The Stream, June 30: Indonesia’s Abandoned Mines Leave Big Pollution Problem

The Global Rundown

Pollution from mines abandoned during the recent collapse of coal markets is contaminating rivers and rice paddies in Indonesia. Water flows are declining and shifting in the Indus Basin, researchers found. Scarce water supplies in some drought-hit regions of India are sparking violence. Michigan’s new budget includes a big funding boost to deal with lead-contaminated water in Flint. The president of Palestine retracted an allegation he made about Israel encouraging the poisoning of wells. Much of Australia is set to receive above-average rainfall this winter, reviving prospects for farmers.

“After it became evident that the alleged statements by a rabbi on poisoning Palestinian wells, reported by various media outlets, are baseless, President Abbas has affirmed that he didn’t intend to harm Judaism or to offend Jewish people around the world.” –Statement from the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, retracting his accusation that religious leaders in Israel had encouraged the poisoning of wells in Palestine. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

22 reservoirs Number, out of 139 in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, that are currently empty. Scarce water supplies are driving an uptick in violence there and in other drought-hit regions, according to police. Reuters

$240 million Amount set aside in Michigan’s new budget to address lead contamination in the city of Flint’s drinking water. The funding is three times the amount previously allocated for the Flint crisis. Chicago Tribune

Science, Studies, And Reports

Total water supplies in the Indus Basin have declined 5 percent since 1962, according to researchers in Pakistan who monitored the main stem of the Indus River and three of its tributaries. The timing of water flows is also changing, with less water available during the summer months between April and August. Nature

Large swathes of Australia, including the eastern coast, have an 80 percent chance of above-average rainfall over the next three winter months, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. The rains will provide relief for farmers and cattle herders who faced hot, dry conditions over the summer. Reuters

On The Radar

As prices for coal and other mineral commodities drop, companies are abandoning thousands of mines in Indonesia and leaving little or no money for cleanup. An estimated 90 percent of mine license holders have not paid mandatory reclamation funds, and forest degradation and water pollution persist at the mine sites. Reuters