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Flash floods kill 33 in northern Pakistan: Officials

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PESHAWAR — Flash floods caused by torrential monsoon rains have killed at least 33 people in northern Pakistan including 31 from a village near the border with Afghanistan, officials said today.

The downpours started late Saturday and were concentrated mainly in the northwestern province of Khybher Pakthunkwa, which has been badly affected by flooding in recent years that some scientists have linked to climate change.

The worst hit district was Chitral, on the country’s northwest border, where flood waters swept away a mosque, several houses and army post in the remote village of Ursoon, district mayor Maghfirat Shah told AFP.

Osama Waraich, another senior local official, added that eight bodies of the missing villagers had been found from the Afghan side and six soldiers were still missing.

Separately, two Chinese engineers were killed and five Pakistani workers injured when the roof of a construction site collapsed at Tarbela Dam owing to the rains that began late Saturday, Latifur Rehman, spokesman for the Provincial Disaster Management Authority said.

Rescue and relief operations were underway, he added.

In April rains and landslides killed 127 people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Gilgit-Baltistan region and Pakistani Kashmir.

Poorly built homes across Pakistan, particularly in rural areas, are susceptible to collapse during the annual spring and monsoon rains in July-August, which are often heavy.

Severe weather in recent years has killed hundreds and destroyed huge tracts of prime farmland.

During the rainy season last summer, torrential downpours and flooding killed 81 people and affected almost 300,000 people across the country.

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Over 70% of deep-sea fish of Atlantic Ocean have ingested plastic : Study

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Fragments of plastic are found throughout the world, from nearly every continent to nearly every body of water. But, researchers recently have found 73 percent of Northwest Atlantic deep-sea fish are also eating it — the highest reported frequency of plastic-eating fish in the world.

Plastic particles were found in some of the most remote parts of the Atlantic Ocean with almost three quarters of a sample of more than 230 deep-water fish collected by NUI Galway scientists having ingested plastic particles.

The contamination level among the fish species, located in the northwest Atlantic thousands of kilometres from land and 600m down in the ocean, is one of the highest reported frequencies of microplastic occurrence in fish worldwide, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

The NUIG scientists, as part of the study, participated in a transatlantic crossing onboard the marine institute’s Celtic Explorer vessel.

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PhD candidate and lead author Alina Wieczorek said, “Deep-water fish migrate to the surface at night to feed on plankton [microscopic animals] and this is likely when they are exposed to the microplastics.”

During this research cruise they took dead deep-sea fish from midwater trawls such as the spotted lanternfish, rakery beaconlamp, stout saw-palate and scaly dragonfish.

Microplastics are small plastic fragments that commonly originate from the breakdown of larger plastic items entering the ocean. Other sources may be waste water effluents carrying plastic fibres from clothing and microbeads from personal care products. Due to their low density, most of these microplastics float at the sea surface.

The fish ranged in size from the smallest species the Glacier Lantern at 3.5cm to the largest species, the stout saw-palate at 59cm.

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