The Stream, August 9, 2019: Toxic Algae Blooms Becoming More Common Across the United States

The Global Rundown

Toxic algae blooms plague lakes and rivers across the United States. Despite the recent end of the rainy season, more than a million people in Kenya face drought. Several U.S. Great Lakes reach all-time high water levels for July. Monsoon rains in India revive soybean and peanut crops, but also cause deadly flooding in the western and southern parts of the country.

“The fear which we had a month ago that the crop is going to be much lower than last year seems to have evaporated now. The oilseed belt has got reasonably good rain.” –Atul Chaturvedi, president of Solvent Extractors’ Association of India, in reference to the arrival of monsoon rains in India’s soy and peanut-growing areas. Rainfall in the region was 31 percent below normal levels in June, but 8.5 percent above normal levels in July. Bloomberg

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By The Numbers

33 People who have been killed by recent monsoon flooding in western and southern India. Some parts of Maharashtra received 26.4 inches (670 millimeters) of rain in a week, forcing authorities to release water from swollen dams. In Maharashtra and surrounding states, at least 180,000 people have been displaced by the latest round of rainfall. Reuters

100 years Length of time that records have been kept on water levels in the U.S. Great Lakes. The waterbodies have broken a variety of records this summer, and the trend continued in July, with Lakes Superior, Erie, Ontario, and St. Clair reaching record-high levels for the month. MLive

Science, Studies, and Reports

Blue-green algae blooms are on the rise in water bodies across the United States, and many of the blooms contain microcystins, a dangerous toxin that can cause a variety of health problems in people and animals. Using EPA data from 2007 and 2012, as well as state data from 2018, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) produced an interactive map showing lakes and rivers where microcystins have been detected in the contiguous 48 states. EWG

On the Radar

Despite a few months of recent rainfall, officials in Kenya say the precipitation wasn’t enough to ease deep-seated drought in some parts of the country. The dry conditions have left more than a million people in northern Kenya facing severe food insecurity. Al Jazeera

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