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E-waste warning after items fail to be properly recycled

E-waste produce toxins which damage the ozone layer. Credit: PA

Less than a sixth of the tens of millions of tonnes of electronic and electrical waste generated across the world last year was properly recycled, reused or treated, a study has found.

There was 41.8 million tonnes of "e-waste", ranging from washing machines to mobile phones in 2014 - containing an estimated £35 billion in resources such as gold, silver and copper, as well as toxins including ozone layer-depleting gases and mercury.

But just 6.5 million tonnes was sent to proper recycling, reuse or treatment systems, the Global E-Waste Monitor compiled by the United Nations University (UNU) think tank found.

While the US and China produced the most electronic and electrical waste overall, contributing 32% of the total, the UK was one of the biggest producers of e-waste per person - coming fifth behind Norway, Switzerland, Iceland and Denmark.

Items included washing machines, vacuum cleaners, electric shavers and video cameras as well as mobile phones and computers.

Warning as 'very high' pollution levels to hit parts of UK

Air pollution levels are set to become 'high' and 'very high' in parts of central, eastern and northern England today, experts have warned.

A combination of pollutants trapped near the ground, a small amount of Saharan dust and winds bringing across pollution from Europe has damaged air quality across the country.

Pollution levels will become 'very high' in some parts today Credit: Defra

By tomorrow, however, sharper winds from the Atlantic are expected to clear some of the toxic elements, bringing air pollution levels down to moderate or low.

The latest information on pollution levels can be found on the Defra website.

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'Significant' oil reserves found near Gatwick Airport

Britain could see a significant increase in oil production after a geologists discovered reserves which could be as much as 100 billion barrels near Gatwick Airport.

The discovery at the Weald Basin by exploration firm UK Oil & Gas Investments (UKOG) is a "possible world class potential resource," the company said.

The exploration centred on Horse Hill (green marker) near Gatwick Airport (red marker). Credit: Google Maps

Geologists found 158 million barrels per square mile and it is estimated up to 15% could be recovered.

In 15 years the site could provide up to 30% of the UK's oil demand.

The company considers that the high pay thickness, combined with interpreted naturally fractured limestone reservoir with measurable matrix permeability, gives strong encouragement that these reservoirs can be successfully produced using conventional horizontal drilling and completion techniques.

Appraisal drilling and well testing will be required to prove its commerciality, but this Weald hybrid play has the potential for significant daily oil production.

– Stephen Sanderson, UKOG

Campaigners urge garden centres to pull anti-bee chemical

Garden centres should withdraw all products which contain a type of pesticide linked to a drop in the number of bees, campaigners have said.

Ethical Consumer magazine has named nine of the UK's leading garden centres - including B&Q and Homebase - as selling bug killers which contain a chemical known as thiacloprid.

The chemical is believed to harm pollenating insects such as bees Credit: PA

While less toxic to bees than other chemicals in the same family which have already been banned on crops which attract honey bees, environmental campaigners say there is growing evidence thiscloprid harms pollinating insects including bees and butterflies as well as farmland birds.

Blue Diamond, Dobbies, Hilliers, Notcutts, Squires, Wilko and Wyevale also stock products containing the chemical, the magazine added.

Gardeners will be shocked to discover that by using these insecticides they are unwittingly introducing dodgy chemicals into their gardens which are being increasingly implicated in the crisis facing our honey bees.

We call on all garden centres to ensure that they don't sell any products that could harm our bees.

– Jane Turner, Ethical Consumer co-researcher

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Charles reveals concerns over the environment

Prince Charles has said there is "awful lot to worry about" in relation to the world's environmental resources and wildlife.

He said his conservation efforts were driven by a need to leave future generations a world "which isn't even more destroyed and damaged and dysfunctional than it need be".

He listed his areas of concern from the continuing destruction of rainforests, to the threat to endangered animals like rhinos, elephants and tigers and the need for sustainable cities.

Charles said: "The world has looked to the United States for leadership in so many challenging circumstances in the past.

"However, today we are faced by truly exceptional challenges and threats - a veritable 'perfect storm' which, if not met by strong, decisive and far-sighted leadership, could overwhelm our capacity to rectify the damage and thereby destroy our grandchildren's future inheritance."

His comments came after he was presented with the exceptional leadership in conservation honour, from the International Conservation Caucus Foundation during a ceremony in Washington.

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