One Alarming Thing: Plastic Particles Found In Rainwater

It’s raining plastic!  A recent study of the chemical composition of rain in the Boulder to Denver corridor and in the mountains of Colorado that was conducted by a scientist at the U.S. Geological Survey produced some surprising and disturbing results — 90 percent of the samples collected contained plastics, mostly fibers and blue in color.  We’ve all now seen the terrible pictures of plastic trash on beaches and piling up in landfills.  But to date, there have been very few studies examining microplastics in rain.  It was only by luck that the researcher even decided to look at rain samples under a microscope to see them, as opposed to just testing their chemical makeup.  But that accident revealed that plastic is even more ubiquitous than previously thought.

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Mississippi River Delta Is In Jeopardy – Undoing Decades of Flood Protection Could Save It

Mississippi River Delta Is In Jeopardy – Undoing Decades of Flood Protection Could Save It

A new study released earlier this summer found that the “marshes in the Mississippi River delta have hit a tipping point.” While the study concluded we are past the tipping point, the lead author Torbjörn Törnqvist told Nola.com that this cannot paralyze us into inaction. One important step towards that would be to build on and execute Louisiana’s 2023 Coastal Master Plan, which builds on a previous plan of the same name.

Why This Matters: Coastal marshes are “among the most valuable ecosystems on the planet” due to their vital contributions to storm protection, nutrient cycling, and more.

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Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Coal Ash Barges in India Continue to Capsize, Jeopardizing Public Health, Mangroves, Fishers

Since March, five barges filled with toxic fly ash have capsized en route from India to Bangladesh, according to Rishika Pardikar last week in The Third Pole.  The fly ash, which is used to make cement in Bangladesh, is particularly harmful in river systems such as those of the Sundarbans, an area that contains a highly endangered Bengal tiger reserve and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Why This Matters: Rivers are often touted as an environmentally friendly and cheap mode of transportation – even here in the U.S. (e.g., the Mississippi River). But there are many other users who rely on these waterways in India for fishing and other livelihoods.

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Navajo Lack Water to Fight COVID-19 Because Coal Company Drained the Tribe’s Aquifer

Navajo Lack Water to Fight COVID-19 Because Coal Company Drained the Tribe’s Aquifer

Bloomberg News reports that Peabody Energy, the largest coal producer in the country, operated two coal mines on Navajo and Hopi reservation lands that pulled so much water from the Navajo Aquifer that many wells and springs have now run dry. This comes when water is more necessary than ever for essential hygiene since Covid-19 has hit the Navajo Nation harder than any state.

Why This MattersPeabody never replenished the aquifer water it took under a suspect agreement with the Tribes —  as much as 1.3 billion gallons of water from the aquifer annually —  and one-third of residents have no running water in the midst of the worst pandemic in generations.

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