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Water Ways

The differences between China and the US are quite interesting when you look at the quality of the water supply. In Duluth, MN we are extremely fortunate to be living on Lake Superior, the freshest of the Great Lakes. In China, the water is brown as far as the eye can see. I understand that China is on a mission to be a developed country, but it is taking great risks for the people and environment. According to an article in the Herald Tribune, over 70 percent of the lakes and rivers are polluted. The article mentions that as of 2005, “up to 40 percent of the population live on supplies that are less than half of internationally recognized danger levels.? Water is such an important aspect of life that it is disgusting to imagine the conditions that the Chinese have had to live with throughout the years.

In Tianjin, we saw people swimming and fishing in the Haihe River. I can only imagine what the fish would look like when they came out of the water, I imagined that it would have gnarly teeth, rugged scales and an extra fin or tail. What really blew me away was that there were actually men swimming in this polluted water. I was reading some articles about the water pollution issue of the Haihe River, which means “Mother River,? and read that the river as of 2005 was one of the three most polluted waterways in China. Tianjin has taken action over the past few years to remove silt from the river by dredging. In Souzou, near Shanghai, on our “Chinese Venice? gondola tours we also witnessed black pools infiltrating the river and the smell was indescribable. There were men fishing, gathering water and some residents may also use the water for washing clothes.
The implications for China’s polluted waterways are dangerous. In populated cities such as Beijing and Tianjin, there are major concerns of water shortages, The Chinese people depend on the agriculture to feed the massive population and with water table levels decreasing (in volume) and pollution levels being high, many people will suffer the consequences of higher prices and lower quality food for their families.

I am thankful to live in the United States where although there are polluted waterways, at least there are clean drinking water standards. Major companies that are dumping their waste into waterways need to understand the implications behind polluting the waterways their company is dumping waste into. The major CEO’s should have to live in the city or town where the pollution is happening to understand the impacts of their decisions. I think I will go have a cold glass of bing shue (water).