The Stream, October 13: Indonesia Reinstates Public Water Services amid Privatization Concerns

The Global Rundown

Indonesia’s Supreme Court reinstates public water services in Jakarta, saying privatization failed to protect the poor. British sewage plants are spilling millions of tiny plastic beads into the seas surrounding the United Kingdom. Low rainfall and sweltering temperatures devastate the livelihood of herders in Algeria. Heavy rains unleash floods and landslides in Vietnam, killing 46. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder denies giving false information to the U.S. House of Representatives about the Flint water crisis.

“Drought stops everything.” –Houssin Ghodbane, a sheep herder, in reference to worsening cycles of drought in Algeria. In recent decades, average annual rainfall in the country has fallen by 30 percent and summer temperatures have soared above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The adverse weather is threatening the livelihoods of herders like Ghodbane. Reuters

By The Numbers

34,000 Number of homes that have been submerged or damaged by flooding and landslides in northern and central Vietnam. Heavy rains are causing the region’s worst natural disaster in years, with 46 dead and 33 missing as of Thursday night. Reuters

20 years Length of time that water services have been privatized in Jakarta, Indonesia. This week, the Indonesian Supreme Court ordered that public water services be restored following complaints that private companies “failed to protect” the poor. Low-income areas were reportedly underserviced, and some residents were denied water services when they were unable to pay their bills. Human Rights Watch

Science, Studies, And Reports

A study by the Cornish Plastic Pollution Coalition (CPPC) discovered that British sewage plants are leaking millions of tiny plastic pellets into the seas around the United Kingdom. The pellets, known as Bio-Beads, are about 3.5mm wide and are nearly impossible to remove once in the sea. Bio-Beads can cause significant harm to birds, fish, and other marine animals that mistake the pellets for food. The Guardian

On The Radar

On Thursday, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder denied misleading the U.S. House of Representatives about his knowledge of Flint’s Legionnaires’ disease outbreak. Snyder has maintained that he learned about the outbreak in 2016; in a court hearing last week, however, one of his aides testified that Snyder knew as early as December 2015. U.S. News & World Report

In context: Circle of Blue’s coverage of the Flint water crisis.