The Stream, July 18, 2019: U.S. Gulf Coast Deluged with Freshwater and Pollutants from the Flooded Mississippi River

The Global Rundown

The unprecedented flow of water from the Mississippi River into the Gulf of Mexico carries fertilizers and pesticides along with it. Residents of Lebanon swim in coastal waters near sewage runoffs to beat summertime heat. Restrictions on water use in 61 French administrative regions are expected to continue. The death toll from monsoon flooding in South Asia tops 200, and leaves more than a million people stranded in northeast India.

“We’ve been forced to drink muddy water.” –Subhas Bania, a resident of Assam, India, residing in the Amtola relief camp after floodwaters forced him from his home. At least 5.8 million people have been displaced by monsoon rains in Assam alone, with neighboring Indian states also affected. The government and aid agencies are rushing to deliver food, water, and other aid to the affected population, but many are stranded due to rising river levels. Reuters

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By The Numbers

200+ People who have died across South Asia due to torrential monsoon rains. In addition to India, the rainfall is affecting residents of Nepal, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. At least 78 people have died in Nepal, and officials say one-third of Bangladesh is underwater. Al Jazeera

61 Administrative regions in France, comprising about two-thirds of the country, that have been under water restrictions for several weeks. The restrictions began amid a record-breaking June heatwave, and are continuing as dry conditions grip the area. The drought, which is forecast to last at least another week, is parching rivers and groundwater reserves. Reuters

In context: HotSpots H2O: France Endures Hottest Day on Record as Heatwave Parches Europe.

Science, Studies, and Reports

Ongoing flooding of the Mississippi River, combined with rainfall from Tropical Storm Barry, are sending usually high volumes of freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico. The freshwater itself is disrupting coastal ecosystems, but officials say an increased amount of pesticides, fertilizers, and waste are also sweeping into the Gulf. Forbes

On the Radar

As Lebanese citizens swelter in the peak of summer, many are cooling off with a swim in the Mediterranean–but the pastime could have detrimental health impacts. There are few public beaches in the country, and the available options are strewn with trash and are often located near sewage outlets. While some coastal waters in southern and central Lebanon are considered safe, many others are not, especially in highly-populated areas like Beirut and Tripoli. Reuters

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