Thursday, October 18, 2007

EU to help pay to clean up Chinese rivers

It is always good news when we see cross country cooperation to help clean up the environment.

However, there is always something slightly odd about the EU helping pay to clean up China's polluted rivers when at the same time China is sitting on a huge pile of foreign reserves that it is ploughing into US paper at a time when the US dollar is falling rapidly against the rest of the worlds currencies.

On the other hand China is still a developing (albeit rapidly) country that could benefit from European expertise in this area.

Finally, I can't help but be rather sceptical about the concept of paying local people to plant trees. Ensuring the money is spent correctly will not be easy. Likewise, ensuring there is not someone else cutting them down again will be time consuming.

Unfortunately the PlanetArk article does not breakdown the contribution from China and the EU.

China, EU in Campaign to Clean Up China's Rivers

BEIJING - China and the European Union have launched a 175 million euro (US$248 million) campaign to clean up the country's two largest river basins as Beijing struggles to cope with the environmental consequences of rapid growth.

The five-year programme to clean up the Yangtze and Yellow river basins will work out policies on pollution control and promote public awareness about reducing industrial pollution and waste discharge, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The project will also pay people living in China's southwestern provinces to plant trees in an effort to improve the ecology along the Yangtze.

The Yangtze basin is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, due to decades of heavy industrialisation, damming and influxes of sediment.

A stretch of the Yellow River became so polluted it turned red from contamination last year and nearly a third of all fish species in it have become extinct.

The problem of water shortages in China has also been compounded by pollution, with billions of tonnes of untreated waste water pumped directly into lakes and rivers.


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