The Stream, April 13: Plastic Waste Contributes to Deadly Flooding in Brazil, Prompting a Community Clean-up

The Global Rundown

Plastic pollution contributes to deadly floods in Recife, Brazil, inspiring the local community to start a river clean-up scheme. A U.S. mining company accuses the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of polluting a river in southwestern Colorado. A study finds that nature-based solutions can help prevent flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Global warming weakens circulation in the Atlantic Ocean, raising the likelihood of extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere. Residents of Flint converge on the Michigan state capitol, asking lawmakers to continue providing bottled water to the city.

“We live on bottled water. I’m never going to drink the [city] water again.” –Gladyes Williamson, one of several Flint residents who traveled to Michigan’s capitol to protest a recent announcement that the state would stop providing free bottled water to the city. Residents believe further action is still needed to purify the city’s water, which was contaminated by lead when the city switched water sources in 2014. MLive

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

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Fear and Fury in Michigan Town Where Air Force Contaminated Water  – Some residents can’t drink the water or eat the fish. Now they’re organizing.

What’s Up With Water – April 9, 2018 – “What’s Up With Water” condenses the need-to-know news on the world’s water into a snapshot for the start of the workweek. Listen to this week’s edition to hear coverage on water rights in New Mexico, Australia’s Murray-Darling basin plan, and Libya’s Great Man-Made River.

By The Numbers

15 percent Amount that the Atlantic Ocean’s main circulation system has slowed since the middle of the 20th century. Scientists say warmer water and altered weather patterns are weakening the circulation, which is critical for climate regulation. If the circulation stopped completely, it would likely cause extreme weather in the Northern Hemisphere and sea level rise along the U.S. East Coast. The New York Times

2 reals ($0.59) Amount that residents of Recife, Brazil, receive in exchange for 50 plastic bottles. In the wake of deadly flooding, which was partially caused by large amounts of plastic in the local Tejipió River, the Recife community is working together to clean the waterway. With the help of Tearfund, an international NGO, the clean-up is minimizing pollution and providing an income for Recife residents. The Guardian

Science, Studies, And Reports

A study by the University of California – Santa Cruz found that nature-based solutions are among the most cost-effective ways to prevent flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast. Researchers predict that natural solutions, including restoration of marshes and oyster reefs, could prevent up to $50 billion in Gulf Coast damages. Science Daily

On The Radar

Sunnyside Gold Corp. has accused the U.S. EPA of failing to operate a treatment plant at full capacity, allowing large volumes of mining wastewater to flow into a southwestern Colorado river. The EPA, which is fighting with Sunnyside over who should fund the first steps in a nearby Superfund cleanup, has not yet responded to the allegations. The Denver Post

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