The Stream, April 13: Global WASH Spending Not Enough, WHO Report Finds

The Global Rundown

Global spending on water, sanitation, and hygiene programs is not sufficient to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, according to a report by the World Health Organization. Water quality remains poor in many areas of Shanghai, despite environmental progress. Cyclone Cook, making landfall in New Zealand today, could be the country’s worst storm in decades and cause widespread flooding. Rail lines in Australia are still recovering from Cyclone Debbie, raising concerns about flood risks for the coal industry. A chemical spill at a steel plant in Indiana caused low-level contamination of Lake Michigan waters this week. Peru cut its economic growth forecast due to damage from floods and landslides. London is considering new policies to cut bottled water use and subsequent plastic pollution.

“This is not an event to be taken lightly. Prepare for loss of power and isolation due to road closures.” — Lisa Murray, a meteorologist for New Zealand’s MetService, warning of the imminent landfall of Cyclone Cook. Forecasters say it could be the worst storm in decades, and it comes just a week after Cyclone Debbie flooded large areas of the country’s North Island. (Guardian)

By The Numbers

7.7 billion bottles of water Number consumed each year in London, where recycling rates are the worst in the United Kingdom at 32 percent, according to a city government report that encourages new policies to reduce the prevalence of single-use bottles. Guardian

3 percent Estimated growth of the Peruvian economy this year, down 0.8 percent from previous forecasts due to damage from widespread floods and landslides. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Funding for water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) programs still falls short of necessary levels in 80 percent of countries around the globe, according to a report by the World Health Organization. Despite a nearly 5 percent average annual increase in WASH spending over the past three years, the additional money is not enough to meet targets set under the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. World Health Organization

In context: Learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals for water.

One-third of water samples taken from sites in Shanghai are of such poor quality that they are not fit for industrial or agricultural use, according to China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection. The ministry said the city’s environmental performance “remains a prominent weak point” affecting its development, despite improvements. Reuters

On The Radar

Wastewater spilled from a U.S. Steel plant in Indiana this week contaminated Lake Michigan waters with low levels of the carcinogenic chemical hexavalent chromium. The spill prompted the closure of several beaches, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently assessing if there is any environmental damage in the area. Chicago Tribune

It could take until May 8 to restore a major rail line in Australia that was damaged by floods and landslides during Cyclone Debbie. The damage to rail systems in Queensland, which transport coal, has raised new concerns about flood-proofing the region’s mining infrastructure. Bloomberg