Friday, 9 October 2015

Poisonous waters in the United States Hydropolitics

Mother Nature's terror in the Carolinas and East Coast

While hurricane season comes and goes, the Americas are once again facing a fall season full of floods. The hurricanes tend to follow a random path that either floods and destroys the towns in the Carribean, Gulf of Mexico or the Eastern seaboard of the United States. The Caribbean countries ie Bahamas and Cuba most recently absorbed the blast from the last two hurricanes that whizzed by the Eastern Atlantic two weeks ago. While Hurricane Joaquin was downgraded to a category three on its approach to the Eastern United States, it still left chaos in the Carolinas. South Carolina is still reeling from Joaquin's forceful winds. The rural S. Carolina faced buckets of rain and toxic water even with the category three classification. The people of New Jersey and New York have become increasingly nervous every time a hurricane or storm threatens the area since superstorm Hurricane Sandy killed 238 people, destroyed homes and schools and turned parts of low laying New York (NYC is a series of islands) and New Jersey's coast into hallow shells. The recovery is still ongoing. Some residents have chosen to stay in their homes and barricade it with sandbags and boards during every hurricane. Fortunately no one died but the cargo ship El Faro (the lighthouse in Spanish) is still missing in the Caribbean rising fears that some 20+ American crew members have died during Joaquin's rampage. It will take weeks for the foot high water to recede in parts of South Carolina. The state senator has been criticized for their failure to do more on safeguarding state residents against the historic floods.

Water as a weapon Michigan

The people of Detroit reiterating that water is a human right. Photo by Popular Resistance.

Water Crisis Detroit: Prelude to the Privatization of Water? Acronym TV 

On the Detroit residents' fight against the ongoing water crisis

In the North central parts of the United States or colloquially the Midwest, the residents of Flint and Detroit, Michigan have been facing a water crisis. Detroit residents have been fighting the city government over shutting off water to poor residents mainly African American families and long term house owners. The same residents are also facing rapid gentrification in and around downtown Detroit and its immediate suburbs. African American families and organizers continuously protest to the mayour and city council over the injust water shut offs and lack of water services for the poorer districts. The mayor has reiterated that the water was shut off since the poor residents didn't pay heir water bill. Each time, the protesters remind the mayor's office that water is a human right. The United Nations sent two special rapporteurs to the city who both shocked and condemned the water shut off and injust use of water against Detroit's residents. Without saying it directly, the Detroit Water service's has been using water as a weapon against its own residents not far off from Israeli military's use of water shut offs and water policy against the Palestinians. Not far from Detroit, the smaller city of Flint, Michigan has also faced a water crisis. In 2013, Flint City Council voted to change its source of water from Detroit to Lake Huron via a new water pipe. Flint was disconnected from Detroit's water system after the city government discovered Flint's local water source from Lake Huron had high level lead. For the last week, Flint residents have been relying on portable drinking water and water bottles while the city slowly found a solution to the poisoned water. Michigan governor Rick Synder has called for $16 million to reduce and clean up the lead in Flint's drinking water supply. The discovery of possible lead poisoned water has both angered and frightened Flint residents by extension other Michigan residents especially Detroiters.

Automative Industry in Detroit

Both Detroit and Flint are part of the Rust Belt region once famed for their automotive industries that gradually died during the 1980s. Many automotive industries in the United States were outsourced to other countries and international car manufactures took advantage of new American auto markets that were no longer protected from competition by foreign cars following the reduction of tariffs. Car companies such as GM still operate in the Detroit area but its heyday has long been replaced by slow growth and recalls for faulty engineering among other problems. On top of that Detroit is still recovering from bankruptcy.

Environmental protectors poisoning Colorado River

The above video an ode to the Colorado River titled I am Red

While California struggles and prays for rain, Colorado is trying to understand how one of its major sources of water, the Colorado River become so contaminated. Earlier this year, the Colorado River witnessed an unusual natural phenomenon. Its clear waters turned gold not from the actual gold itself but from the large amounts of pollutants dumped into it over the months. Many local and out of state corporations and shale businesses set up near the river had been funneling their toxic discharges from their factories and wastes into the river without considering the long term health consequences. The native American people the Navajo were the first to condemned the river's contamination as disastrous for residents and for the future generations. The Colorado River not only faces long term contamination but also droughts that have been destroying California's water supply and fields and ecological destruction from newer dams, pumping water for growing cities and overuse of the river and other Colorado water sources meant to keep up with urbanization. To add to this injury, the EPA (national environmental protection agency) was also caught dumping pollutants into the river and tried to deny it after residents protested against them. The Colorado is now America's most endangered waterway. Equally troubling is the fact that millions of people across three states Colorado, California and Arizona rely on the river as part of their respective drinking supply which parts further strain on the suffocating river.

Toxic dumping in the Colorado River NBC News

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