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    » 05/12/2005, 00.00

    CHINA

    Pearl River pollution a serious concern



    Water treatment plants are built only in cities, whilst farmers must put up with polluted water. Official reports indicate that the Pearl River dumps more 133,000 tonnes of waste into the sea.

    Guangzhou (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Water from the Pearl River is destroying the rural economy of its delta. Water pollution is rising so much that experts have begun sounding alarm bells and farmers relying on the river are already noticing their crops dying off.

    Pearl River Delta cities are rich enough to pay for waste-water treatment plants but do not allow farmers from using their treated water.

    Not only is the situation making people forced to drink the polluted water sick, but it is pitting city people against farmers and creating social tensions.

    What is more, experts are warning that attempts to treat water may prove useless unless a common approach is not adopted.

    According to Liu Chen, director of the Protection Bureau of the Pearl River Water Resources Commission, efforts by cities like Guangzhou "will go to waste if nothing is done downstream".

    "If we also continue to pollute the water at its source, all the efforts of cities downstream will be wasted," he said.

    As for exclusive use of the water, "many suggestions have been made to provide clean water to everyone, but they have not been implemented," Mr Liu said.

    Rich cities close to the coast do not offer assistance to poorer inland provinces because they do not believe the problem is serious.

    According to the National Marine Environmental Monitoring Centre, the Pearl River dumps 8,655 tonnes of heavy metals, 65,637 tonnes of nitrates and ammonia, and 59,853 tonnes of petrol into the sea each year.

    Still, according to the Monitoring Centre, the Pearl River is less polluted than the Yangtze.

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    See also

    28/07/2011 CHINA
    Sichuan: govt admits river water contamination, causes panic in population
    In Mianyang, a city of 300,000, thousands of people rushed to buy bottled water standing in line well into the night. Municipal authorities pledge to provide water for everyone, saying the crisis will be soon over. However, people do not trust them.

    28/04/2009 CENTRAL ASIA
    Water as a hot bone of contention for Central Asian nations
    Five-nation forum ends without any agreement. Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan want to build hydroelectric plants but this would reduce water flow downstream, essential for the other three countries. In the meantime the Aral Sea, once the world’s fourth largest lake, has now shrunk by 90 per cent.

    08/06/2005 CHINA
    Controlling pollution a tough job for the government
    The 2004 report by the State Environmental Protection Administration says pollution control is a tough job to do. Industrial development and local authorities dragging their feet are preventing the clean-up of waterways.

    20/03/2007 ChINA
    White froth in river, lead below the water table
    The Ying River, a tributary of the Huai River, has a 500-metre long white frothy slick moving downstream. Meanwhile in a small village in Hunan province half of the residents show signs of lead poisoning. As local fields wither trees die. Residents must get water from wells located hundreds of metres away since pollution has reached the local water table.

    22/12/2005 CHINA
    Cadmium spill in the Beijiang River leaves millions of people without water
    A state-owned smelting plant releases a toxic slick. The river supplies water to big cities and millions of people in Guangdong province. The accident occurred last week but was revealed only yesterday.



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