The Stream, August 15: Difficulty of Cleaning Urban Waterways

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is starting to tackle Superfund cleanup projects involving heavily polluted sites hidden beneath urban waterways, The New York Times reported. The sites, often contaminated by years of industrial waste dumped into the water, are among the most difficult and expensive to restore, and come with the risk of spreading the pollution along miles of river.

Water in India’s Ganges River has exceeded limits for bacterial contamination, mostly due to sewage discharges, The Times of India reported, citing government officials.

Germany pledged $12.4 million to help Jordan improve water supplies, which are becoming increasingly stressed by an influx of refugees from Syria, Bloomberg News reported.

Research and Studies
Weak monsoons in southeast Asia during El Niño years result in a greater occurrence of land-clearing fires, which in turn produce enough air pollution to account for as many as 15,000 deaths, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change, reported Nature.

Another study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, found that hurricanes that pass over large areas of fresh water can intensify 50 percent faster than those that do not, according to a press release from Texas A&M University.

Food and Agriculture
Rising global wheat prices, in part fueled by drought, prompted Israel to increase the price of bread by more than 6 percent, Xinhua News reported. Bread prices are also set to increase in Australia, according to reports from The Age.

The cotton crop in Australia, however, is on track to set records as La Niña rains boost water supply, Businessweek reported.

The Stream is a daily digest spotting global water trends. To get more water news, follow Circle of Blue on Twitter and sign up for our newsletter.

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