The Stream, December 20: Judge Denies Expanded Distribution of Water Filters in Newark, New Jersey, Despite Lead Contamination Concerns

The Global Rundown

A U.S. federal judge rules that Newark, New Jersey, does not need to give water filters to all residents in the city, despite ongoing issues with lead contamination in the city’s water supply. Nepal bars eight Italian contractors from leaving the country until progress is made on a delayed water project. Rohingya refugee camp Cox’s Bazar, located in Bangladesh, continues to suffer from water shortages, land degradation, and rising temperatures. Records in Ann Arbor, Michigan, show that seven types of PFAS have been detected in the city’s water this year. Years after an oil spill and promised cleanup, water in Ogoniland, Nigeria, remains poisoned.

“Our land was not like this before. The women suffer, mostly.” –A resident of Ogoniland, Nigeria, in reference to the aftermath of two major oil spills that happened a decade ago. An official cleanup was launched in 2016, but the government has failed to enact any major improvements, including an emergency plan to restore clean water. Residents of the region, especially women, are struggling to survive as the pollution lingers. The Guardian

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

As PFAS Lawsuits Proliferate, Legal Tactics Emerge — Individuals, utilities, and states seek monetary compensation for chemical pollution of water supplies.

HotSpots H2O, December 17: Refugees Returning to Syria Face Devastated Water, Sewage Infrastructure — Islamic State militants were ousted from key Syrian cities in 2018, but water access in the country remains poor.

By The Numbers

21,000 Water filters that have been distributed in Newark, New Jersey, this year after lead contamination was detected in parts of the city’s water system. On Tuesday, a U.S. federal judge denied an emergency motion to expand the distribution of free water filters to all residents of the city.

8 Italian contractors that the Nepalese government has barred from leaving the country amid fraught negotiations over the Melamchi Drinking Water project. The project has been delayed several times over the course of nearly twenty years, and Nepalese authorities fear the contractors are attempting to abandon the project. If completed, the project would bring water to capital city Kathmandu. AP

Science, Studies, And Reports

Seven types of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) have been detected in the drinking water of Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to previously unreleased test results that were made public earlier this month. Officials are unsure what is causing the spike in PFAS levels, which have quadrupled since April. MLive

In context: PFAS: What You Need To Know.

On The Radar

Experts warn that Cox’s Bazar, the sprawling Bangladeshi camp for Rohingya refugees, is on the brink of environmental crisis. Vanishing groundwater is one of the key problems in the camp, which is home to roughly 1 million refugees. Hastily constructed tube wells have begun to run dry, and the World Health Organization estimates that more than 70 percent of remaining wells are contaminated by E. coli. Al Jazeera

In context: Rohingya Refugees Face Uncertain Return Home.

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