The Stream, January 4: Malaysia May Suspend Bauxite Mines On Water Pollution Concerns

The  Global Rundown

The Global Rundown

Malaysia is considering a temporary suspension of its bauxite mines as it investigates a water pollution case, putting a hold on a fast-growing industry. Flooding continued along the Mississippi River, while the British government pledged millions of dollars to improve flood defenses in northern England. Efforts to clean up India’s Ganges River over the past three decades have failed to stem pollution, and experts say aging water infrastructure in the United States could cause more problems like the lead-contaminated water in Flint, Michigan. Abu Dhabi raised water prices for non-citizens, and winter storms over the weekend increased water supplies in Jordan.

“I think the water infrastructure we have in this country is seriously neglected. … It does live in this different world, where it’s so intrinsic, but given the fact that it’s buried, it’s literally underground, it’s easy to ignore.”–Robert Puentes, director of the Metropolitan Infrastructure Initiative at the Washington D.C.-based Brookings Institution, in a discussion about the lead-contaminated water crisis in Flint, Michigan. Aging water infrastructure across the United States could pose problems similar to those experienced in Flint, where the mayor declared a state of emergency last month. (NPR)

By the Numbers

By The Numbers

$59 million Amount pledged by the British government to reinforce flood defenses along rivers in Yorkshire and Cumbria, where recent storms caused widespread flooding and damage. The funding has been called a “short-term” solution. Guardian

10 million cubic meters Amount of water added to dams in Jordan over the weekend by rain and snow storms, boosting water supplies to more than 46 percent of capacity — higher than at this time last year. Jordan Times

6.6 percent Increase in water prices for water users in Abu Dhabi who are not citizens of the United Arab Emirates. The price increase kicks in after customers use 5 cubic meters of water per day. Bloomberg


Science, Studies, And Reports

Despite decades-long government initiatives to clean up the Ganges River in India, the river’s water remains stubbornly polluted. Several studies published in 2015 found that heavy metal concentrations in some areas of the river have actually been increasing, likely due to wastewater discharges from industrial sources. The Third Pole

On the Radar

On The Radar

In response to a water contamination case that turned part of its coastline red last week, Malaysia may suspend its bauxite mines pending greater regulation of the industry. Bauxite mining in Malaysia has grown dramatically over the past few years as the country scrambles to supply more of the material to China, where it is used to make aluminum. Reuters

Flooding along the Mississippi River peaked in southern Illinois over the weekend, inundating more than 100 buildings and prompting local officials to ask residents to voluntarily evacuate. Floods in the river basin are expected to continue downstream through the middle of the month. Reuters

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