Global & Disaster Medicine

Archive for the ‘Water’ Category

Gaza: A shortage of potable water for drinking, cooking, and hygiene with a lack of wastewater sanitation.

Rand

  • More than a quarter of all reported disease in Gaza is caused by poor water quality and access.
  • The main source of Gaza’s water, its aquifer, is being depleted and its quality diminished by seawater intrusion, wastewater seepage, and agricultural runoff.


Cape Town & Day Zero: The recent past; the global future?

Global Health Now

“……On January 1, 2018, the city announced an official limit for sustainable water use of 450 million liters per day for the entire province and declared Level 6 water restrictions, capping household water use at 50 liters per residence per day. Over 6 months, the city issued tenders to build 3 emergency desalination plants, and reduced agricultural use by 60%. The city raised funding to research water saving and recovery technologies and water source diversification—moving away from reliance on the city’s dwindling reservoirs as the main water source…..”


The 11 cities most likely to run out of potable water for one reason or another

BBC

It shouldn’t be a surprise, then, that Cape Town is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are the other 11 cities most likely to run out of water.

1. São Paulo

2. Bangalor

3. Beijing

4. Cairo

5. Jakarta

6. Moscow

7. Istanbu

8. Mexico City

9. London

10. Tokyo

 

11. Miami

 

 


World Water Week: 26 – 31 August, 2018

World Water Week


Red Tide & Florida: NOAA

NOAA

NEW: Summer 2018 Red Tide Event Affecting the West Coast of Florida

 Frequently Asked Questions:

What is happening?

An unusually persistent harmful algal bloom (red tide) is currently affecting portions of the southwest coast of Florida. For the latest updates on this event, visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission red tide status website or the NOAA Harmful Algal Bloom Bulletin.

How long will this red tide last?

If and when bloom the current bloom will end remains an open-ended question. Red tides can last as little as a few weeks or longer than a year. They can even subside and then reoccur. In 2005, for example, a bloom started off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida, in January and then spread from there to Pensacola and Naples by October, persisting for the majority of the year. The duration of a bloom in nearshore Florida waters depends on physical and biological conditions that influence its growth and persistence, including sunlight, nutrients, and salinity, as well as the speed and direction of wind and water currents. Researchers are watching oceanographic conditions in the region carefully and using forecasting tools similar to seasonal weather forecasts to predict how long this bloom will last.

map of redtide

NOAA issues twice weekly forecasts to monitor bloom conditions during a harmful algal bloom event.

What is NOAA’s role in responding to this red tide event?

NOAA conducts scientific research and provides forecasts to give communities advance warnings to better deal with the adverse environmental impacts, health effects and economic losses associated with red tide and other harmful algal bloom events.

NOAA monitors conditions year round and provides official forecasts for red tide through two main products: conditions reports and bulletins. The conditions report identifies if red tide cell concentrations are present and provides forecasts of the highest potential level of respiratory irritation over the next three to four days. Bulletins provide decision-makers with a more in-depth analysis of the location of a current bloom and reported impacts, as well as forecasts of potential development, intensification, transport, and associated impacts of blooms. Both products are updated twice weekly during a bloom.

In addition, NOAA and a network of trained and authorized professionals from state and local organizations work together to respond to stranded marine animals found along the coastline during these events.

Can this red tide event be stopped?

There are currently no means of controlling the occurrence of red tide.

Is this red tide dangerous?

The Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, produces potent neurotoxins, called brevetoxins, that can affect the central nervous system of many animals, causing them to die. That is why red tides are often associated with fish kills. Mortalities of other species, including manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, and birds also occur.

Wave action near beaches can break open K. brevis cells and release the toxins into the air, leading to respiratory irritation. For people with severe or chronic respiratory conditions, such as emphysema or asthma, red tide can cause serious illness. People with respiratory problems should avoid affected beaches during red tides.

Red tide toxins can also accumulate in filter-feeders mollusks such as oysters and clams, which can lead to Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) in people who consume contaminated shellfish. While not fatal, NSP causes diarrhea and discomfort for about three days. Rigorous state monitoring of cells and toxins is conducted to close commercial shellfish harvesting if necessary to protect human health. Recreational shellfish harvesters should check State web pages to make sure it is safe to consume shellfish.

Is it still safe to go to the beach?

Some areas may be more affected than others. Check NOAA forecasts to assist in locating unaffected areas, and learn more about red tide health concerns from Florida Health.

Is this normal?

This year’s bloom is different from what we’ve seen before in several ways:

Timing: Blooms of this alga typically start in late summer or early fall. The last large early summer bloom was in 2005. The current bloom started last fall and is still going.

Duration: While not unprecedented in its duration, this bloom is unusually persistent. It started in October 2017 and continued through spring of 2018. By early summer, the bloom resurged and was detected in five southwest Florida counties. Some shellfish harvesting areas have been closed since November 2017.

