The Stream, March 16: Study Finds Plastic Particles in 90 Percent of Bottled Water

The Global Rundown

The World Health Organization (WHO) launches a health review after a new study finds plastic particles in 90 percent of bottled water. The U.S. accuses Russia of engineering cyberattacks targeting nuclear power plants and water and electric systems. The Philippine environment minister recommends a year-long closure to clean up contaminated Boracay. The Trump administration moves forward with plans to heighten California’s Shasta Dam, despite resistance from state residents. The U.S. Department of Agriculture declares an agricultural disaster due to drought in four states. The United Nations and the World Bank call for a “fundamental shift” in worldwide water management. 

“Whoever you are, whatever you do, wherever you live, we urge you get involved, and contribute to meeting this great challenge: safe water and sanitation for all, and our water resources managed sustainably. Make every drop count. It’s time for action.” –The conclusion of a UN-World Bank panel on global water management. According to the panel, 700 million people are at risk of being displaced by intense water scarcity by 2030. The panel declared that water infrastructure investment must be doubled over the next five years in order to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. UN News

In context: SDG Report: Billions lack safe drinking water and sanitation at home.

Latest WaterNews from Circle of Blue

Water-Stressed Beijing Exhausts Its Options – After depleting groundwater reserves, China’s capital is becoming increasingly reliant on water pumped from the country’s flood-prone South.

What’s Up With Water – March 12, 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 groundwater conservation in Kansas, accusations of water theft from the Murray-Darling basin, and conflict in drought-stricken Somalia.

By The Numbers

$1.3 billion Cost of heightening northern California’s Shasta Dam, a project that the Trump administration is pursuing despite California laws that prohibit the 602-foot structure from getting any taller. The dam enlargement would also inundate several miles of the McCloud River, which is protected by the 1972 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. Los Angeles Times

4 Number of states that are affected by drought in the U.S, prompting the U.S. Department of Agriculture to declare agricultural disaster. The drought has affected 25 Louisiana parishes, 3 Mississippi counties, 61 counties in Arkansas, and 60 counties in Texas. U.S. News & World Report

Science, Studies, And Reports

Scientists at the State University of New York analyzed 259 bottled water samples from 19 locations in nine countries and found that more than 90 percent contained tiny plastic fibers. On average, the study discovered 325 plastic particles for every litre of water being sold. In response to the findings, the WHO is launching a review into the potential risks of plastic in drinking water. The Guardian

On The Radar

The Trump administration has accused Russia of a series of cyberattacks targeting American and European nuclear power plants and water and electric systems. According to a report by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Russian hackers never sabotaged or shut down the facilities, but had access to critical control systems. The New York Times

In context: Water utility cyberattack rings up hefty data charges.

Philippine Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu has recommended a year-long closure of popular tourist island Boracay, which has become heavily polluted in recent years. The island, which President Rodrigo Duterte called a “cesspool” last month, does not have adequate sewage infrastructure or trash disposal. Reuters

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