U.S. Pollution

Water Scarcity Agricultural diversions, dams and climate change have led to the loss of 85 percent of the water in Lake Urmia, a lake that once covered 5,000 square kilometers, Bloomberg News reported. Iran’s president said the country is initiating efforts to restore the lake, which are expected to take 10 to 15 years to […]

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Human rights groups have sent a report to the United Nations arguing that water shutoffs by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department are violating the human right to water, the Detroit News reported. Half of the city’s water accounts are overdue, and the city has so far shut off 4,500 of the 46,000 customers that […]

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Desertification Approximately 105 million hectares, or 32 percent of India’s land, is degraded and one quarter is facing desertification, according to India’s environment minister, Reuters reported. The trend is thought to be caused by overuse of land for grazing livestock and shifting rainfall patterns. India is not alone. Globally, 2 billion hectares a year are […]

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Floods Flooding in Nepal costs the country approximately $US 232 million each year when taking into account damages to both infrastructure and health, according to a new study by Nepal’s government and the Climate Development Knowledge Network, the Guardian reported. There is evidence that the intensity and frequency of floods in Nepal are increasing, with […]

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Water Quality The water supply for approximately 680,000 was shut off in Jingjiang City, China today due to concerns about its quality, Reuters reported. Supplies, which came from the Yangtze River and were flagged because of a strange smell, were later turned back on using an alternative source, according to Bloomberg News. Proposed regulations in […]

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Extreme Weather Extreme flooding along the Madeira River in the Amazon basin, which killed 60 people and displaced 68,000 families this year, was the result of massive deforestation in Bolivia and Peru, according to a scientist who was previously the head of the Inter-American Development Bank environmental division, IPS reported. His assessment contradicts the views […]

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Pollution Oil spilled into southern Lake Michigan Monday from a BP refinery in Indiana that was updated last year to accommodate an increasing amount of crude oil coming from Canada’s tar sands, Reuters reported. Lake Michigan is currently 60 percent covered in ice, and the company has not yet said how much oil was leaked. […]

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Water and Energy The World Bank has approved a $US 73 million grant to continue the development of the Inga 3 hydropower project, the first in a series of large dams planned for the Congo River, Inter Press Service reported. The Grand Inga project would give the Democratic Republic of Congo the third highest hydropower […]

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Asia Water cleanup systems meant to decrease the radioactivity of wastewater at Japan’s damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant have malfunctioned, prompting the Tokyo Electric Power Company to suspend water cleanup operations, the Japan Times reported. One of the three systems was not sufficiently reducing levels of radioactive substances in the water, and officials stopped the […]

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Pollution Officials have found 131 dead pigs in China’s Ganjiang River near Nanchang, and are still recovering more carcasses, Bloomberg News reported. Drinking water in Nanchang has been tested and is safe, according to tests, but the incident is once again raising concerns about food and water safety a year after dead pigs were found […]

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Pollution A coal seam gas operation in Australia’s Pilliga forest contaminated groundwater supplies with arsenic, lead and uranium after the facility’s storage ponds leaked, the Guardian reported. The contamination led to a $1,500 fine and calls from environmentalists and farmers to halt the operation, though the company says the groundwater was not part of a […]

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Scientific research stations in Antarctica are contaminating the surrounding environment through wastewater discharges, and toxic chemicals have been found in the tissues of penguins and fish, sediments, and dust, National Geographic reported. Though it is unclear what effect the chemicals are having on the animals, levels in some sediment samples were as high as those […]

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Pollution A federal judge in the United States ruled that actions by lawyers representing plaintiffs in a decades-long Ecuador water pollution case were corrupt, making it less likely that Chevron—the oil company accused of pollution—will end up paying the $US 9.5 billion fine ordered last year by Ecuador’s highest court, The New York Times reported. […]

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Pollution Australian government records show that a nickel refinery illegally discharged wastewater into the Great Barrier Reef marine park, introducing hundreds of tons of nitrogen into the environment, the Guardian reported. The company was not penalized, and said the releases were necessary to prevent overflow from the refinery’s tailings ponds during heavy rains. Environmental officials […]

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Political disagreements between Hamas, the Palestinian Authority and Israeli officials have left a new wastewater treatment plant sitting idle, the Guardian reported. The plant is meant to improve water quality in an aquifer that supplies water to Gaza, where most citizens have to buy water from vendors and can pay as much as a third […]

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Water Pollution A chemical foaming agent used to process coal spilled into the Elk River in Charleston, West Virginia Friday, prompting a tap water ban for approximately 300,000 people and the declaration of a state and federal disaster, CBS News reported. Stores in the area quickly sold out of bottled water, and the National Guard […]

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Food Production Countries like Qatar and Saudi Arabia, which rely heavily on food imports due to a lack of water and arable land within their borders, are shifting their agricultural investments from developing countries in Africa to developed countries in Europe and North America, Reuters reported. Political instability and a backlash over “land grabs” in […]

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Water Supply It is likely that California will record its driest year ever in 2013, and dry conditions are expected to continue for the third winter in a row, USA Today reported. The dry conditions are expected to create water shortages for farmers and will increase the risk of large wildfires next year. An article […]

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Climate Change Under a worse-case scenario in which global temperatures rise 4 degrees Celsius, most of the world would experience interrelated stresses to water, agriculture, ecosystems, and public health, with 18 percent of the population experiencing “severe pressure” in each category, according to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, […]

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Analyzing two reports about future water stress in the United States, the Huffington Post created a list of the top 11 cities that could face water shortages due to factors like population growth, increasing water demand from industries, and climate change. Los Angeles, which imports much of its fresh water, tops the list. Water Pollution […]

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