Huge Oil Spill Spreads in East China Sea, Stirring Environmental Fears

Gerry Mullany
New York Times
Greenpeace said the disaster occurred in “an important spawning ground” for fish.

China's Pollution Crackdown Is Gaining Momentum

Bloomberg News
Bloomberg
That political will overlaps with an economic need to rein in surplus production of steel, aluminum and other basic materials after years of over-investment. How and when that capacity gets replaced will be a key factor in the economy’s performance...

China’s Huge Dam Projects Will Threaten Southeast Asia as Water Scarcity Builds Downstream

Daniel Rechtschaffen
Forbes
A river is born high in the Tibetan Plateau, before snaking its way 3,000 miles south and emptying itself into the South China Sea.

Environment

03.14.17

Source of Mekong, Yellow, and Yangtze Rivers Drying Up

from chinadialogue
In 2015, the Chinese government announced plans to set up a new nature reserve in the Sanjiangyuan (“three river source”) region of the Qinghai-Tibet plateau. This area is a key source of fresh water for Asia and is known for the rich biodiversity...

Smog May be Easing, but in Parts of China Water Quality Worsens

David Stanway and Sue-Lin Wong
Reuters
Despite commitments to crack down on polluters, the quality of water in China's rivers, lakes and reservoirs in several regions has deteriorated significantly...

Environment

10.25.16

China is Demanding Cleaner Shipping—So Should the Rest of the World

Barbara A. Finamore from chinadialogue
Last year, in response to growing awareness of severe air pollution problems in China’s coastal cities, the Chinese government adopted a ground-breaking program to cut pollution from ships. At its core is a commitment to reduce the sulfur content of...

Features

09.15.16

China’s Teflon Toxin Problem

Sharon Lerner from Intercept
Since the late 1970s, the chemical industry has been at the heart of China’s dazzling growth. And as regulations increase around the world, many toxic chemicals wind up coming to China just to die a slow death. Teflon—the slippery substance used in...

China to Pillory, or Praise, Cities Based on Water Pollution

Edward Wong
New York Times
Water and soil pollution have received less attention than foul air but are just as hazardous, if not more so.

A ‘Black and Smelly’ Job: The Search for China’s Most Polluted Rivers

Tom Phillips
Guardian
China gives anyone with a smartphone a chance to orchestrate a much needed clean-up....

Environment

05.19.16

Clear as Mud: How Poor Data is Thwarting Water Clean-Up

from chinadialogue
China’s central and local governments have barely made a start in trying to clean up the country’s heavily polluted water, despite fast-approaching deadlines for improvements and the launch of a comprehensive “ten point plan” over a year ago.Behind...

China Says 80% of Tested Wells Had Water Too Polluted to Drink

Chris Buckley and Vanessa Piao
New York Times
The numbers upset people who have become increasingly sensitive about health threats from pollution.

Green Space

01.27.16

Kunming’s Stinky Lake, Beijing’s Saving Winds

Michael Zhao
Lake Dian in Kunming, the capital of southwest China’s Yunnan province, suffered greatly when, in the 1950s, Chairman Mao Zedong called on the Chinese people to “conquer nature” and reclaim land by filling lakes with soil.Nowadays, Dianchi, as it’s...

Environment

10.22.15

China's Boom Has Hurt Wetlands, Threatens Extinction of Rare Birds

from chinadialogue
The destruction of China’s wetlands, which are critical stopping points for birds migrating as far away as the Arctic or the South Pacific, threatens mass extinctions of species across East Asia, new research has found.Besides providing shelter and...

Environment

09.03.15

The Yellow River: A History of China’s Water Crisis

from chinadialogue
During the hot, dry month of August 1992, the farmers of Baishan village in Hebei province and Panyang village in Henan came to blows. Residents from each village hurled insults and rudimentary explosives at the other across the Zhang River—the...

Environment

04.24.15

Fracking May be Needed in China to Wean it Off Coal

from chinadialogue
Fracking of China’s huge shale gas reserves will only have a modest impact on the environment if anti-pollution controls—many of them new—are enforced rigorously, says a new report from the U.K.-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI).The ODI...

Reports

04.01.15

Can Fracking Green China’s Growth?

Ilmi Granoff, Sam Pickard, Julian Doczi, Roger Calow, Zhenbo Hou, & Vanessa D’Alançon
Overseas Development Institute
This paper analyses the best available technical, scientific, and engineering literature on the risks and opportunities posed by shale gas, and also what policy environment could maximise the opportunity and minimise the risk. It also analyses China...

