A reputation as cursed and unholy became the saving grace of India’s Chambal River—helping it escape a fate like the sacred, yet heavily polluted Ganges.   People gave the Chambal wide berth, ultimately sparing it from heavy development and polluting factories. In 1979,…

Mexico City’s Pedregales neighborhood sits atop a natural spring—but when residents try to turn on their taps, they run dry.   Water shortages are common across the city; 70% of residents only have 12 hours of water a day. But Pedregales residents believe that their water…

We are very close to eradicating polio, with just 3 countries experiencing ongoing transmission: Nigeria, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Polio is usually tracked based on reports of acute flaccid paralysis. The condition only occurs in a tiny proportion of cases, but reveals the…

Port-au-Prince, Haiti, has no sewage system. It’s one of the few densely populated cities of its size where people still use outhouses and throw waste in the canals and waterways. Unsurprisingly, Haiti also has a problem with contaminated water and disease.These issues…

Environmental surveillance—sampling wastewater—can detect poliovirus but it’s underused partly because its sensitivity isn’t known.   After a 2013 polio outbreak, Israeli researchers used 2 datasets from the natural experiment to discover “a dose-dependent relationship…