The Stream, August 5, 2020: Michigan’s New PFAS Standards Are Among Toughest Nationwide

The Global Rundown

Michigan adopts new standards for PFAS in drinking water. Hurricane Isaias poses a threat to the United States’ eastern coast. A landslide in Nepal causes a rise in total deaths during South Asia’s annual rainy season. Ethiopians celebrate the nearly completed, but controversial, dam. A community group in Chennai is trying to bring more water to the city through the planting of indigenous trees.

“Our idea was to highlight the importance of preserving and caring for the trees around us and also create an understanding about why it is important to grow more native trees.” – Shobha Menon, founder of Nizhal, a community organization in Chennai, India. Since 2000, Nizhal has combatted extreme weather patterns and water shortages in Chennai by focusing on the role trees can play in ensuring good rains, restoring water tables and replenishing reservoirs. The group has put forth an effort in planting indigenous trees throughout Chennai, which tend to withstand climate challenges better than foreign species. The efforts have helped restore surface water for drinking and increased rainwater harvesting efforts in the city. Al Jazeera  

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By The Numbers

70 mph The speed of Hurricane Isaias hours after it hit landfall in North Carolina late Tuesday morning. Since then, it has killed 2 people and displaced dozens. Forecasters expect the storm to remain strong for the next couple days as tornadoes, floods and bands of wind and rain were reported along the East Coast. CBS News 

10 The number of people dead after a landslide in Nepal on Monday, bringing the total death toll from floods and landslides to 177 since May. The annual rainy season has again wreaked havoc in South Asia, this year complicating the region’s ability to fight the coronavirus pandemic, especially in densely populated places like Bangladesh, which has reported over 240,000 cases of the virus. Reuters

Science, Studies, and Reports

Michigan adopted new standards for seven per-and polyfluoroalkyl (PFAS) compounds in drinking water on Monday, setting some of the strictest, most comprehensive standards on the chemicals anywhere in the country. As federal guidelines for PFAS levels have lagged behind the most current public health research, several states have adopted their own, tighter drinking water guidelines. The director of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE), Liesl Clark, said the legislation is “an important milestone for Michigan’s drinking water,” and called on other states to follow suit. The Detroit Free Press

In context:

On the Radar

Ethiopians flooded the streets of several major cities on Sunday to celebrate the nearly completed Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, whose construction has been a source of tension between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt for years. Sudan and Egypt have argued that the dam will deplete their access to water in the Nile River, which supplies fresh water to around 100 million people in Egypt, while Ethiopia  said the dam will provide electricity for millions of its citizens. Hashtags like #ItsMyDam, #EthiopiaNileRights and #GERD were trending throughout the weekend during celebrations that were apparently endorsed by the government. The Lawton Constitution

In context: HotSpots H2O: Tensions Rise in Horn of Africa as Ethiopia Fills Controversial Dam

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