The Stream, January 13, 2020: Study Finds High Concentrations of PFAS In Water Across China
YOUR GLOBAL RUNDOWN
- A new study finds dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals across several cities in China.
- Heavy rain and snow causes mass flooding and devastation across the Balkans.
- Researchers from Stanford University determine that climate change can be blamed for one-third of flood losses in the United States.
- New Zealand records its seventh-hottest year on record in 2020.
Opposition to a proposed settlement tied to the Flint water crisis grows among residents.
“We believe the proposed settlement as currently allocated is just as disrespectful as the injury caused by the water tragedy itself.” – Pastor John McClain of Flint, Michigan. A growing number of residents in Flint, Michigan are objecting to a proposed $641 million settlement tied to the Flint water crisis, Michigan Radio reports. On Monday, around 30 local officials, religious leaders and activists gathered to voice concerns about parts of the settlement, saying it presents too many obstacles for Flint residents and doesn’t pay them enough to cover their damages. Judge Levy, who promised to hear from all Flint residents about the settlement, will hear the group’s motion in court on Wednesday.
IN RECENT WATER NEWS
Grape Crop Brings in Millions, but Farm Workers Live a Harsh Life
Located about 50 kilometers from the Noordoewer border post that separates Namibia from neighboring South Africa, Aussenkehr has vast vineyards that stretch as far as the eye can see.
Surrounded by a semi-desert area, the vineyards thrive only because of a plentiful supply of water from the nearby Orange River, which forms a natural border between the two countries. Set against the harsh, brown terrain, the verdant vineyards — which have grapes that can be harvested three to five weeks earlier than elsewhere on the globe — seem alien compared to southern Namibia’s dry and harsh landscape.
In Case You Missed It:
In Trump Administration’s Final-Days Deregulatory Push, Army Corps Reduces Stream Protections – Changes to the nationwide permits for dredging and filling waterways will expose more stretches of small streams to development.
HotSpots H2O: River Dredging Near Chernobyl Risks Radioactive Water Contamination – Eight million people in Ukraine are in danger of drinking contaminated water due to the construction of an inland shipping route, reported The Guardian.
Heavy Snow And Rain Devastate Communities Across The Balkans
Days of rain and snow caused massive flooding and power outages across the Balkans on Monday, the Associated Press reports. Rescue teams helped evacuate more than two dozen people from flooded homes in Serbian municipalities, while other southern Serbian villages were left without drinking water for days after numerous homes, barns and fields were flooded. Heavy snow in Croatia worsened the situation for residents recovering from a recent earthquake. In Albania, power outages meant some schools could not reopen on Monday.
TODAY’S TOP WATER STORIES, TOLD IN NUMBERS
98.5 MILLION PEOPLE
Dangerous levels of PFAS chemicals were found in the drinking water of approximately 98.5 million people living across several Chinese cities, a new study found. The study, published in Environmental Sciences Europe, mapped available PFAS data from 526 drinking water samples across 66 Chinese cities. PFAS concentrations in more than 20 percent of the cities were above the maximum contaminant level issued by the U.S. state of Vermont in 2019 and drinking water in more than 40 percent of the cities exceeded notification levels of PFAS chemicals issued by the state of California. Populations in East China and the Southwest regions were at a relatively higher risk of exposure compared to other regions, the authors of the study found. The study concluded by calling for the immediate elimination of these chemicals from affected region.
Researchers from Stanford University developed a computer model to analyzes the role of climate change in U.S. flood loss. The model removes economic indicators like additional housing development and increases in property values in order to isolate the effect of a warming planet. The team found that climate change can be blamed for about a third of flood damage losses, totaling in $75 billion, over the last three decades, the Thomson Reuters Foundation reports. Noah Diffenbaugh, who co-authored the study, said the model could similarly be used to determine climate change’s contribution to wildfire losses or reductions in crop yields from rising temperatures. Curbing global warming and efforts to limit losses by avoiding building new homes on vulnerable floodplains go hand-in-hand, Frances Davenport, another author of the study, said.
ON THE RADAR
New Zealand recorded its seventh-hottest year on record in 2020, The Guardian reports. Climate change has intensified natural warming phenomena such as el Niño and worsened excessive rainfall, long dry spells and high temperatures, according to the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research’s principal scientist for forecasting, Chris Brandolino. Several significant weather events hit New Zealand last year, including severe drought on several islands, the hottest winter on record and intense flooding that wiped out 50 percent of the country’s cherry crop throughout the Christmas season.
Jane is a Communications Associate for Circle of Blue. She writes The Stream and has covered domestic and international water issues for Circle of Blue. She is a recent graduate of Grand Valley State University, where she studied Multimedia Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. During her time at Grand Valley, she was the host of the Community Service Learning Center podcast Be the Change. Currently based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Jane enjoys listening to music, reading and spending time outdoors.
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