Taihu lake pollution: Net frenzy and government response

Florescent algae and dead fish
On May 30, someone using the Net name Thin Cute Girl (Xiao Xiniang - 筱细娘) posted a series of photos of the waters of Taihu Lake (more properly Tai Lake - 太湖) at Wuxi in Jiangsu Province - one of which is reproduced here. The photos were accompanied by a short explanation: the author is a student in Wuxi who felt the "terrible" (可怕) effects of pollution as the sulphurous slime stank up the town for two days.

Today there are already eight pages of comments, and the photos have been widely circulated on blogs and other BBS on the Chinese Internet.

The original post added a summary of online reactions:

These are suggestions from netizens who are concerned about the Wuxi water pollution issue:

- Algae has infested Taihu Lake, Wuxi's water supply is polluted. 

- What's happened to my home? ... Wuxi's drinking water is polluted. 

- Who stank up the lives of Wuxi's citizens?

Newer comments left on the original post run the gamut from outrage to frivolous:
- We must absolutely avoid the corrupt capitalist early developer countries' old road of developing first, cleaning up later.
- Let's just make a big fuss and have fun!
- This is bullshit! This is just the price of development!

Perfectly drinkable old chap!
The government has been responding. The photo to the left was published on Taihu Pearl website, and shows 'city leaders' drinking water from Wuxi's faucets, proving that it is safe.

The same website today published a photo of a gushing hydrant accompanied by a short article explaining that the city was flushing all the polluted water out of the system.

Xinhua also published a report titled Diversion of Yangtze river to tackle Wuxi water crisis. Excerpt:

China has stepped up the diversion of the Yangtze River to dilute water polluted by blue-green algae in a lake that provides drinking water for millions of people in the eastern Chinese city of Wuxi, Jiangsu Province.
Jiangsu Province is a hotbed of commerce and industry, and the land surrounding Taihu Lake is highly industrialized. Pollution of the lake has long been a problem, and the government is well aware of it. Linked below is an article from September 2001 titled 'Chinese Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao Tuesday called for effective measures to further curb the water pollution in Taihu Lake'.

Update: The Standard has an AFP story about the lake: Polluted lake spurs race for water.

Update 2: Found via Virtual China, this is an English language video about the pollution problem, which also mentions the Xiamen PX chemical factory.

Links and Sources

Note: The original Chinese of the comments translated above is below:

- 我们决不能走腐朽的资本主义国家先发展后治理的老路
- 热闹就好
- 都他妈的废话!!!!!!!! 这就叫发展的代价!!

There are currently 2 Comments for Taihu lake pollution: Net frenzy and government response.

Comments on Taihu lake pollution: Net frenzy and government response


I was in Wuxi last year. Loved it. I planned on buying a boat and live on Taihu.

This is bullshit. They better clean up their acts man. The price for development is too steep.

Harmonious society my butt!

Having a harmonious society versus a polluted society are orthogonal...

Considering how dirty the Yangtze, diverting it to dilute Taihu is a marginal solution at best. Taihu will also get a lot of silt from the Yangtze with due to the reduction in Yangtze water flowing in the the sea, saltwater intrusion into the Yangtze delta may occur.

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