China has already polluted some of its rivers serverly. Many Countries around the world in history have had cities where a rising GDP correlated with increased pollution. For the most part China goes by the policy of “pollute now, clean up later” There are negative sides to this in the growth of a city. Investors are scared away, quality of health drops. Currently China has seen this problem in history and is attempting to mediate economic growth and sustainability. Suzhou creek became one of the most polluted waterways in china due to heavy agricultural irrigation and industry use. In 1996 the Shanghai government made this river a top priority. With loans and technical help sanitation has gotten better and water quality has increased. Similar projects in Qunhuai River and Wuli Lake are taking place. By taking a stand now they are actually avoiding some of the tragedy that even the western world felt from delayed environmental recovery.
The government is closing down polluters along the Songhua River by suspending projects that have not had an environmental assessment and closing down industries with massive discharge. There has been a massive movement in China where there is growing citizen awareness and activism. The government has seen this and is attempting to remedy some of the major problems including the Yangtze which had 120 million tons of household sewage flushed into it last year. For some animal species in China it is too late. Hopefully this slow trend toward environmental responsibility continues. They still have a long way to go.
For information on new Dams being built on the Yangtze despite environmental outrage read http://www.treehugger.com/files/2009/05/china-wants-20-more-dams-headwaters-yangtze-river.php
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