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Worldwide waterworks
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Marine biologists in South Africa are trying to reduce the environmental impact caused by undersea nets around the beaches near Durban. The nets are designed to protect swimmers from shark attacks but a side effect is that they kill other marine mammals. Local dolphins appear to have adapted to the presence of the underwater barriers but other species get entangled in the nets. So the local authorities are gradually reducing the number of nets – the idea is to protect swimmers while not harming the rest of the fish population.

Bolivian conservationists are trying to work out how to move nine Bolivian river dolphins out of an Amazon tributary. They can’t stay there because agricultural irrigation, deforestation and dry weather has drastically lowered the level of the river, threatening to leave local dolphins on dry land. The dolphins are the only ones in landlocked Bolivia – so a team of scientists and volunteers are hoping they can move the dolphins to their new habitat without harming them.

British environmental developers are demonstrating an oil recovery system that they say could remove all the crude oil spilt over the surface of the sea in the Gulf of Mexico. They have adapted highly-absorbent polymer membranes used in biofuel production, which are capable of soaking up crude oil like blotting paper. Developers say it would take a fleet of boats 18 days to mop up all the oil.

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