The Stream, September 13: ‘Fatberg’ Blocks a Portion of London’s Sewer System

The Global Rundown

A mass of congealed fat, wipes, and diapers, referred to as ‘fatberg’, blocks a portion of London’s sewage system. Air pollution in northern China cuts life expectancy by three years compared to those living in the southern part of the country. Members of an uncontacted tribe in Brazil were allegedly killed by gold miners, highlighting issues of land use rights. Pope Francis says that the recent wave of dangerous hurricanes should prompt people to acknowledge the reality of climate change. Residents of Florida begin returning home in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma.

“If we don’t turn back, we will go down.” –Pope Francis, in reference to humanity’s need to understand and take action against climate change. Francis declared that the recent string of major hurricanes should serve as a reminder that each person has a responsibility to fight back against climate change, and that “history will judge the decisions” of those who deny global warming. Reuters

By The Numbers

25 percent Proportion of homes demolished completely by Hurricane Irma in the Florida Keys.  Authorities have started allowing limited re-entry for Florida Keys residents and business owners. Throughout the rest of the state, more than 6 million homes and businesses remain without power, and flooding lingers in a handful of cities. The death toll from the storm has bypassed 50, with 43 dead in the Caribbean and at least 13 more killed in Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. Reuters

130 tonnes Size of ‘fatberg,’ a congealed mass of fat, wet wipes, and diapers that was recently found in London’s sewer system. The fatberg is blocking part of the sewer and could have flooded streets in east London with raw sewage if it had not been discovered. It will take up to three weeks to break the fatberg apart. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

The average life expectancy in northern China is 3.1 years shorter than in the south due to air pollution caused by coal-fired winter heating, according to research by the University of Chicago. The study analyzed pollution and mortality data from 154 cities over a span of eight years, and found that higher death rates were linked to an increase in cardiorespiratory illness. Reuters

On The Radar

An ongoing investigation in Brazil is examining the reported massacre of several members of an uncontacted tribe in a remote part of the Amazon. The killings seem to have been committed by a group of gold miners, who bragged about the massacre in a bar after the attack took place. Mining and deforestation are encroaching upon many remote areas of Brazil where tribes reside, raising issues of land use rights. New York Times