Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources sampled trash from 10 landfills and five transfer stations across Iowa for a study published in December 2017, looking to answer the question, “What are Iowans landfilling?” Tom Anderson, of the Iowa DNR’s Land Quality Bureau and the study’s project manager, has an answer to that question.
Iowans dumped 2.7 million tons of garbage into landfills last year. One method the Iowa Department of Natural Resources promotes to reduce the negative influence of dumping all that garbage has on the environment is called the Environmental Management System, but many Iowa landfill operators are reluctant to adopt this new system. How much do you know about Iowa’s efforts to reduce garbage put into landfills?
This year marked a record number of state beach closings due to microcystin, a liver toxin produced by cyanobacteria, more commonly called blue-green algae. What are the risks for people, pets and livestock that come into contact with the toxin? And why are we seeing more of it at Iowa beaches?
IowaWatch assistant editor and data analyst Lauren Mills and Iowa City Press-Citizen reporter Stephen Gruber-Miller were guests on the Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015, “Your Town” segment of Jay Capron’s morning show on KXIC radio, AM 800, in Iowa City.
That paint-like scum that covers some Iowa lakes every summer isn’t just gross and smelly. People, pets, and livestock coming into contact with or ingesting toxins produced by the algae are at risk to symptoms including skin rashes, gastrointestinal issues and, in high doses, liver failure.
Only certain strains of cyanobacteria can produce toxins, although they don’t always do so.
“Scientists generally agree that the cyanobacteria evolved this ability to produce toxin either as a competitive advantage or as some sort of protection,” Mary Skopec, who heads the Iowa Department of Natural Resources beach monitoring program, said.
Iowa’s wind industry must deal with unwanted bat deaths as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service tries to stop the slaughter of one species – the northern long-eared bat. This, despite wind turbines not being the bats’ main tormentor.