Yangtze River life expectancy: five years


Chinese environmental experts fear worsening pollution could kill the Yangtze within five years, the Xinhua news agency said on 30 May, calling for an urgent clean-up, reported The Sydney Morning Herald (31 May 2006 p10).

Problem not to be ignored: "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," the agency added, warning that experts considered it "cancerous".

All the usual culprits: Industrial waste and sewage, agricultural pollution and shipping discharges were to blame for the river’s declining health, experts said.

A long and winding waterway: The Yangtze, the third longest river in the world after the Nile and the Amazon runs from the remote far western province of Qinghai and Tibet through 186 cities including Chongqing, Wuhan and Nanjing, before emptying into the sea at Shanghai.

Receives waste water, expected to provide potable supply: The river absorbed more than 40 per cent of the country’s waste water, 80 per cent of it untreated, said Lu Jianjian, from the 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. Most of the Yellow River, the second-longest in the country and the cradle of early Chinese civilisation, is so polluted it is not safe for drinking or swimming, Xinhua said in May last year.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 31/5/2006, p. 10

Source: Erisk Net  

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