If you woke up tomorrow and suddenly discovered that your local river hadturned blood redand that a awful, caustic smell had permeated your air, you would be pretty alarmed, right?
For residents of Wenzhou, China, and millions like them in China’s rapidly industrializing and growing cities and towns, it’s just par for the course.
Officials in Wenzhou are still trying to find the cause of the water and air pollution, but Yixiu Wu, who tracks water pollution issues for Greenpeace, told Voice of America, “I think the water pollution problem, it’s no longer a remote problem, only in the countryside,” he said. “It’s affecting everyone. Even people in the cities.”
The red river in Wenzhou is just one example of the water pollution that has been running rampant in China for years, some in very striking ways.
With the rapid growth of China's modernization and infrastructure, the demand for water has grown, too. Until recently, there has not been proper governmental oversight when dealing with water resources.
Pollution of the water and air have short and far reaching effects. Here, we see dead fish in a lake in Wuhan. Fish, an important source of food for many, are also at risk.
Environmentalist Ma Jun tells Voice of America, 'I think the next 20 years will be quite critical. The government needs to make efforts to reduce pollution to provide a safe and healthy environment for this generation.'
China's economy is the second largest in the world, and it's getting larger. With that growth comes more factories, where a majority of the pollution comes from. The National Bureau of Statistics recently reported that industrial business profits rose by 11.4% in the past half year.
With that increase in industrialisation comes both pollution in the form of runoff or contamination, but also in major accidents, such as large leaks or spills. Here, workers try to clean up after an oil spill in Dalian Port, Liaoning province.
In May of last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang 'declared war' on pollution. The government dedicated two trillion yuan specifically to water conservation in China.
It has been reported that of the water kept underground in China's cities, 90% is polluted. 70% of rivers and lakes are contaminated as well.
Relaxed laws and business breaking the rules don't help either. Last year, 16,000 dead pigs were found floating in the Huangpu River near Shanghai, assumed dumped from farms upstream.
Polluted water has been linked to many communicable and dangerous diseases, many of them deadly or chronic. The outbreak of Avian flu may also be tied to the pollution. Polluted drinking water has been reported to be the cause of at least 14% of all digestive cancers in China.
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