The Stream, December 11: Toxic Mercury Taints Amazon Waterways as Illegal Gold Mining Spikes

The Global Rundown

Illegal gold mining poisons waterways in the Amazon rainforest. Construction of a dam in Tasmania threatens the survival of the endangered swift parrot. Michigan’s chief medical executive faces involuntary manslaughter charges linked to the Flint water crisis. The Indian central government assesses drought conditions in six different states. Shipping in Germany returns to normal as water levels in the Rhine river rise.

“The heavy, repeated rainfall in the past days was just what was required. Vessels and barges are now able to take on full loads to all German terminals on the river.” –A grains trader in Germany, in reference to increasing water levels in the Rhine. Water levels in the river have been below-average for six months, hampering the shipment of commodities such as coal, oil, and grains. Reuters

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By The Numbers

2,312 Illegal gold mining sites identified across Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Venezuela. Researchers say that mercury, which is used in the process of extracting gold, is polluting rivers throughout the Amazon rainforest. The contamination poses serious health risks to riverine communities as well as aquatic life. Reuters

5 Michigan officials who will face involuntary manslaughter charges in connection to the Flint water crisis, including the state’s chief medical executive Dr. Eden Wells. A judge ruled on Friday that Wells will stand trial for obstruction of justice, lying to the police, and involuntary manslaughter. Wells denies the charges. Detroit Free Press

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

Science, Studies, And Reports

Australia’s environment minister Melissa Price is deliberating whether to allow construction of a dam on the east coast of Tasmania. Opponents of the dam warn that the project would require bulldozing the habitat of the critically endangered swift parrot. Advocates of the dam, however, say the reservoir would provide water to local communities in the event of drought, as well as servicing a salmon farm and housing development. The Guardian

On The Radar

Teams dispatched by India’s central government are assessing drought conditions in the states of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Jharkhand, and Odisha. The six states made official drought declarations for the 2018 summer season, and all but Odisha have submitted requests for drought relief funding. The Economic Times

In context: HotSpots H2O, December 10: Inequality Fuels Water Quarrels in India’s Second Most Populous State.

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