The dangerous threat to the lives of China's three most treasured rivers
China's rivers have long been a source of inspiration for Chinese culture, and over several millennia have laid testament to the countless changes that have shaped China. However, China's rivers are now under the threat of industrial water pollution. At present, more than 300 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, and one out of every four people in China is subject to unclean drinking water.
Not enough clean water for everyone
Even though China has the world's sixth largest resource of water, China ranks among the top twenty countries which suffers from insufficient water supply. 25% of China's seven largest river systems, which include the Yangtze River, the Yellow River, and the Pearl River, fails to provide water which is suitable for irrigation and is considered highly polluted. In addition, 30% of the China's rivers and 25% of her coastal areas are considered highly polluted
If one were to take all of China's clean water supply and share it evenly with the population, the amount each person would get would be miniscule.
Industry: The main culprits for water pollution
The main source of China's water pollution comes from industrial wastewater discharged by factories. Not only is this amount of discharged waste enormous, affecting vast areas, but also because of the wastewater's complex composition and its high toxicity, cleaning and disposing of it properly is very difficult. In 2007, factories in China discharged 24.7 billion tons of wastewater, about 50% of China's entire polluted water volume.
The industrial water pollution problem not only results in economic damage, but also directly threatens the safety of China's precious drinking water supply. According to a study done by the World Health Organization, 80% of the world's diseases are due to factors related to polluted water. Of the 300 million rural villagers who already lack sufficient water for their daily lives, more than 90 million of them do not have access to clean drinking water as a result of water pollution.
China's wish for clean water
As nation that is home to a fifth of the world's population, China's economy has grown at a breathtaking pace. However, out of every four people in China, one is using polluted water for consumption. China's people deserve a better deal, and everyone should have access to clean and safe drinking water.
Greenpeace is dedicated to helping solve China's water pollution crisis, because only stronger environmental protection in China will have a greater global impact on the world's environment. Since 1997, when it set up its first China office in Hong Kong, Greenpeace has, with the help of its generous supporters, spearheaded various campaigns and initiatives to educate the public and to influence government, judicial and commercial reform, towards forging the sustainable economic development of China, and to give her rivers some hope for the future.
To fulfill China's wish for clean drinking water, and to address the increasing threat of water pollution, Greenpeace needs your support.
With only a HK$3 donation a day, you can help us with our scientific and policy research towards solving this pressing environmental crisis.