Size: The size of the bloom changes from week to week, and it is patchy. Not every beach is affected every day, so it is important to stay up to date with the NOAA conditions report. As of August 15, the bloom stretched from Pinellas County to Collier County, more than 150 miles.

While the timing, duration, and size of this red tide are unusual, red tides are not new to the Gulf Coast. Red tides were documented in the southern Gulf of Mexico as far back as the 1700s and along Florida’s Gulf coast in the 1840s. Fish kills near Tampa Bay were even mentioned in the records of Spanish explorers. For more information on historical red tide events in Florida, see the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s harmful algal bloom monitoring database.

What do you do if you see sick, injured, stranded, or dead wildlife?

If you see sick, injured, or stranded wildlife, such as a sea turtle, manatee, dolphin, seabird, or a large fish kill in Florida, report it to the following standing network hotlines. To report an injured, hooked, entangled, or stranded sea turtle, call 1-877-942-5343. To report other sick or injured wildlife and fish kills, contact FWC Wildlife Alert or call 888-404-FWCC (888-404-3922). If you see dead or injured marine mammals, call 1-877-WHALE HELP (1-877-942-5343). You can also report via the Dolphin and Whale 911 Phone App.

What is the projected effect of this red tide on marine life? How long will it take for impacted marine life to recover?

There is no way to project the cumulative effects of this red tide event. Red tide occurs naturally in coastal waters of the Gulf of Mexico with blooms appearing seasonally. Although the Florida red tide organism, Karenia brevis, typically blooms between August and December, blooms often deviate from that time frame. The current bloom continues to be monitored by our local and state partners. Visit the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission’s (FWC) red tide status page. Reports of fish kills and marine animal deaths are made publicly available on FWC’s website. For more information on the effects of red tide on marine animals, shellfish, and people, visit our health information page for more information.

Can NOAA provide travel advice for people planning to visit this region?

While NOAA provides regional harmful algal bloom forecasts and supports research to better understand the causes, impacts, and effects of these events, we are not in a position to provide travel advice. We have provided links to Florida state resources in the right column of this announcement that we hope will help people make informed decisions about their travel plans.

red circle icon with Florida in white in center

Resources for More Information:

NOAA Resources

Florida Resources

Contact Us

General Information about Red Tide and NOAA’s Role in HAB Forecasting

What is red tide?

Harmful algal blooms occur nearly every summer along the nation’s coasts. Often, the blooms turn the water a deep red. While many people call all such events “red tides,” scientists prefer the term harmful algal bloom or HAB. A red tide or HAB results from the rapid growth of microscopic algae. Some produce toxins that have harmful effects on people, fish, marine mammals, and birds.  In Florida and Texas, this is primarily caused by the harmful algae species Karenia brevis. Red tide can result in varying levels of eye and respiratory irritation for people, which may be more severe for those with preexisting respiratory conditions (such as asthma). The blooms can also cause large fish kills and discolored water along the coast.

illustration of redtide

Red Tide in Florida and Texas

Red Tide in Florida and Texas is caused by the rapid growth of a microscopic algae called Karenia brevis. When large amounts of this algae are present, it can cause a harmful algal bloom (HAB) that can be seen from space. NOAA issues HAB forecasts based on satellite imagery and cell counts of Karenia brevis collected in the field and analyzed by NOAA partners. | Transcript

How Does the NOAA Forecast Work?

NOAA uses a combination of satellite imagery and water samples of the algae species Karenia brevis, collected from the field by local partners, to forecast the location and intensity of red tide events.  Satellite imagery is a key tool for detecting blooms before they reach the coast, verifying bloom movement and forecasting potential respiratory irritation.

illustration of redtide

Why Should You Care?

Red Tide in Florida and Texas produces a toxin that may have harmful effects on marine life. For people, The toxin may also become airborne, which can lead to eye irritation and respiratory issues in people. People with serious respiratory conditions such as asthma may experience more severe symptoms.| Transcript

Putting the Forecast into Action

The condition reports for red tide in Florida and Texas are available to the public and give the daily level of respiratory irritation forecasts by coastal region. NOAA also issues HAB bulletins that contain analyses of ocean color satellite imagery, field observations, models, public health reports, and buoy data. The bulletins also contain forecasts of potential Karenia brevis bloom transport, intensification, and associated respiratory irritation based on the analysis of information from partners and data providers. The bulletins are primarily issued to public health managers, natural resource managers, and scientists interested in HABs.  A week after the the bulletin is issued, it is posted to the Bulletin Archive where the public can access it.

illustration of redtide

Making Choices

State and local resources are available to help beachgoers find nearby beaches and coastal areas that are not affected by red tide, but are still nearby. | Transcript

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illustration of redtide

NOAA Forecasts Can Save Your Beach Day

By paying attention to NOAA’s HAB forecasts, beachgoers can still have a good time along the Florida and Texas coast. The conditions report for Red Tide in Florida and Texas can
be found online. | Transcript

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Infographic Transcript: Red Tide

Red Tide in Florida and Texas is caused by the rapid growth of a microscopic algae called Karenia brevis. When large amounts of this algae are present, it can cause a harmful algal bloom (HAB) that can be seen from space. NOAA issues HAB forecasts based on satellite imagery and cell counts of Karenia brevis collected in the field and analyzed by NOAA partners.

