Due to a lack of carcasses in Chinese rivers recently, Chinese officials proudly announced yesterday that authorities working along the Fuhe River in the Hubei Province had successfully removed more than 100,000 kilograms of dead fish from a roughly 40 kilometer stretch of water in the past day or so.
OK, so maybe the REAL and ACTUAL announcement came with a lot less enthusiasm and joy…
All kidding aside,
- The waters of the Fuhe River in this area turned an eerie silver color due to all the deceased fish floating to the surface.
- Chinese officials believe they have traced the problem back to a chemical manufacturing facility in Yingcheng located outside the city of Wuhan.
- Authorities took water samples from a discharge pipe from the Yingcheng facility and determined that they contained ammonia concentrations in excess of 190 milligrams per liter… when ‘natural’ ammonia concentrations in the environment usually measure around 0.2 milligrams per liter (with some naturally occurring concentrations reaching a little over 10 milligrams per liter) according to the World Health Organization.
- The company responsible for operating the plant received orders from the Government to suspend all operations until the cause of this pollution — and probably several other environmental nightmares not, yet made public — get corrected.
- This massive killing off of fish as a result of environmental pollution comes on the heels of 1,000’s of pig carcasses floating down a different river in China earlier this year.
- In a related news story, China has some SERIOUS pollution issues that it needs to deal with… and needs to deal with QUICKLY. It’s large population and recent (practically unbridled) economic growth (aka: economic explosion) over the past few years (seem to) have greatly outpaced the country’s ability to manage industrial waste streams and protect the environment.
Now before some of you think we have jumped on the ‘pick on China bandwagon’ that has circled around once more, please try to remember that practically NO modern, industrialized country on this planet made the transition from mostly agricultural to highly industrialized without sever growing pains — and instances of mass pollution.
Oh, and as for all the recent allegations of bribes going to Chinese officials if they would turn a blind eye to the illegal dumping of chemicals and waste products into the environment, well, please highlight an example of a fast-growing nation streaming towards mass industrialization that did or does not have that same problem.
No, we do NOT condone the blatant disregard for environmental standards that we have witnessed in China recently and NO we do not intend to DEFEND China’s history of telling the rest of the world to go scratch while it exploits and pollutes its natural resources in spite of the rest of the world’s pleas for China to show moderation in the way it utilizes those resources.
And in the end…
We DO hope that the world will take note of this tragic loss of aquatic life in the Fuhe River and press China to enact (and enforce!) stricter environmental regulations while holding past offenders responsible for the many environmental messes they’ve created by coercing them to clean up those messes.
You may read more on the horrific Fuhe River environmental debacle here.