The Global Rundown
Extensive sand mining is devastating riverways across the globe, a UN report warns. A new interactive map details PFAS risks throughout the United States. Namibia declares a state of emergency due to drought. Rising water levels in the U.S. Great Lakes bring flooding and erosion. Communities without levees along the Mississippi River grapple with ongoing floods.
“Every time they build a levee or raise one, it hurts everybody without a levee. Flooding, it’s natural, and the river used to be able to handle it a lot better.” –Peter Allen, a restaurant owner in Grafton, Illinois, in reference to recurrent flooding in his city, which has no barrier against rising waters. As the Midwestern U.S. grapples with severe flooding this spring, many communities are building or improving their levees. Cities without a levee, though, feel that the construction may put them at a greater disadvantage during future floods. The New York Times
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By The Numbers
500,000 People in Namibia who are facing food insecurity after several years of poor rains. Namibian president Hage Geingob recently declared the country’s second drought-related state of emergency in three years. BBC
26 inches above-average Current water level in Lake Erie. All five of the U.S. Great Lakes are experiencing high water levels, with Lakes Erie and Superior expected to set records this summer. Experts say the unusually high water levels are likely tied to a warming climate. Detroit Free Press
Science, Studies, and Reports
The Environmental Working Group and researchers at Northwestern University have created an interactive map of PFAS contamination in the United States. According to the data, more than 600 drinking water sources in 43 states may contain toxic levels of PFAS, affecting more than 19 million Americans. U.S. News & World Report
In context: PFAS: What You Need To Know.
On the Radar
Illegal sand mining is jeopardizing rivers and coastal areas worldwide, especially in major Asian river deltas, according to a recent United Nations report. Global demand for sand equates to roughly 50 billion tonnes per day, and much of it is dredged illegally. The degradation has led to flooding, groundwater shortages, droughts, and landslides in some areas. Reuters
Kayla Ritter is a recent graduate of Michigan State University, where she studied International Relations and Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She is currently based in Manton, Michigan. Kayla enjoys running, writing, and traveling. Contact Kayla Ritter