The Global Rundown
More resources are urgently needed to prevent a famine in drought-hit Somalia, United Nations agencies warned. The Dakota Access oil pipeline may soon secure a federal permit to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Heavy rains in Zimbabwe could destroy crops this season, another setback for farmers affected by last year’s drought. Police arrested dozens of demonstrators in Perth, Australia as they protested a highway expansion that would destroy wetland habitat. A strain of avian influenza threatens to spread around Lake Victoria in Africa, where it has already killed more than 1,000 wild birds. Entrepreneurs in Russia are setting their sights on solutions to Lake Baikal’s algae problem.
“We are looking at opportunities to set up or support local businesses which would encourage residents to harvest the algae from the lake shores, and produce something useful from it – bio-compost, paper and packaging, or organic fertilizers.” –Marina Rikhvanova, an environmentalist at the School of Environmental Entrepreneurship near Russia’s Lake Baikal, on the school’s goal to address blooms of algae fed by untreated wastewater and phosphorus detergents that flow into the lake. (Reuters)
In context: Learn more about the threats to Lake Baikal and other large lakes around the world.
By The Numbers
$300 million Amount the United Nations’ humanitarian agency requested for the first three months of 2017 to respond to drought and food shortages in Somalia. The resources are necessary to avoid a famine in the region, agency officials said, but only a third of the appeal has been funded. Reuters
1,200 wild birds Number killed along the Lake Victoria shoreline in Uganda by the H5N8 strain of avian influenza, raising concerns that it could spread to other countries that border the lake. The virus is not known to infect humans. Bloomberg
1,000 demonstrators Number protesting against a highway expansion near Perth, Australia that will cut through the Beeliar wetlands that provide habitat for threatened bird species. Police arrested 38 protesters on Monday. Guardian
Science, Studies, And Reports
Despite a pending environmental impact study, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers appears poised to approve an easement allowing the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota. Work on the pipeline stalled in December after the Corps denied an easement to study alternate routes amid strong public concern over water pollution and the destruction of cultural sites. Bloomberg
On The Radar
After months of drought that exacerbated food shortages across southern Africa last year, heavy rains now threaten harvests in Zimbabwe. The rains are leaching nutrients from the soil to the detriment of maize and tobacco crops, a problem further complicated by fertilizer shortages, farm groups said. Reuters