Yangtze river in China polluted

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Yangtze River, the third longest river in the world, is polluted. It supplies water to 186 cities. The river takes 40% of China’s waste, 80% of which is untreated. It is the only source of drinking water to Shanghai, a city with 20 million people.

“Many officials think the pollution is nothing for the Yangtze, but the pollution is actually very serious,” said Yuan Aiguo, a professor with the China University of Geosciences.

In China 300 million people do not have access to drinkable water. Clean up campaigns have made limited progress because of inconsistent law enforcement.

The Yangtze is part of a plan to move 45 billion litres of water by 2050 to the north via canals. Environmentalists fear the water may not be safe to drink.

The pollution has caused a fall in the biodiversity of the Yangtze. Animal species have fallen from 126 in the mid 80s to 52 in 2002.