China’s Real Inconvenient Truth: Its Class Divide

Rachel Lu
Foreign Policy
Solving China's air and water pollution will require addressing the gap between rich urbanites and rural peasants...

Despite Persecution, Guardian of Lake Tai Spotlights China’s Polluters

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
ZHOUTIE, China — By autumn, the stench of Lake Tai and the freakish green glow of its waters usually fade with the ebbing of the summer heat, but this year is different. Standing on a concrete embankment overlooking a fetid, floating array of...

Caixin Media

11.24.14

At Factory Waste Ponds, Fumes Choke Fantasies

Deep in the Tengger Desert, near a community of cattle herders about 700 kilometers west of Beijing, pipes from a complex of coal processing and chemical factories once spewed slimy wastewater into six ponds.The "evaporation ponds" were...

Environment

07.17.14

The Legacy of Hunan’s Polluted Soils

from chinadialogue
This is the second of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360 with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts one and three.Cao Fushe spent much of 2013...

Environment

07.17.14

China Faces Long Battle to Clean Polluted Soil

from chinadialogue
This is the third of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360 with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts one and two.Luo Jinzhi is 52 and lives in...

Environment

07.03.14

The Victims of China’s Soil Pollution Crisis

from chinadialogue
This is the first of a special three-part series of investigations jointly run by chinadialogue and Yale Environment 360, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. You can also read parts two and three.When Zhang Junwei’s uncle died...

Video

05.28.14

Staying Afloat

Lynn Zhang & Shirley Han Ying
In “Staying Afloat: Life on a Disappearing Lake,” Chinese filmmakers Lynn Zhang and Shirley Han Ying train their camera on the people who have been both perpetrators and victims of Lake Baiyangdian’s decline in water supply. They show us not just...

Environment

02.19.14

Water Pollution: More Difficult to Fix Than Dirty Air?

from chinadialogue
Although China’s air pollution keeps making headlines, its water pollution is just as urgent a problem. One-fifth of the country’s rivers are toxic, while two-fifths are classified as seriously polluted. In 2012, more than half of China’s cities had...

If You Think China’s Air Is Bad...

Damien Ma and William Adams
New York Times
China’s more than 4,700 underground water-quality testing stations show that nearly three-fifths of all water supplies are “relatively bad” or worse. Roughly half of rural residents lack access to drinking water that meets international standards...

Caixin Media

10.15.13

Sip of Death Plagues River Villages

Cancer is claiming fewer lives these days, and Dr. Wang Shiren says he’s been caring for a steadily declining number of patients suffering from gastrointestinal disorders.Yet a decades-long health calamity continues to grip Huangmengying, a Henan...

Environment

08.07.13

China’s Abandoned Steel Mills Are a Threat to Public Health

from chinadialogue
China’s steel industry has been in trouble since 2011, with numerous bankruptcies nationwide. The city of Tangshan in Hebei province has been no exception. Though the city is Hebei’s biggest steel maker, with its 70 million tons of annual production...

Environment

07.24.13

Government-Backed NGO Under Pressure to Act Against China’s Largest Coal Miner

from chinadialogue
The All-China Environmental Federation (ACEF), a government-backed NGO, is being urged to take legal action against the Shenhua group, one of China’s largest energy companies and also a member of the ACEF.A subsidiary of the Shenhua group in Inner...

Chinese Coal Company Releasing Toxic Wastewater, Greenpeace Says

Reuters
The report, the first by Greenpeace to single out and publicly challenge one of China’s powerful state-owned companies, comes as the country’s new leadership steps up its focus on pollution amid growing protests over environmental...

Reports

07.23.13

Thirsty Coal 2: Shenhua’s Water Grab

Greenpeace
This investigation report is a follow-up to the 2012 Greenpeace and the China Academy of Sciences joint study: “Thirsty Coal: A Water Crisis Exacerbated By China’s New Mega Coal Bases.” In this report, we focus on the most controversial part of...

China Mine Runoff Pollutes Water for 30,000, China Daily Says

Bloomberg
Officials in southern China shut 112 illegal mines after polluted runoff entered the local water supply, killing fish and making the water unusable for about 30,000 people, China Daily newspaper said.

