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An Analysis Of Water Pollution In China Environmental Sciences Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Sciences
Wordcount: 1584 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The challenge of escalating water pollution in China has posed a formidable threat to the existing water bodies that are immensely beneficial to the natives, industries and the government. This water pollution has been as a consequence of effluents from the heavily industrialized areas, which drain chemicals to rivers and other related streams. The escalating quandary of water pollution in China requires swift and practical measures geared towards safeguarding the few water bodies that have not been polluted, and halting further pollution of those already polluted. These efforts will aid in protecting the aquatic life, and improving on environmental conservation. To effectively limit the levels of water pollution, the Chinese Government ought to implement reasonable and valid systems that will guarantee the reduction in release of toxic effluents into the aquatic ecosystem.

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The appalling state of affairs resulting from the Chinese industrial effluents from the densely populated manufacturing states have reached to points where they threaten to literally extinguish the aquatic life, and thereby rendering once valuable rivers and streams useless. Indeed, these rivers, streams and other water bodies are affected to a point that they can be seen to be contaminated from visual observation. Additionally, strong and awful smells can be felt emanating from the flowing bodies of water; these polluted masses of moving water are usually black in color (Economy 2010). The Chinese authorities ideally want to intervene and implement effective measures to regulate the culpable industries on their commercial release into these rivers and streams. Many industrialists however argue against such a move, instead positing that by implementing a number of restrictive measures, the authorities will be deterring the growth and development of upcoming industries. Such arguments fall flat in face of logic and only help to champion the further degradation of the environment. The industrialists also posit that these measures will reduce production of some companies, which they argue, are particularly critical in global industrial production and the emergence of China as a superpower.

Implementation of restrictive laws should not be compromised by vested interests from industrialists. Restrictive and regulatory environmental laws are designed help in guarding environment for the future generations in China. Environmental standards in China are deteriorating at a particularly unsettling pace when compared to other countries. Natives of Chinese towns are pessimistic about future environmental outlooks. They have witnessed once clean rivers turned into sewerage drainage channels because of extremely uncontrolled dumping of industrial refuse. In an environmental conservation article, Rivers Run Black in Shanxi Province in CHINA.ORG.CN website, a farmer called Li Yonggang recalls a few years back when a nearby river–Shushui River–was remarkably uncontaminated and bustling with marine life. He notes with vivid contract of how the landscape of back then is so different to that of today. At thirty years, everything has changed and very different to what he used to see in the 1980s. Li compares how he dug a mere 60 meters in the past “to get clean drinking water, but now…well is 180 meters deep” (“Rivers Run Black in Shanxi Province”). Water pollution is normally graded on a scale of I, II, III, IV and V-where I is the purest with least pollutants and V is the most polluted. Shushui River is currently on grade V.

Shanxi province is categorized as leading in having worst river waters in the country because of the big industries in the region (China Knowledge Press Pte Ltd & Xiahou, 2005). Environmentalists and natives are equally conscious of the heightening status of the quandary, and most wonder if the deteriorating status will be halted in time since all the ten most polluted cities are in Shanxi (“Rivers Run Black in Shanxi Province”).

According to Jian Xie’s book Addressing China’s water scarcity: recommendations for selected water resource management issues, which was written in collaboration with the World Bank, the Peoples Republic of China possesses no adequate and proper sewerage management system and as a result, both the public and domestic waste is channeled into nearby water bodies. Some rivers have turned red as a result, clearly depicting the extent of pollution. (See illustration below).

Also about 500 million citizens do not have any kind of access to hygienically treated drinking water and majority resort to taking filthy water from rivers (Xie & World Bank, 2009). Current studies depict excessive discharge of mans’ refuse and other pollutants from agricultural area. The discharging of waste in the sea is rampant because the majority of the rural populations do not have abundant water conditioning facilities. This puts them on the verge of getting infected with industrial and human waste related diseases.

The Xie/ World Bank book highlights the concerns of many people lacking domestic water, and indicates that such predicaments have pushed people to use flowing water from streams and rivers. Here, they can wash clothes and get water for cooking and drinking. The most culpable industries in the list of agents of pollution are plants that manufacture drugs, chemicals and tannery mills.

The picture below shows how factories located near water bodies in China easily dump heaps of wastes. Wastes can be seen spilling in the river depository.

Yangtze effluence

Evident as it is, water contamination is primarily caused by industrial processes. From the observation of the visual evidence above, not only is water being affected, but the air is equally polluted. These emissions of toxic substances into the environment cost the Chinese government almost $69 billion annually, a figure that is spent on dismal efforts closely related to environmental conservation but which barely have any effect. Marquita Hill reports in Understanding Environmental pollution that China disposes about 11.7 million pounds of organic waste annually. This is mindboggling when you consider that industrialized nations such as the United States emits about 5.5, Japan emits around 3.4, Germany 2.3, India 3.2 and South Africa a paltry 0.6 (Hill, 2009). When you do the mathematics, China’s emission is almost equal to all these five countries. This is intense pollution according to the statistics the rate is increasing endangering the human existence.

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There has been evidence of algae blooms in rivers and lakes caused by surface run-off during rainy seasons where industrial and farming chemicals are deposited in the rivers. Hill elaborates on how these run-offs result in the depletion of oxygen in the water leading to death of aquatic life. Chinese residents did try to curb this by pumping oxygen mechanically in water but the ultimate responsibility rests on the government to regulate the use of toxic industrial chemicals in these sectors. China aimed at cutting down on water effluence by ten percent from 2008 to 2010. It also attempted to clean Huai basin in Anhui Province in the 80s and 90s but those efforts foundered; $8 million dollars was spent on the project. It is clear currently that China must invest in river protection.

“China says water pollution double official figure,” (Reuters 2010). According to this report China had grossly underestimated the levels of corruption posted in 2007. Apparently, the government estimation did not factor in the waste from agricultural activities, “A study by China’s Environmental Protection Agency in February 2010 said that water pollution levels were double what the government predicted them to be mainly because agricultural waste was ignored” (Reuters, 2010). This unmasked the truth of the matter in China; the extent of China’s environmental predicaments could be much worse! This also questioned whether the Chinese government is cognizant of its predicament and what measures it must take to reduce negative effects. Earlier in 2007, government reported it had reduced COD by 30 percent to 13.3metric tons. The article reports of extremely alarming statistics of water pollution which need quick action before things get out of manageable brackets. Coupled with both industrial and domestic emissions, the COD rose by 5 percent around the original one in 2007 (Reuter, 2010).

China faces dual predicament of water pollution and scarcity. Its vast population is faced with severe water problem which is extreme in heavily populated cities. There are also cases of inadequately treated municipal waters which is unhygienic for human drinking. China therefore is forced to harvest or extract impure water especially in Yantai, Qingdao and Behai. China must supplement its water resources; straighten out any sluggishness in municipal facilities, equip sewerage firms with resources to treat toxic waste and properly channel the drainage system and enact laws to combat irresponsible industrial behaviors. In the country, most of the rivers have grade IV and grade V of pollution; these rivers are toxic and extremely unhealthy for human and living things use. It is the government’s responsibility to clean the rivers and avert possible ecological disasters.


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