combined sewer overflow

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For years, scientists have described climate change as a slowly emerging public health crisis. But for many, it’s difficult to imagine how a complex planetary phenomenon can impact personal well-being beyond the obvious effects of natural disasters, which climatologists say will happen more frequently and intensely as the world warms. That disconnect is what piqued my interest in a new study on old infrastructure, heavy rainfalls and spikes in human illness.

Storms and sewage

Pictures of Hurricane Irene’s destruction are circulating and making many of us realize we’re lucky to still have our homes and power lines intact. There’s also one Irene-related problem that’s invisible to the naked eye: raw sewage in waterways. Here’s the Washington Post’s Darryl Fears on local contamination:

In Monday’s post I mentioned how much I loved London when I visited – but London wasn’t always such an appealing place. During the Industrial Revolution, it was filthy and polluted. The stench was appalling, and an episode of particularly foul smells from the Thames River in 1858 was known as the “Great Stink.” Life…