News

    China's 'Mother River' Irreversibly Damaged

    Daniel Schearf

    A report on China's Yangtze River, the longest in China, says human activity has caused irreversible damage and severe pollution to the river and its tributaries, threatening water supplies to millions. The report says the water quality is getting worse and more needs to done to protect China's "mother river." Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.

    The report by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, the Yangtze River Water Resources Commission and the World Wildlife Fund says billions of tons of wastewater and sewage from factories and homes are dumped into the river every year.

    The pollution and damming on the river to generate electricity have killed off aquatic life, prevented fish migration, and driven a rare species of freshwater dolphin to the brink of extinction.

    The official Xinhua news agency says the damage on the Yangtze water ecology is now "largely irreversible."

    Li Lifeng is the head of the China freshwater program at the World Wildlife Fund and an editor of the report. He says 20 billion tons of wastewater is dumped into the Yangtze annually and that the country must stop over-exploiting the river for economic gain.

    "We need to balance the conservation and development and ensure we will not repeat the industrialization path that's happening in the western countries, which is first pollute it, then clean up," said Li.

    Li commends Hunan province for shutting down more than 100 small but highly polluting paper mills along the river earlier this year. But he says much tighter pollution control is needed to make any real difference.

    The report says more than 600 kilometers of the Yangtze, about 10 percent, are in "critical condition" and 30 percent of its major tributaries are seriously polluted.

    As a result, the freshwater white-flag dolphin, which once swam in the Yangtze, may be close to extinction, as scientists have not been able to find any trace of them. And the annual harvest of fish and other river products has plunged to about 100,000 tons now, from 427,000 tons in the 1950s.

    Xinhua news agency said Wednesday more than 100,000 farm-raised Chinese sturgeon would be released into the Yangtze on Sunday to try to make up for the loss.

    The Yangtze, called Changjiang, or "Long River" in Chinese, accounts for 35 percent of the country's fresh water supply and runs from China's western Tibetan Plateau to the East China Sea, passing through several major cities along the way.

    The river's problems are symptomatic of China's water woes. The government has acknowledged that most waterways are severely polluted and overused, and many communities suffer water shortages.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territoryi
    X
    June 24, 2016 9:38 PM
    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Brexit Vote Plunges Global Markets Into Unchartered Territory

    British voters plunged global markets into unknown territory after they voted Thursday to leave the European Union. The results of the Brexit vote, the term coined to describe the referendum, caught many off guard. Analysts say the resulting volatility could last for weeks, perhaps longer. Mil Arcega reports.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Experts: Very Few Killed in US Gun Violence Are Victims of Mass Shootings

    The deadly shooting at a Florida nightclub has reignited the debate in the U.S. over gun control. Although Congress doesn't provide government health agencies funds to study gun violence, public health experts say private research has helped them learn some things about the issue. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
    Video

    Video Trump Unleashes Broadside Against Clinton to Try to Ease GOP Doubts

    Recent public opinion polls show Republican Donald Trump slipping behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election matchup for November. Trump trails her both in fundraising and campaign organization, but he's intensifying his attacks on the former secretary of state. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.
    Video

    Video Internal Rifts Over Syria Policy Could Be Headache for Next US President

    With the Obama administration showing little outward enthusiasm for adopting a more robust Syria policy, there is a strong likelihood that the internal discontent expressed by State Department employees will roll over to the next administration. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports.
    Video

    Video Senegal to Park Colorful ‘Cars Rapide’ Permanently

    Brightly painted cars rapide are a hallmark of Dakar, offering residents a cheap way to get around the capital city since 1976. But the privately owned minibuses are scheduled to be parked for good in late 2018, as Ricci Shryock reports for VOA.
    Video

    Video Florida Gets $1 Million in Emergency Government Funding for Orlando

    The U.S. government has granted $1 million in emergency funding to the state of Florida to cover the costs linked to the June 12 massacre in Orlando. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced the grant Tuesday in Orlando, where she met with survivors of the shooting attack that killed 49 people. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video How to Print Impossible Shapes with Metal

    3-D printing with metals is rapidly becoming more advanced. As printers become more affordable, the industry is partnering with universities to refine processes for manufacturing previously impossible things. A new 3-D printing lab aims to bring the new technology closer to everyday use. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Big Somali Community in Minnesota Observes Muslim Religious Feast

    Ramadan is widely observed in the north central US state of Minnesota, which a large Muslim community calls home. VOA Somali service reporter Mohmud Masadde files this report from Minneapolis, the state's biggest city.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora