The Stream, April 24: Melting of Greenland Ice Sheet Accelerating, Data Shows

The Global Rundown

The Greenland Ice Sheet has lost a staggering amount of freshwater in recent decades, data shows. The Midwestern United States continues to feel the impact of recent flooding. Shipping slows on Germany’s Rhine River as water levels drop. Australia’s Coalition refers controversial Murray-Darling Basin water buybacks to the country’s auditor general. Prolific plastic waste dumping contaminates waterways in Asia.

“For the first world, it makes them feel good about their waste supposedly being recycled but in reality it ends up in countries that cannot deal with the waste.” –Beau Baconguis, a plastics campaigner in Manila, in reference to plastic waste importing in Asia. Countries like Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam are importing increasing amounts of plastic waste from across the globe, coalitibut the waste is often illegally dumped or buried. The waste is polluting drinking water and poisoning soil. Reuters

In context: Vietnam’s Tourism and Fishing Industries Drown in Waste.

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Paradise Officials Unveil $53 Million Plan to Rid Damaged Water Pipes of Contaminants — It could be February 2021 until the California town’s water system is completely cleared of chemicals introduced during the disastrous Camp Fire.

By The Numbers

11 quadrillion pounds Amount of freshwater that the Greenland Ice Sheet has lost since 1972, enough to fill 16 trillion bathtubs. A recent analysis shows that the melting is accelerating, with a massive amount of ice lost between 2010 and 2018. If the ice sheet ever melted completely, it could raise global sea levels by up to 25 feet. The Atlantic

Science, Studies, and Reports

Communities throughout the Midwestern United States are still feeling the effects of recent flooding in the region. Thousands of people are still displaced, and many others are grappling with mold and water damage in their homes. The March flooding caused several billion dollars in damages after the Missouri, the Mississippi, and other waterways overflowed their banks. NPR

In context: Historic Missouri River Flood Damages Water Infrastructure.

On the Radar

Australia’s Coalition parties are under scrutiny over $80 million in controversial water buybacks that took place in 2017. According to members of Australia’s Labor party, “top dollar” was given for low-quality floodwater in Queensland. In an effort to avoid further scandal, the Coalition referred the past decade of water buybacks to the auditor general for review. The Guardian

A dry spell in Germany is disrupting shipping as water levels fall in the Rhine River, according to industry officials. The Rhine is a key waterway for transporting grains, minerals, and fuel. Reuters

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