Science and Health Round-Up: Concern over lack of oxygen in Danish waters - The Post

Science and Health Round-Up: Concern over lack of oxygen in Danish waters

Meanwhile, wind energy expected to be humanity’s best bet to cut down on CO2 emissions

Looking for food is getting trickier for fish (photo: Pixabay)
August 23rd, 2019 3:26 pm| by Arushi Rajput

Danish waters are suffering from a dearth of oxygen, warn several Danish environmental organisations – WWF Verdensnaturfonden, the Danish Nature Conservation Association, Levende Hav and the Danish Sports Fishing Association – which are calling for government action through the campaign RedHavet.

“There is a very large seabed area in the Baltic Sea that is now completely dead due to a dearth of oxygen,” Bo Øksnebjerg, the secretary general of the WWF Verdensnaturfonden, told TV2. He also pointed out that cod are now almost extinct in the Baltic. 

Every year, underwater animals in an area of 14,000 square kilometres are killed by oxygen depletion, the organisations stated. 

A call for help!
The campaign RedHavet, which means save the sea, will aim to generate awareness and collect enough signatures to stir up political action to preserve, not destroy aquatic life. 

The campaign points out that underwater biodiversity is disrupted due to suffocation, increased pollution and bottom-trawling. 

Harmful emissions and bottom trawling
Harmful substances such as nitrogen and phosphorus are released into the sea, causing algae growth that in turn prevents sunlight from reaching the ocean beds. 

Bottom-trawling also poses a danger as it interferes with the biodiversity of the seabed. 

“Large parts of the Kattegat and the nearby North Sea are trawled every single year. It is a big machine that tears everything up from the sea floor, taking away even the food of the fish,” explained Bo Øksnebjerg to TV2.

Europe can cover the world’s energy needs
Wind energy from Europe can fulfil the world’s electricity needs by 2050, according to a study involving Aalborg University. Around 11 million wind turbines can be set up in Europe to produce 497 exajoule of energy. “We need to focus on onshore wind, because it is the cheapest way to produce green power,” explained Professor Brian Vad Mathiesen from Aalborg University. “However, it is a huge technical and financial challenge to set up the infrastructure to work in sync,” he added. According to the researchers, the potential is greatest in Norway, Russia and Turkey as they have the resources and plenty of space. The team will begin charting out the placements plans starting next year. 

Fewer gay men are contracting syphilis
The number of men getting infected by syphilis in Denmark fell in 2018, bucking a constant rise ongoing since 2000, according to a study conducted by the Statens Serum Institut (SSI), and the decrease is most noticeable among gay men. “One of the reasons for the decline is that gay people can now get tested frequently,” noted Jørgen Skov Jensen, a consultant at SSI. He also pointed that that the STD situation in Denmark is not nearly as worrying as in other countries. Among heterosexual men and women, the syphilis infection rate has stayed the same since 2017.  

Slime toys pose serious risk to kids
Almost 13 slime toys out of 27 have been deemed illegal by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency as they contain high concentrations of  harmful substances. The agency has advised consumers to dispose off the products. “These are massive violations and shops should immediately remove the dangerous products from their shelves,” said Lea Wermelin, the environment minister.

READ MORE: Slime and putty toys removed after tests prove they harm children

Experts: Denmark’s CO2 emissions rate worse than documented
Climate and economy experts believe that Denmark is impacting the climate more than previously thought, as the official figures do not take into account the emissions given off by burning biomass to produce energy. Denmark is burning wood for energy instead of switching to greener methods, and this is largely due to the tax exemption on biomass. Danmarks Statistik reveals that Denmark’s consumption of biomass releases almost 19 million tonnes of CO2 into the environment annually. 

New wind farm expected to power over 400,000 homes
Denmark’s largest offshore wind farm has just opened in Horns Rev 3. It is expected to provide electricity to 425,000 households annually. The 49 giant turbines will account for approximately 12 percent of Denmark’s total wind power generation, according to the Ministry of Climate and Energy. “Horns Rev 3, the largest offshore wind farm in Scandinavia, shows our commitment to Denmark’s conversion to renewable energy,” said Magnus Hall, the CEO of Vattenfall, the energy company responsible for building the farm. “It helps us to ensure that we can avoid fossil fuels and reach the government’s target of a 70 percent reduction in climate emissions by 2030,” stated Dan Jørgensen, the minister for food and agriculture.