The Stream, March 7: Vale Executives Step Down, Criminal Negligence Case Builds in Wake of Brazilian Dam Collapse

The Global Rundown

Top executives at Brazilian mining company Vale step down in the wake of January’s tailings dam collapse. The United Arab Emirates allocates $1.6 billion to water and energy projects, including dams and a desalination plant. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer proposes $120 million for improvements to state drinking water infrastructure. A human rights group in Rajasthan, India, requests details from the state government about food adulteration. Lead contamination continues to pollute drinking water in schools across the United States.

“Lead is a neurotoxin, it drops IQ scores, it’s linked to aberrant behaviour and violence. The concern is that while we are not taking much action, children are being damaged on a generational level.” –Howard Kessler, a retired Florida-based doctor, in reference to the incidence of lead in the drinking water of schools across the United States. A recent Harvard University study looked at lead testing data from 10,888 schools, and found that 44 percent recorded at least one water sample containing lead. At thousands of other U.S. schools, the drinking water remains untested. The Guardian

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By The Numbers

5.8 billion dirhams ($1.6 billion USD) Amount that the United Arab Emirates is committing to new water and energy projects, according to a tweet by vice president and prime minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The funds will go toward new dams, a water network between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, a desalination plant, and other projects. Reuters

In context: Desalination Has a Waste Problem.

$120 million Amount that Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer proposed on Tuesday for drinking water infrastructure improvements during the 2019 fiscal year. If approved, the funding would be used to replace lead water lines, address PFAS contamination, fund watershed management, and more. MLive

Science, Studies, And Reports

The chief executive of Vale mining company and eight other top executives have agreed to temporarily step down during the investigation of a tailings dam collapse that left hundreds dead in Brumadinho, Brazil, in late January. Federal and state prosecutors say they are building a case of criminal negligence as evidence emerges that Vale ignored warnings about the dam’s safety, including firing an inspection firm that refused to certify the dam as safe several months before the collapse. The New York Times

In context: What’s Up With Water – Brazil’s Water After Rupture of Mining Waste Dam.

On The Radar

In India, the Rajasthan State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is demanding information from the state government about reports of food adulteration. State media has reported a variety of unsafe food practices, including the use of sewage water to clean vegetables. The SHRC set a deadline of April 9, 2019, for the government to file details about the adulteration. Down To Earth

In context: Toxic Water, Toxic Crops: India’s Public Health Time Bomb.

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