disgusting state of the bay on which Olympic sailors would compete.