To start off, at least the Chinese government actually released the study. At least they didn’t hide it as a “state secret.”
Only 22,909 rivers covering an area of 100sq km were located by surveyors, compared with the more than 50,000 in the 1990s, a three-year study by the Ministry of Water Resources and the National Bureau of Statistics found.
But when the government tried to explain WHY the country is missing about half of its rivers, the response was more typical Beijing:
- Global warming and
- Mistakes from past surveys
In other words: It’s not our fault!
Unfortunately, too many experts in the field say it is very much the fault of Beijing and its desire to industrialize everywhere.
The projects include massive damming programs to provide power as well as large-scale industrial development that sucked the rivers almost dry and then spit out highly toxic waste, leaving most of the existing rivers so polluted that people cannot eat the fish from the rivers nor swim in the rivers.
The social media in China has started commenting:
“The rivers I used to play around have disappeared; the only ones left are polluted, we can’t eat the fish in them, they are all bitter,” a person using the name Pippi Shuanger wrote on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter.
Full story: 28,000 rivers wiped off the map of China
Now, the water pollution news out if China is important to Americans and Europeans. A major country cannot just misplace half of its rivers (and allow the other half to become highly toxic) without the rest of the world feeling the impact.
That impact could be as simple as the possible starvation of hundreds of millions of Chinese because they have no water for farming or the water used is so infused with heavy metals or other toxins that the food produced is poisonous. It is bad enough if the toxin-laden food is only eaten in China, but China also exports food products for humans and animals around the world.
The impact could also include the problem of global warming. If the Chinese government wants to blame climate change on the disappearance of the rivers, then they need to look at their own policies that add more CO2 and toxins to the air, ground and water than any other single country. They need to look at implementing serious pollution control measures. (And if they do, then maybe the climate change deniers in the USA might finally be willing to catch up with reality and accept improvements in the US pollution-control efforts.)