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The political economy of development
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Background Material
BEIJING WANBAO (Beijing Evening News)

1. The ranking of China's main natural resources among 144 countries.

Ranking of Per-Capita Possesion
Freshwater coverage
Land area
Cultivated land area
Mineral resources
Forest coverage

2. Article 5 in Chapter One of the Law of the People's Republic of China on Water Pollution Control stipulates:"All units and individuals are duty-bound to protect water resources and have the right to supervise and inform on acts that pol lute China's water resources."
(April 11, 1999)

Survival, My Worry

BEIJING WANBAO (Beijing Evening News)

For years, I have heard and seen various slogans about environmental protection. One of them which deeply impresses me is, "We only have one Earth."

But it appears to me that the "we" here does include other creatures in the world.

No one can deny that China is achieving rapid economic development, but at the huge price of its environment.

I saw on TV news white foam floating in the Yellow River, the mother river of the Chinese nation. The Bohai Sea, polluted by surrounding industries, has successively suffered from red tides. If no measures are taken, the Bohai Sea will he turned into a smelly, dead sea at the beginning of the next century. It will take at least 300 years to revitalize it again. And the Yangtze River Basin, having suffered severe floods last summer, is facing a critical ecological period.

China's environmental reports are saying the same words every year, "Pollution is partly controlled. But the general situation is worsening and the future is worrying."

If I was the last bear on Earth, I would ask the mankind, "Hey, open your eyes. Who the hell do you think you are?"

(April 20, 1999)


Pity! Machines Drink Too Much Clean Water

WEN HUI BAO (Wenhui Daily)

These figures definitely leap off the page: Of the 130 million cubic meters of groundwater drawn each year in Shanghai, China's most populous city, people consume less than 10 million and the rest goes to the industrial sector.

Groundwater, formed hundreds of thousands of years ago, is clean and rich in trace elements that are good for human health. However, due to historical reasons in Shanghai, the water is mainly used to cool, humidify or clean up machines, while the drinking water comes from heavily polluted surface water

According to Professor Chen Zhongyuan of the East China Normal University, if one person drinks 5-8 liters of water a day, the required groundwater for all Shanghai citizens every year is only 30 million cubic meters or less, no more than one-fourth of the total development. Besides, the cost of one litre of groundwater is only about 0.10 yuan. In addition, deep groundwater requires no purification and appropriate development won't cause the drop of the earth's surface. However, the present excessive extraction of shallow groundwater is the very reason why the earth's surface has started to sink.

Thus, experts are calling on the local government to change the situation of good water for machine while polluted water for drinking. They are also suggesting to establish some pilot areas where drinking water and water for other daily use are separated. Meanwhile, they suggest companies supplying purified or distilled water to residents turn to barreled groundwater, which will benefit people's health.

(April 20, 1999)