Books

05.02.13

China and the Environment

Sam Geall
Sixteen of the world’s twenty most polluted cities are in China. A serious water pollution incident occurs once every two-to-three days. China’s breakneck growth causes great concern about its global environmental impacts, as others look to China as a source for possible future solutions to climate change. But how are Chinese people really coming to grips with environmental problems? This book provides access to otherwise unknown stories of environmental activism and forms the first real-life account of China and its environmental tensions. China and the Environment provides a unique report on the experiences of participatory politics that have emerged in response to environmental problems, rather than focusing only on macro-level ecological issues and their elite responses. Featuring previously untranslated short interviews, extracts from reports and other translated primary documents, the authors argue that going green in China isn’t just about carbon targets and energy policy; China’s grassroots green defenders are helping to change the country for the better. —Zed Books

Media

03.12.13

Pig Carcasses in Shanghai River Spawn Dark Humor on Chinese Internet

The Huangpu River usually appears in glamor shots of Shanghai, serving as scenic backdrop to the colonial splendor of the Bund or the modern marvel of the Pudong skyline. But of late, a more grim and distasteful association has emerged. As of March...

Thousands Of Dead Pigs Found In River Flowing Into Shanghai

Edward Wong
New York Times
More than 3,300 dead pigs have been found in a major river that flows through Shanghai, igniting fears among city residents of contaminated tap water, according to official reports in March 2013. 

Environment

03.06.13

Environmentalists Unconvinced by Wen Jiabao’s Green Words

from chinadialogue
China’s outgoing premier Wen Jiabao vowed that the government would solve the country’s ever-worsening pollution in his final work report yesterday as he opened the annual session of parliament.But coming amid rising public concern about China’s air...

Apple Supplier Faces Sanctions in China

Sarah Mishkin, Patti Waldmeir, Kathrin...
Financial Times
A manufacturer that produces Apple iPad casings faces sanctions from the Shanghai government after discharging waste that turned a local river milky white, killing fish and leaving water unfit for crop cultivation.

What Do We Make Of The Chinese Hacking?

James Fallows
Atlantic
Is this recent hacking really something new? Or merely our "threat inflation,"* cued both to the impending sequestration menace and February 2013 SOTU mentions of new efforts in cyber-security?...

Environment

01.08.13

Officials Failing to Stop Textile Factories Dumping Waste in Qiantong River

from chinadialogue
The Qiantang River is the most important river in China’s eastern Zhejiang province, one of the country’s most developed regions. On its banks, textiles plants work to supply fashion labels around the world. But they are polluting the environment in...

Environment

10.09.12

Top Clothing Brands Linked to Water Pollution Scandal in China

from chinadialogue
China is the major hub of the international textile industry, exporting US$200 billion worth of textile and apparel products in 2010—accounting for 34 percent of global exports.It’s provided cheap T-shirts and other clothes to people around the...

Environmental Activism Gains a Foothold in China

Harold Thibault
Guardian
The demonstrators gathered at dawn in Qidong, a small coastal town north of Shanghai. By noon, the local government headquarters were occupied and files were being thrown out of the windows. In the heat of the moment the party secretary's shirt...

Raw Sewage Dumped in China’s Pearl River Delta, Daily Says

Nicholas Wadhams
Bloomberg
The report said that 30 percent of rivers in eastern Guangdong are polluted, threatening the health of people who live along their banks. Guangdong, with a population of 104 million people, has China’s largest economy and is one of the world’s...

Environment

06.07.12

What’s Coming Out of China’s Taps

from chinadialogue
China’s urbanites use a lot of water. Every day, more than 4,000 water-treatment plants supply 60 million tons of water to 400 million people living in Chinese cities. Despite the impressive figures, the water industry is grappling with widespread...

Caixin Media

05.09.12

Along the Xiang, It’s Toxic from the Tap

Water flowing from the Xiang River into the faucets of Hunan Province homes has been dangerous for decades. The central government first classified the river’s water as toxic in the 1980s. But the river was being called the most polluted in China as...

Caixin Media

04.25.12

Watery Grave for Yangtze River Fish

(Beijing)—Fishermen along the banks of the mighty Yangtze River have long spoken of emptier nets and longer waits for a catch.On April 2, an unusual auction held in a downstream city in Jiangsu Province added weight to their bleak reports: A single...

Choking on Growth

Joseph Kahn
New York Times
A series of articles and multimedia examining China’s pollution crisis.