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A Gunrun Project


The Japanese town that was poisoned

February 11, 2015
BBC

More than 2,000 people died from eating contaminated seafood from the area, with thousands more suffered life-long damage.

It would take years before the Chisso Corporation admitted their role in the poisoning of the environment.

World Toilet Day 2014

Detroit, Michigan, United States
Balazs Gardi, November 19, 2014

Access to safe and affordable water is out of reach for way too many people in the United States.

Imagine that – even for a day – you lose the running water in your home to drink, cook, bathe and flush your toilet. In Detroit it is the everyday reality of thousands of families whose water has been shut off after falling behind in paying their bills.

Now the UN is intervening in Detroit’s water conflict. Could thirsty cities riot?

October 17, 2014
The Guardian

This intersection of poverty and water access brings to mind the “food desert” (an area underserved by grocery stores). Food deserts have created a public health paradox: without healthy food, the poor are more likely to be obese, relying on corner shops stocked with junk food. The difference is that when it comes to water, there is no alternative – fast food and sugary cereal might be the food desert substitute to fresh vegetables and whole grains, but there is no substitute for water.

UN sued over Haiti cholera epidemic

October 9, 2013
BBC

Lawyers representing victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti have filed a lawsuit against the United Nations at a court in New York. They say UN peacekeepers introduced cholera to Haiti in 2010. The disease killed more than 8,000 people and made hundreds of thousands sick. The UN says it has legal immunity.

Fukushima nuclear plant: Toxic isotope found in groundwater

June 19, 2013
BBC

Strontium-90 is formed as a by-product of nuclear fission. Tests showed that levels of strontium in groundwater at the Fukushima plant had increased 100-fold since the end of last year, Toshihiko Fukuda, a Tepco official, told media.

“When we look at the impact that is having on the ocean, the levels seem to be within past trends and so we don’t believe it’s having an effect.”

This is How Karachi Water Vendors Earns a $1 a Day

Karachi, Pakistan
Balazs Gardi, March 26, 2013

Zulfquar (42) and Atique (25) are two of five brothers who make their living by selling water. They take turns transporting it from a public well 30 kilometers away by donkey cart and selling it to their neighbors in the slum. Since the water’s quality is not suitable for human consumption their customers can only use it for bathing and washing.

Could You Drink Water Piped to Your House Through an Open Sewer?

Karachi, Pakistan
Balazs Gardi, March 1, 2013

Amar Guriro, a Karachi-based environmental journalist, and a WaterAid Fellow, has named Machar Colony “The town of miracles.” As we walk through piles of rubbish surrounding children using the streets as a playground, he explains that surviving here is only possible by the appearance of small miracles.

Machar Colony is built on land reclaimed from the sea. Where mangroves once grew, migrant workers settled down slowly and filled the swamp with literally any materials they found.

Oil company foils government inspectors with high-tech gadgets (coffee filters)

January 10, 2013
Grist

An oil company admitted Thursday that coffee filters were used to doctor water samples and cover up the fact that it was dumping oil and grease into the Gulf of Mexico on its platform 175 miles south of New Orleans. …

Just to be clear, the reporting process goes like this.
1. Company takes water sample.
2. Company sends water sample to government.
3. Government looks at submitted water sample and says OK.

And in order to get that OK, the company need only add step 1a: Pass them through a semiporous piece of paper. Got it.

Central Valley residents tire of receiving L.A.’s urban waste

March 25, 2012
Los Angeles Times

One of the most bitter battles in California is over sludge, the batter-like material left over after treatment plants finish cleaning and draining what is flushed down the toilet or washed down the sink.

Sludge used to get dumped in the ocean — but that was banned in the 1980s because of concerns about pollution.

Bluefin tuna record Fukushima radioactivity

May 29, 2012
BBC

Pacific Bluefin tuna caught off the coast of California have been found to have radioactive contamination from last year’s Fukushima nuclear accident. The fish would have picked up the pollution while swimming in Japanese waters, before then moving to the far side of the ocean.

Scientists stress that the fish are still perfectly safe to eat.

Fukushima pollution is potentially a very useful tool to trace the origin and timing of animal movements.