Tag: island

Urban heat island
Urban heat island

What’s a urban heat island? To answer this question we need to start from explaining that air temperature and surface temperature are two different things. Have you ever walked on the beach bare foot? Of course, so you know the difference. The sand can get way hotter than the air. But why? What makes the difference here? The color and the chemical composition of the surface.

Streets and roofs are usually dark and, because of this, they absorb more heat than white objects. Asphalt and concrete is also water resistant. Didn’t you notice that after the rain there’re a lot of puddles here and there? This happens because water can’t pass through the concrete. In our cities, everywhere you look you can see concrete, asphalt, roofs and parking lots. All of this contributes to the urban heat island effect, which explains why cities are usually a few degrees hotter than the countryside surrounding them.

isola di calore

This affects also the night time. During the night buildings and streets release the heat absorbed during the day.
Does this happen even in winter? Yes. Maybe we don’t feel it, but the city is hotter that the surround areas even during the coldest months of the year. This is why, in some cities, snow it’s not that common.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 3 times the size of France
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 3 times the size of France

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. This mass of garbage is located between Hawaii and California and it’s three times bigger than France. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation have conducted the most extensive analysis ever of this area: the GPGP covers an estimated surface area of 1.6 million square kilometers.

The GPGP, also known as Pacific Trash Vortex, is like an island, floating on the ocean’s surface. It’s almost entirely made of plastic that weigh an estimated 80,000 tonnes. This is incredible! A total of 1.8 trillion plastic pieces were estimated to be floating in the patch – a plastic count that is equivalent to 250 pieces of debris for every human in the world.

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made of little pieces and bigger pieces of plastic, easier to remove. The experts fear that the deterioration of the bigger pieces into microplastics, the result of sun exposure, waves, marine life and temperature changes, will worsen the problem. Animals confuse the plastic for food, putting at risk their overall behavior, health and existence.
But there are health and economic implications for humans as well: once plastic enters the marine food web, there is a possibility that it will contaminate the human food chain.
This is something that we need to avoid.