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30 May 2006 at 3:26 pm #3341Martin WParticipant
More grim environmental news from China; follows soon after Three Gorges Dam completed (mega scheme that supposedly good, but could have major drawbacks, inc resulting from massive inflows of silt):Quote:BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s longest river is "cancerous" with pollution and rapidly dying, threatening drinking water supplies in 186 cities along its banks, state media said on Tuesday. Chinese environmental experts fear worsening pollution could kill the Yangtze river within five years, Xinhua news agency said, calling for an urgent clean-up. "Many officials think the pollution is nothing for the Yangtze," Xinhua quoted Yuan Aiguo, a professor with the China University of Geosciences, as saying. "But the pollution is actually very serious," it added, warning that experts considered it "cancerous."" Industrial waste and sewage, agricultural pollution and shipping discharges were to blame for the river’s declining health, experts said. The river, the third longest in the world after the Nile and the Amazon, runs from remote far west Qinghai and Tibet through 186 cities including Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanjing and empties into the sea at Shanghai. It absorbed more than 40 percent of the country’s waste water, 80 percent of it untreated, said Lu Jianjian, from East China Normal University. "As the river is the only source of drinking water in Shanghai, it has been a great challenge for Shanghai to get clean water," Xinhua quoted him as saying.,,,
China’s longest river "cancerous" with pollution
This item mentions a major scheme to divert Yangtze water north to thirsty northern China – maybe the water will be too filthy to drink. Far too many of China’s rivers and lakes are suffering from massive pollution, and/or over-exploitation. from 2001, see Thirsty cities and factories push farmers off the parched earthQuote:‘Water is a sensitive topic in China’ said a Water Bureau official in a rural county seat 50 kilometres southwest of Beijing on a hot July afternoon, explaining to China Development Brief why he would not discuss the subject. ‘Besides, if news of our water shortage got out, we wouldn’t be able to convince industry to invest in our county’ … Increased use of upstream Yellow River water has progressively depleted the river’s resources. Its lower reaches first dried up in the 1970s for 21 days, but the dry period has since grown rapidly. In 1992, the river failed to reach the Lijin Measuring Station (136km from the estuary) for 82 days. In 1995 the dry spell lasted 118 days, and the following year fully 330 days, cutting grain production in the lower reaches by 2.75 million tonnes–enough to feed nine million people for a year.
The Yellow River is not the only one that now runs dry. A 100 km section of the Liao has been dry since May 9 this year, while 90%of other rivers in Liaoning Province are also dry.1 Few of the 300 tributaries in the Hai River Basin–encompassing a population of 120 million–now have water in them year–round .
In Shandong, during the 1994 drought, 12 of 14 major rivers, 4,926 tributaries and streams, 27,000 reservoirs and 206,000 wells dried up, affecting one million hectares of cropland. … Chronic water scarcity in the North is now compounded by problems of quality. Rapid industrial expansion and a marked rise in fertilizer and pesticide use since the 1980s have taken their toll. The 3-H river basins contain nearly half of China’s Township and Village Enterprises, including notorious polluters such as paper and leather tanning factories, while chemical fertilizer and pesticide use doubled between 1985 and 1995. By 1995, over 80% of river sections monitored for pollution in the 3-H basins were classified as being seriously polluted, or exceeding Grade 3 standard while fully half of the Hai River failed to even meet Grade 5 standards, meaning the water was unfit for any human use whatsoever.
other articles include: The national security implications of China’s emerging water crisis
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