Buy stock in bottled water

November 23, 2005

The city of Harbin has had their water supply cut off.  The river that provides most of the city’s water, is feared to be so polluted with either benzene or aniline from a factory upriver that it is unsafe for the residents to use in any capacity.  Depending on the concentration, these chemicals can smack you into a coma.  Residents are running around buying up bottled water like their life depended on it…which it does, actually. 

Before we get any moonbats starting up chants on the evils of American corporations and the like, I’d like to point out that Harbin is in China.  And the factory is government-owned

Harbin’s experience is resonating through China, as it comes after a senior official, the Deputy Construction Minister, Qiu Baoxing, warned that 100 of the country’s 660 cities could soon run out of water because of wasteful consumption and pollution, as well as degradation of the headwaters of rivers. Other officials say 70 per cent of the water in China’s rivers is too polluted to drink.

Zhang Lijun, vice-minister of the main environmental agency, recently said China’s already serious pollution levels could increase "four to five times" over the next 15 years based on current economic growth patterns.

Chinese factories are amazingly (by US standards) unregulated and face even less incentive to clean up their toxic dumping than corporations do in the U.S.  Pollution in China overall is less than the U.S., but catching up all the time, and they only have a ratio of about 1 car to every 100 people, compared to our ratio of 1 car to every 1.3 people.  That isn’t anything to boast about.  It is, however, frightening to consider. Based on Lijun’s statement above, I believe a graph showing the pollution growth rate of China is going to show an exponential function as China’s industries and cities come bursting into the 21st century. 

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