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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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JovianSkies JovianSkies 7 years
I have a close friend who's stayed for quite a while, and a family member who does business in China ALL of the time, so this isn't a case of ignorant, stupid Americans whining all of the time. People like onabanana and I just MIGHT know a little of what we're talking about (though she knows more, because I've only been told what it's like, and she's actually been there). Sorry to dissapoint you, but most of China IS like this, or a somewhat more metropolitan version of it that isn't much improved. The socialite areas are sparse, and as onabanana stated, many of the philanthropic movements there are quickly and cruelly snuffed out. Also, there's a growing amount of people boycotting Chinese goods because of the treatment of workers there (others are boycotting only to support American-made or European). I'm so sick of people saying that Americans are ignorant, or a combination of ignorant/stupid/greedy. I find THAT statement to be pompous and stereotypically driven. It's not just you, DigitalChick, so don't think that this is directed towards you solely, but so many European (or otherwise) members on this site constantly and casually post those statements.
onabanana onabanana 7 years
1. There are still parts of China that are beautiful 2. Though most people in China live in terrible conditions there are also many that live in the Cities that have life styles that rival any NY socialite so the implications that all Chinese don't have high living standards is a little inaccurate. It does however, highlight the growing gap between the few rich and many poor. 3. The Chinese government is making limited efforts to improve human rights conditions and their environmental protection record is laughable at best. The American Media may not report much positive information about China but it certainly doesn't make up news which the Chinese media could learn a bit from. I wouldn't call 28 journalist rotting in jail much of an effort to curb human rights abuses. I work in China a lot and from my understanding each clean up (Such as the Pearl river clean up in Guangzhou) is met with more dumping. 4. Such a picture is a result of CPC's corruption and the fact the neither the central government not the provencal governments have the means or the will to work for the people and not themselves.
DigitalChick DigitalChick 7 years
Such picture is a result of China's cheap manufacturing industry and enormous population. You Americans just whine about how disgusting this picture is and still enjoy the cheap clothes and utensils from China. These won't last long. In fact Chinese government is working on improving the enviroment and human right. But you will never see such actions on American media (TV and newspaper). Because the American medias always show the ugliest side of China.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 7 years
Janneth, human life has never been a value in China, so I'd have to agree with you that it's very much like a horror movie. Only, it's more frightening because it's a reality...
janneth janneth 7 years
Is human life not a value there? It is like a horror movie. Toxic waste.
JovianSkies JovianSkies 7 years
China is such an industrial wasteland, it's difficult to comprehend them as a functioning country (other than their intimidating numbers and militia). I don't know how they can go on as they are, and expect their economy and lifestyle to ever be raised to a higher standard.
Jude-C Jude-C 7 years
Unfortunately, China has become a truly frightening industrial dystopia. And yet they will continue to be allowed to destroy the environment, since they provide so many cheap goods and manufacturing opportunities to the rest of the world.
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 7 years
I keep hearing any the problem(s) in China and how we are affected by them because of all of the items that come from there. I feel so sorry for their people. I don't know if it's our responsibility to help them pay to be more environmentally friendly, but it couldn't hurt. It affects us in that we are sharing this planet, but also because so many of our goods are imported from China.
mymellowman mymellowman 7 years
Onabanana - I think you missed the very essence of my post, though your post seems to have restated it for me. :)
onabanana onabanana 7 years
The US won't Sign he Kyoto Protocol because it is poorly written document that rewards cheaters and in fact every single country that sign the treaty cheated! ON the other hand, though the US did not sign the treaty, it in fact reduced it's emissions output. I support an international treaty which deals with pollution and climate change issues but only if it is not a farce of document. "China gets to pollute all they want" is a ridiculous statement. The West primarily benefits from the cheap goods, while working Chinese people suffer the consequence because their government doesn't care. China needs to get it's act together, if it wants to be an international leader than it should act like one and lead by example. It can't hide behind the "We're a developing Nation" statement forever.
j2e1n9 j2e1n9 7 years
I want to see pictures of these red bubbles.
x_juicyfruit x_juicyfruit 7 years
Wow, that's terrible.
mymellowman mymellowman 7 years
China is a developing nation, as such, they can pollute all they like. Let's focus instead on how the US will not sign the Kyoto Protocol.
Shopaholichunny Shopaholichunny 7 years
Ooooo gross I hope the people will be safe from it
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