The Stream, October 4: Public Opposition Pushes Scotland to Ban Fracking

The Global Rundown

Scotland halts fracking indefinitely due to strong public opposition toward the practice. In an attempt to cut back plastic pollution, Britain plans to enact a bottle deposit scheme. An annual Hindu festival clogs rivers in India with plastic, flowers, and other debris. The United States considers a multi-billion dollar aid package to help Puerto Rico and other areas hit by natural disasters. As the globe warms, building ice sculptures in the Himalayas could provide the melt-water needed to sustain mountainside communities.  

“Taking account of available evidence and the strength of public opinion, my judgment is that Scotland should say ‘no’ to fracking.” –Paul Wheelhouse, a member of the Scottish parliament, in reference to the country’s decision to halt fracking. The government conducted a public consultation and found that 99 percent of more than 60,000 respondents were opposed to the practice. Reuters     

By The Numbers

$13 billion Estimated amount of a potential U.S. aid package for Puerto Rico and other areas hit by natural disasters. The Trump administration will likely submit the aid request to the U.S. Congress next week. Meanwhile, most Puerto Ricans are still experiencing acute shortages of food, water, and electricity. Reuters

57 percent Proportion of bottles sold in Britain in 2016 that were then recycled, compared to much higher recycling rates in countries with a deposit return scheme. Based on this data, the British government has begun exploring different types of reward and return schemes for plastic bottles in hopes of cutting back on pollution. Reuters

Science, Studies, And Reports

Ice sculptures may help solve water crises in Himalayan communities. The sculptures, developed by Indian engineer Sonam Wangchuk, are more than 30m tall and will provide water to mountainside communities in Ladakh, India during spring thaws. Himalayan villages have traditionally depended on glacial melt-water, but receding glaciers have led to a drop in available water supply. BBC

On The Radar

The 10-day Hindu festival of Durga Puja is clogging Indian waterways with debris as hundreds of idols are immersed in rivers and streams. Indian courts have tried to limit pollution from the annual festival by requiring idols to be made of biodegradable material, but the ritual remains a pertinent environmental issue. The Guardian