The Stream, March 29: New York’s Hudson River Begins to Recover From Decades of Industrial Pollution

The Global Rundown

The Hudson River in New York begins to recover after years of heavy industrial pollution. A fatberg in the sewer system of Sidmouth, England, takes seven weeks to clear. Mozambique plans to start cholera vaccinations in areas devastated by Cyclone Idai. Afghanistan hopes for a good summer harvest in the wake of drought and floods. The U.S. Air Force says it will need nearly $5 billion to reconstruct air bases hit by recent natural disasters.

“Back in the 1970s, fishermen in the lower river could tell what colour General Motors was painting cars that day by looking at their nets.” –John Cronin, a conservationist and academic, in reference to toxic contamination of the Hudson River in years past, when the river was heavily polluted with oil, heavy metals, and other factory pollution. Recovery efforts are beginning to prove successful, however, as dumping and industrial pollution have minimized. Last summer, researchers detected a 14-foot (4.3 meter) Atlantic sturgeon in the river, which they say is a sure sign of recovery. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

7 weeks Length of time it has taken to clean a fatberg out of the sewer system in Sidmouth, England. The 210-foot (64 meter) mass of congealed grease, wipes, and sanitary products was found unexpectedly in late December, and a team of workers has been chipping away at it since February. The Guardian

$4.9 billion Amount that the U.S. Air Force has requested in supplemental funding to help repair two disaster-hit air bases. The funding would go toward repairs at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, which was recently inundated by flooding, and reconstruction at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida, which was destroyed by Hurricane Michael last October. NPR

Science, Studies, And Reports

Adequate precipitation this winter has left Afghanistan hopeful for a good summer harvest, especially after a crippling drought last year. In some areas, flooding has also disrupted recent attempts at planting. The outcome of this season is unsure, but the government and aid organizations say it will be crucial for determining the country’s future food security. Reuters

On The Radar

Mozambique is launching a cholera vaccination campaign in areas hit by Cyclone Idai, which struck the city of Beira on March 14 and has killed more than 700 people in southeast Africa. The government and aid organizations plan to disseminate at least 900,000 doses of cholera vaccines. Five cases of the waterborne disease have been reported so far. Reuters

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