Why should you care? Red Tide in Florida and Texas produces a toxin that can have harmful effects for marine life. For people, the toxin can become airborne and cause respiratory issues and eye irritation. These symptoms can be more severe for people with serious respiratory issues such as asthma.

Making Choices. State and local resources are available to help beachgoers find beaches and coastal areas that are not impacted by Red Tide, but are still nearby.


India: “suffering from the worst water crisis in its history”

Thomas Reuters

  • 600 million people – nearly half India’s population – face acute water shortage
  • Close to 200,000 die each year from polluted water.
  • Nearly 70 percent of India’s water is contaminated, impacting three in four Indians and contributing to 20 percent of the country’s disease burden.
  • 21 major cities, including New Delhi and India’s IT hub of Bengaluru, will run out of groundwater by 2020, affecting 100 million people.


About 600 million Indians are facing high to extreme stress over water

Al Jazeera

India Water Crisis Document

“…..India is suffering from the worst water crisis in its history and millions of lives and livelihoods are under threat. Currently, 600 million Indians face high to extreme water stress and about two lakh people die every year due to inadequate access to safe water1. The crisis is only going to get worse. By 2030, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply, implying severe water scarcity for hundreds of millions of people and an eventual ~6% loss in the country’s GDP….”

 


Global Drowning: 3.72 million drown annually in the world

WHO on Drowning

“…..WHO in its latest report on drowning reported that 3,72,000 people die every year worldwide due to drowning. 90 per cent of these deaths takes place in LMIC’s (Low and middle income countries). It is a major contributor towards mortality rates in south east Asia……”

 


March 22: World Water Day

CDC

World Water Day is observed each year on March 22 to promote the responsible use of water and access to safe water for everyone. Around the world, 844 million people still do not have a basic drinking water service.1

Water is one of our most important natural resources. Every day, people, animals, and plants depend on water for their survival. Water is necessary for growing food, energy production, individual well-being, and global health.

Waterborne Disease Prevention Around the World

Clean and safe drinking water sustains human life. Without it, waterborne diseases can spread, sickening and sometimes killing adults and children. CDC’s Global Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) experts work to improve global access to safe water, proper sanitation, and hygiene. CDC experts strengthen WASH efforts in response to humanitarian crises and natural disasters and respond to life-threatening outbreaks of waterborne diseases around the world, including outbreaks of cholera, hepatitis, and typhoid fever. CDC also works closely with other U.S. government agencies, foreign Ministries of Health, non-governmental organizations, UN Agencies, private companies, and various international agencies to improve global access to healthy and safe water, proper sanitation, and hygiene.

The United Nations established a sustainable development goal of improving access to safe water and sanitation facilities. Between 2000 and 2015, over 1 billion people gained access to piped water supplies with the potential to deliver safe water for everyday use (for example, tap water in households or public stand posts that provide piped water). Between 1990 and 2015, more than 2 billion people gained access to an improved sanitation facility (a toilet or latrine designed to ensure that people do not come in contact with waste). Despite these improvements, 844 million people still did not have access to a safe drinking water source, and 2.3 billion still did not have access to an improved sanitation facility. Some 892 million people defecate in the open because they do not have access to any type of toilet or latrine.1

Lack of safe drinking water and toilets increases the chance for outbreaks of waterborne diseases like typhoid fever, hepatitis, and cholera. Typhoid, hepatitis, and cholera germs can spread when human waste containing the germs gets into a community’s water supply. That happens when people do not have access to a sanitation facility that can dispose of waste properly. Although rare in the United States, outbreaks of cholera and typhoid continue to occur in low resource countries. Together, these diseases kill from 149,000 to 304,000 men, women, and children each year.2,3

Now is the time to address these challenges to keep the global water supply safe and available for generations to come.

Visit the United Nations’ World Water Day website for more information on World Water Day and ideas on how to get involved.

World Water Day also presents an opportunity to learn about water-related issues that affect us locally. For more information about CDC’s water-related public health efforts in the United States, visit these websites: Drinking Water, Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene-Related Emergency; and Healthy Swimming.


Cape Town residents have drastically lowered their water use, allowing their drought-plagued city to push back the dreaded “Day Zero” by more than 10 weeks.

NY Times

“…..Cape Town has cut its water consumption to 523 million liters a day…..and less than half of what it was four years ago, before the drought began.….”

 


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