Author Archives: VMV

“Toxic Waters”

Here’s some “surprising” news.  Your tap water could be unsafe to drink if you live close to a powerful industry that pollutes… Photo detailand US EPA may not intervene on your behalf!  Here are some interesting articles that appeared in NY Times about toxic drinking water.  Link.  Be sure to watch the videos on those pages – very disturbing.  Also, there was an interesting documentary on PBS’ Frontline called “Poisoned Waters,” which is very interesting.  You can watch that show on their website.

Interestingly, SC DHEC was quoted as saying that protecting business interests was very important for their mission!  As an example, here’s a link to articles about the nexus between business interests and DHEC at the expense of public health.  Link.

“The disappearing nutrient”

An interesting article in Nature says that we’re running out of phosphate across the world.  Phosphate is a very critical nutrient that’s required for plant growth and is usually mined in some parts of the world.  Apparently, there’s less than 50 years worth of high quality phosphate available that could be mined.  Running out could lead to a massive disaster as food production would have to increase with the increasing population.  Some are considering recovering phosphates from animal waste – but that’s still a long a way to go.

Estimates of groundwater depletion in the “bread basket” of India

It’s very hard to assess how fast groundwater is being removed for agricultural use and how much is being recharged.  This is even more difficult when no centralized records are maintained regarding groundwater usage.  No such assessments are available for northwestern India, which is often referred to as the “bread basket” of India as they produce nearly all wheat consumed in India.  Over the past several years, the unsustainable growth and agricultural practices combined with climate change have severely depleted the groundwater in the region.  Until now no one had any idea how serious the problem was.  The latest issue of Nature published a study where some researchers used satellite data to estimate the groundwater depletion rates.  They say

During our study period of August 2002 to October 2008, groundwater depletion was equivalent to a net loss of 109 km3 of water, which is double the capacity of India’s largest surface-water reservoir.

Imagine, how this could affect over 114 million people that live in those areas and entire South Asia in general.