The Stream, March 21: Heatwaves Fuel Toxic Algae Outbreak In Murray River

The Global Rundown

Blooms of toxic algae are spreading for hundreds of kilometers along Australia’s Murray River amid abnormally high temperatures. Hundreds of communities in Thailand face water shortages due to drought, while Gaza contends with declining and polluted groundwater. Environmental regulators in China are investigating extremely low fines levied against polluting companies, and regulators in Chile have shut down a gold mine’s access to water on environmental concerns. A First Nation community in British Columbia has refused to allow a natural gas terminal at the mouth of the Skeena River despite huge payment offers. A toxic chemical was found in low levels in dozens of New Jersey water systems.

“Opportunities like that don’t come to your door every day. But I give my people credit for taking that bold step. They showed their love and their passion for the land and water. No amount of money can compare to the richness of the river and what it gives us.” –Yahaan, hereditary chief of the Lax Kw’alaams First Nation in British Columbia, on the community’s refusal to take a $1.15 billion payoff to allow a liquefied natural gas terminal to be built at the mouth of the Skeena River. They continue to oppose the terminal. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

$90 Amount a provincial environmental regulator in China fined a factory for dumping polluted wastewater. The low amount has prompted an investigation by China’s environment ministry. Reuters

100 million cubic meters Amount of the annual water deficit in the Gaza Strip, where groundwater levels are dropping and are highly polluted. Xinhua

700 communities Number in Thailand’s Si Sa Ket province that are facing shortages of water for consumption due to a severe drought. The Nation

80 water systems Number in New Jersey where traces of a toxic chemical were found. Levels of the chemical do not pose an imminent health threat, according to officials. The Record

Science, Studies, And Reports

Heat waves continue to scorch Australia, where temperatures during the first week of March were 8 to 12 degrees Celsius above average in the country’s Southeast, according to a report released by the Climate Council. The heat has contributed to an outbreak of toxic algae stretching 500 kilometers along the Murray River. Guardian

On The Radar

Chile has shut down the water systems serving the Maricunga gold mine due to environmental concerns. Regulators cut off the mine’s access to groundwater wells, which it needs to operate. Reuters

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