The Stream, July 29, 2021: Activists Oppose Indian Railway Project Amid Environmental Concerns, Water Pollution


  • Locals report water contamination amid the construction of a major railway in northeastern India.
  • Thousands of Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia’s Tigray region have been cut off from humanitarian aid and are running low on clean water.
  • A recent report finds that last year’s drought and derecho damaged millions of dollars’ worth of crops in Iowa.
  • A dozen towns and villages in Ireland failed to meet E.U. standards for water treatment.

The leader of the Great Lakes Water Association steps down as the organization comes under fire after severe flooding in Detroit.

“While I am extremely proud of all the GLWA team has accomplished in its first five years, I also recognize that now is the time for me to make my future intentions public as we move forward.” – Great Lakes Water Authority (GLWA) CEO Sue McCormick. The Associated Press reports that GLWA CEO Sue McCormick announced her retirement from the water authority, just weeks after heavy rainstorms caused sewage backups that thousands of homes. Although McCormick did not cite the floods as the reason for her departure, the organization has come under fire since the storms occurred in late June for failing to prevent sewage overflows.

Plans For Transboundary Railroad in India Prompts Environmental Concerns

As India moves forward with an ambitious railway project that would connect a remote region in West Bengal to China, environmentalists are voicing concerns that the project could further endanger the already-ecologically-fragile area. Al Jazeera reports that hydropower dams over the Teesta River in West Bengal have already made the area vulnerable to landslides and flooding. Activists fear the railroad will exacerbate natural disasters in the region. Amid the railway’s construction, locals have complained of contaminated drinking water from construction waste.



Last year’s derecho and drought in Iowa destroyed $802 million in crops and pastures, according to a recent American Farm Bureau Federation report. The Des Moines Register reports that a derecho storm last August destroyed corn, soybeans, and other crops in Iowa worth nearly $500 million, while the drought caused just over $300 million in damage. According to the Farm Bureau’s report, over $240 million in damages went uncovered by federal crop insurance.


At a recent press conference, UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch said that around 24,000 Eritrean refugees in Tigray’s Mai Tsebri area are facing intimidation and harassment from armed elements operating inside the camp. The refugees housed in Mai Aini and Adi Harush camps have been completely cut off from humanitarian assistance and are running low on clean water and food, according to the spokesperson.


Ongoing delays by Irish Water will force 12 towns and villages across Ireland to continue discharging raw sewage into open waters after 2024, according to a recent Water Advisory Board (WAB) report. The report found that water treatment in these areas has largely failed to meet European Union environmental standards, which were designed to be met nearly 15 years ago. The Irish Times reports that amid the report’s release, the Government approved plans for a €139 million wastewater treatment plant for Arklow, Co Wicklow, where untreated wastewater is continuously discharged into a nearby river.

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