Earth Focus

Toxic Environments: U.S. and China

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Fracking Hell, an original joint investigative report by LinkTV and the Ecologist Film Unit, exposes unregulated interstate radioactive waste dumping in the US. Waste from Pennsylvania gas wells, that may contain dangerous levels of radium 226 and other toxins, is routinely dumped in New York, Ohio and West Virginia, where it poses a potential threat to the drinking water supply of millions. The report explores the risks of natural gas development in the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation in the Allegheny Plateau, which contains enough natural gas to supply all US gas needs for fourteen years. Natural gas is released from shale through a process called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which involves injection of high volumes of water and chemicals. Methane gas, toxic chemicals and now experts fear unacceptable levels of radioactive radium 226, which occurs naturally in the Marcellus Shale, are seeping into local drinking water ruining the lives of local residents. With a lack of appropriate treatment facilities, "frack" water and other waste from natural gas drilling is being dumped by gas companies in States where regulations are lax. Because fracking may involve up to five million gallons of water per well and because some 500,000 wells are likely to be constructed in the Marcellus Shale region over the next three decades, the issue of what to do with toxic and radioactive waste water needs to be urgently addressed...Earth Focus also speaks with Jonathan Watts, Asia environmental correspondent for UK's The Guardian about his new book When a Billion Chinese Jump. Watts travelled more than 100,000 miles across China, looking at cancer villages, toxic air and water pollution and issues that my affect China's ability to feed itself -- melting glaciers and acute water shortages. The environment is now recognized as a security issue in China and Watts addresses how the Chinese leadership is responding. The choices that the world's most populated country makes in the years ahead will have global impact."