The Stream, January 20, 2022: East Africans Will Get Millions in Aid For Flood and Drought Relief


  • The island of Tonga avoids complete devastation after a major volcanic eruption caused a tsunami over the weekend.
  • The United Kingdom will send millions of dollars to East Africa to fund drought and flood relief efforts.
  • A recent BBC analysis unveils the magnitude of illegal sewage pollution in U.K. waterways.
  • Canada makes its case for storing nuclear waste beneath the Great Lakes.

More than one-third of all waterways in Pennsylvania are severely polluted.

“The many thousands of miles of impaired streams, and high proportions in southeastern Pennsylvania counties described in this report, tells us that polluted streams are still common in our neighborhoods, and we have a lot of work to reduce the pollution reaching those streams and eventually the Delaware River and its estuary.” – John Jackson, a scientist with the Stroud Water Research Center. A report from Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection found that one-third of all waterways in the state are polluted and could harm wildlife, recreation or drinking water. The pollution is highest in Philadelphia and surrounding suburban counties. The report listed 2,398 more miles of impaired streams than the same report found in 2020, an increase of about a nine percent.

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Tonga Avoids Major Disaster After Volcanic Eruption

Drinking water supplies have been contaminated on the main island of Tonga, which is now covered in volcanic ash after a major eruption and tsunami last weekend. The ash is also delaying much needed water and other supplies from neighboring country New Zealand. Although the status of the country’s smaller islands remained unclear as of Wednesday afternoon, aid agencies say the country may have avoided worst-case scenarios.

Today’s Top Water Stories, Told In Numbers


The United Kingdom will send $22.9 million to East Africa to relieve the impacts of floods and drought in Kenya, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Sudan. The aid package will fund food assistance programs and clean water and sanitation projects across East Africa, and is projected to reach more than one million people.


An analysis from the BBC found that seven water companies the United Kingdom dumped raw sewage into U.K. waterways more than 3,000 times between 2017 and 2021. Sewage pollution is a long-standing issue throughout the United Kingdom. Activists say that the Environment Agency is not doing enough to stop illegal dumps, and that laws in place are not strict enough. Water UK, which represents the water companies, said the companies understand the “urgent need for action” to stop the pollution, but when data gathered by activists was presented to several water companies, representatives questioned the accuracy of the findings.

On the Radar

As Canada attempts to find a place to store radioactive nuclear waste, two Ontario communities weigh the economic benefits and environmental risks of burying the waste in caves deep below the Great Lakes. The municipalities of South Bruce and Ignace, along with 10 First Nations and two Métis councils, are awaiting the completion of dozens of studies to ensure the waste could not contaminate the surrounding environment. Past models suggest that underground nuclear waste disposal is safe, but no country has implemented it.

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