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Chinese Pollution Turns River Red and Bubbly

A branch of the Yangtze River has turned red and bubbly due to a chemical spill this week. Sixty thousand people are without running water, and some schools have been forced to close as they cannot provide food for students. The cause of the spill is unknown, but is being investigated.

As China rapidly emerges as an economic power, it is leaving environmental damage in its wake. Recently, China banned plastic bags, resulting in the closure of China's largest bag factory, and over 20,000 layoffs. The plant had produced over $305 million worth of plastic bags a year!

The New York Times has described the catastrophic situation in China as: industrial cities where people rarely see the sun, children killed by lead poisoning; a coastline so swamped by algal that oceans no longer sustain life.

Are industrialization and economic progress mutually exclusive with environmental protection? This week, Britain's Foreign Secretary said rich nations must help the developing world pay for a shift to cleaner technologies to fight climate change? Do you agree?


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