The Stream, May 16: Britain’s Labour Party Mulls Plan To Nationalize Water Services

The Global Rundown

Nationalizing Britain’s water and sewage services could save households more than $100 each year, according to the Labour Party. Drug trafficking is driving deforestation in Central America, researchers found, threatening ecosystem services. The death toll from a cholera outbreak in Yemen continues to climb. Chinese banana plantations in Laos have given rural communities a source of income, but may also be polluting water resources. Water levels on Lake Ontario reached their highest mark in nearly a century.

“They told us the price and asked us if we were happy. We said okay.” –Kongkaew Vonusak, who lives in northern Laos, recalling how Chinese investors offered farmers in his community as much as $720 per hectare to rent their land for banana plantations. The plantations, however, have also raised concerns about water pollution from pesticide use. (Reuters)

By The Numbers

180 people Latest death toll from a cholera outbreak in Yemen, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. Years of conflict have limited access to safe drinking water and sanitation in the country. Reuters

75.84 meters Water levels reached on Lake Ontario over the weekend, the highest since records began nearly a century ago, according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Watertown Daily Times

In context: Lake Ontario water level plan tests attitudes toward environment.

Science, Studies, And Reports

As much as 30 percent of the deforestation that occurs in Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua each year can be attributed to drug trafficking, according to a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters. Drug cartels convert forests into agricultural land to launder money, the researchers said, threatening the ecosystem services that the forests provide. Guardian

On The Radar

Britain’s Labour Party plans to unveil proposals that would nationalize water and sewage services. The proposals could cut the average household water bill by $129 dollars each year, according to party sources. BBC News