U.S. Pollution

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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China has unveiled plans to clean up the resource extraction industry by making mining companies pay a fee to local governments for environmental funds, Reuters reported. The fee is only refunded if the company does not create pollution, and will otherwise be used to restore the environment. Wastewater Treatment Countries in the Caribbean say that […]

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Pollution Water polluted with sewage is flowing into the Danjiangkou Reservoir, a source of water for China’s South-North water transfer project that is slated to provide water to Beijing and Tianjin as early as next year, Bloomberg News reported. The Chinese government has blamed the pollution on industries that dump untreated sewage into the five […]

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Pollution The disposal of wastewater created during the mining of bituminous tar sands is a growing problem for Canada’s oil industry, which must store the water in vast reservoirs, and the industry is planning expansions that could turn Alberta into the largest man-made lake district in the world, Bloomberg News reported. Environmentalists worry that the […]

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Pollution New reforms revealed by China last week point to a shift in priorities that puts more emphasis on issues like environmental protection, rather than economic growth “at all costs”, Reuters reported. In an effort to clean up the country’s water and air, the Chinese government said it will hold local authorities responsible for pollution, […]

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Water Pollution The top 10 toxic hotspots in the world are primarily in developing countries in places where people are either processing resources or recycling waste for the developed world, polluting waterways and creating major health concerns, according to a new report released by the Blacksmith Institute and Green Cross Switzerland, the Guardian reported. Among […]

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