The Stream, January 13, 2022: Leaked EA Report Tells Staff To Ignore Low-Level Pollution Reports


  • The U.K. Environment Agency directs employees to ignore some incidents of pollution, according to a leaked internal report.
  • Some seasonal workers in the U.K. report “unacceptable” accommodations, including lack of running water.
  • Ethiopia will begin generating power from a controversial Nile River dam.
  • The U.S. Navy agrees to drain fuel tanks that are believed to have contaminated water supplies near Pearl Harbor.

A new study finds that deforestation is causing more intense storms along West Africa’s coast.

“What we aren’t talking about enough is the fact that climate change, for millions and billions of people, is not something that’s going to happen — it’s something that has happened.” – Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, the mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, at COP26. A new study finds that storms are hitting coastal West Africa twice as frequently as 30 years ago, mainly due to deforestation. Urban growth and an increased demand for land has led to mass deforestation in major cities in West Africa. Loss of forests along coasts can widen temperature differences between land and sea, generating stronger wind and storms.

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Leaked Report Finds U.K. Environment Agency Tells Staff To Ignore Some Pollution Events

A leaked internal report showed that the U.K. Environment Agency told staff to ignore reports of low-impact pollution events, including farm pollution or hazardous dumps buy businesses, because it does not have funds to investigate them. The decision sparked outcry from river groups and NGOs. According to an internal presentation, agency officials respond to more than 70,000 incidents a year. However, the Guardian reports, data from the agency’s National Incident Recording System shows that 116,000 potential incidents were reported to the agency in 2021. Only 8,000 incidents were attended.

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A UK government survey found that seasonal workers are constantly subjected to “unacceptable” welfare conditions. The survey found that 10 percent of respondents said their living accommodations did not have a bathroom, running water, or a kitchen. Other respondents reported unfair treatment by farm mangers, including racism and discrimination. The seasonal worker program began as a response to a labor shortage for harvesting jobs following the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, although critics say the survey proves farm conditions have not improved for workers in recent years.


Ethiopia is moving ahead with plans to generate electricity from the highly contested Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) amid ongoing negotiations over dam operations with Egypt and Sudan. The move is likely to increase tensions between the three East African countries. Egypt and Sudan continue to raise concerns that the dam will cut off their access to Nile River water. Meanwhile, Ethiopia seeks to produce 20 percent of its own electricity needs from the project.

On the Radar

The U.S. Navy will drain a leaky fuel tank system on Hawaii’s Oahu island that contaminated the area’s drinking water. The Navy initially resisted Hawaii’s order to remove the fuel, saying the leak occurred inside an access tunnel, not the tanks themselves. During a December hearing, a deputy state attorney general concluded the tanks were “a ticking time bomb” and the order would be upheld.

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