Water pollution in China is a serious problem. It threatens the health and well being of humans, plants, and animals and it is one of most common types of pollution. This paper will outline the negative affects of water pollution in Lake Tai that is caused by industries in China and the effects that it has on surrounding communities. The Chinese government is aware of the pollution problem in its country; however China has pursued economic growth any cost, growth is too fast for the government to make any significant changes. New factories are accelerating the pollution process and degrading not only water but air and land. Lake Tai is the country’s third largest freshwater body and has contributed in providing the people in the surrounding communities with both its wealth and their conception of natural beauty. The lake has nurtured many fresh water fish but three different types of fish that has been very popular with local fishermen for wealth (“three whites” describe by local fishermen) white shrimp, whitebait and whitefish, but also freshwater crustacean. Natural and man-made streams irrigated rice paddies, and a network of canals transported that produce far and wide. Along the lake’s northern reaches, near the city of Wuxi, placid waters and misty hills captured the imagination of Chinese for hundreds of years. The wealthy built gardens that featured the lakes wrinkled, water-scarred limestone rocks set in groves of bamboo and chrysanthemum. But all that beautiful landscapes, natural water flow, and fishes were all troubled starting in the 1950s by authorities which constructed dams and weirs to improve irrigation and control floods, disrupting the cleansing circulation of fresh water. Lake Tai made an ideal habitat for China’s chemical industry, which expanded prolifically in the 1980s. Chemical factories consume and discharge large quantities of water, which the lake provided. Its canals made it easy to ship goods to the big industrial port city of Shanghai, downstream. With strong local government support, the northern arc of Lake Tai became home to 2,800 chemical plants, most of them small cinder-block factories that took over rice paddies beside canals. Chemical plants has turned the once beautiful lake into a toxic cyanobacteria commonly know as “pond scum” due to its hazardous dumping which has contributed to the problem of water pollution. So how much waste has been dumped into this 869 sq mi lake? One billion tons of wastewater, 450,000 tons of garbage and 880,000 tons of animal waste were dumped in the shallow lake in 1993 alone. At least two million people who live around the canals, rice paddies and chemical plants around the lake had to stop drinking or cooking with their main source of water. This fresh water lake was so bad that it was harmful to human skin, if people wanted to take a swim. How can so many people living in this area have nothing to say or do anything to help? Despite all the hazardous chemical plants that have blossomed it has created many jobs to the local people, the industries transformed the economy. By the mid-1990s, taxes on chemical industry profits accounted for four-fifths of local government revenue. Big businesses that have ties with government officials were untouchable and have continued till today with its ability’s to produce growth and as well as polluting the lake.
As China becomes more industrial pollution has reached epidemic high in China, Its Communist status treats its own environmentalists as bigger threats than degrading of water, air and land. One environmental activist who as witnessed first hand the beauty of Lake Tai to what is now withered is Wu Lihung. Wu lived and grow up by the lake, benefited from its rich fresh water and fishes as well as the one of 300 industries that has been built in his hometown. In the mid-90s Mr. Wu a self-made environmentalist began a campaign to name and shame polluting factories in Zhoutie. He collected water samples in plastic bottles, snapping photos of factories dumping untreated effluent into canals wrote letters to high-ranking environmental officials and invited television reporters to film how factories secretly discharged their wastewater at night. He was ignored, between 1998 and 2006, the environmental protection agency of Jiangsu Province recorded receiving 200 reports of pollution incidents and regulatory violations from Mr. Wu. In 2007, as he was preparing a lawsuit against the environmental bureau, Mr. Wu was arrested and charged with trying to blackmail a company in exchange for withholding accusations of wrongdoing. During his interrogation, Mr. Wu said, he was whipped with willow branches, burned with cigarettes and kept in solitary confinement with little to eat. This here shows the power that the government has on its people. The government seeks wealth with any means necessary, a system in which we have thrived on as well. I don’t believe that it is the same to blame both the industries as well as the government equally but it is a matter of how each of them have created a system that only benefits the people on top which happens to be the problem. Reference:
My choice of article: In China, a Lake’s Champion Imperils Himself , New York Times.
1. Khan Joseph, 2007. In China, a Lake’s Champion Imperils Himself , New York Times. 2. http://www.china-family-adventure.com/pollution-in-china.html#.VI1MzYcyu0s 3. Ma, Jun (2004). China's Water Crisis. pp. 163–164.
4. “Lake Tia” Wikipedia.org,