Reuters

A third of industrial waste water is released, without treatment, into rivers and lakes.

China's rise to an economic powerhouse has brought with it environmental degradation, especially in the country's waterways. About one third of the industrial waste water is released, without treatment, into rivers and lakes. According to one report, 43 percent of state-monitored rivers are so polluted, they're "unsuitable for human contact."

Below, scenes of the country's water:

A man smokes at a pond filled with dead fish on the outskirts of Wuhan, central China's Hubei province. in 2007, about 125,000 kg of fish have died in the last three days due to water pollution, local media reported. At the time, Chinese officials promised to integrate climate change policy into its industrial and energy sectors, but said it would not sacrifice economic growth to satisfy international demands to help combat global warming. (Reuters)



A resident fishes on the bank of the Yangtze River near the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge amid thick haze in Wuhan, Hubei province. (Reuters)



A fisherman holds his fishing net in his mouth in a polluted river in Wuhan, Hubei province. More than half of China's cities are affected by acid rain and one-sixth of major rivers are so polluted the water is unfit even for farmland, a senior official said in a bleak assessment of the environmental price of the country's economic boom. (Darley Wong/Reuters)



Workers clean up oil at an oil spill site near Dalian Port, Liaoning province in 2010. Nearly 8,000 workers and hundreds of fishing boats were needed to clean up the oil spill off the major northern Chinese port Dalian, after a pipeline blast leaked 1,500 tonnes of heavy crude into the sea. (Reuters)

About the Author

Amanda Erickson

Amanda Erickson is a former senior associate editor at CityLab. 

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