Top news: Final day of International Whaling Commission talks disrupted by outrage over a sanctuary; Chinese government finally moves to clean-up six-week-old oil spill; new proposals could see China’s industrial polluters fined by the day; mosquitoes are attracted to smelly feet.

© Qiu Bo / Greenpeace

#IWC It appears that some of the issues at this year’s International Whaling Commission in Jersey were just too hot to talk about as infighting led to a less than productive final day. Tensions between countries came to a head as South American nations attempted to have the long-awaited South Atlantic whale sanctuary voted in; an issue that has been on the table for a decade. You might think that a whale sanctuary would be an uncontroversial issue, but it looks like they’ll again have to wait until next year - the proposal riled some pro-whaling countries so much that they staged something of a teenage-style storm out. According to one source, one pro-whaling representative was heard to announce “I hate you and I hate this Committee and I’m never coming back” before slamming the door and turning on Nickleback at full volume.

#Oil Spill In a response that might be likened to the bleary eyed confusion of an early morning after the late night before, the Chinese government has finally roused itself to do something about the 515km2 oil slick that has been floating in the sea off of its northeast coast for a month and a half. However, considering it took nearly a month for the two spills in the Bohai Sea to even be reported, the month-and-a-half response time may be considered relatively speedy by the standards of the Chinese government.

#Toxic Fines After criticising China over its woeful response to the oil spills in the Bohai Sea, it’s only fair that we applaud newly proposed legislation to fine companies who do not comply with environmental laws. In the struggle to balance economic and industrial growth with environmental protection, China hopes the new legislation – which will see violators fined around $1500 per day – can change the lax attitude towards pollution that have rendered 16% of the country’s rivers too toxic for even irrigation purposes. This announcement comes hot on the heels of our Dirty Laundry report detailing toxic waste produced by manufacturers of clothes for top brands like Nike and Adidas.

#Malaria One of life’s great joys occurs when a trait generally regarded as a detriment is suddenly discovered to hold some huge advantage for the individual or even mankind. This week it was the turn of smelly-socked people to feel smug about their otherwise unpleasant affliction as scientists announced that stinky socks can help fight malaria. Apparently mosquitoes are attracted to the odour which would be placed around a trap. So the next time someone asks me to put my shoes back on I’m going to tell them I am contributing to the global fight against malaria and attempt to make them feel guilty for having such fresh-smelling feet.