Three Gorges Probe

China’s longest river ‘cancerous’ with pollution

November 19, 1999

Beijing: China’s longest river is “cancerous” with pollution and rapidly dying, threatening drinking water supplies in 186 cities along its banks, state media said on Tuesday. Chinese environmental experts fear worsening pollution could kill the Yangtze river within five years, Xinhua news agency said, calling for an urgent clean-up. “Many officials think the pollution is nothing for the Yangtze,” Xinhua quoted Yuan Aiguo, a professor with the China University of Geosciences, as saying. “But the pollution is actually very serious,” it added, warning that experts considered it “cancerous”.” … Despite immediate concerns for the cities along its banks, the Yangtze, along with the Yellow river, is earmarked for China’s ambitious South-North water diversion scheme — a plan to pump water from southern waterways to the parched north. But environmentalists fear that unless local governments and industries start getting serious about cutting pollution, most of the water shipped north will not be fit to drink. … Read the full story.

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