China Environmental News Alert
Posted June 1, 2012
NRDC has been working in China for over fifteen years on such issues as energy efficiency, green buildings, clean energy technologies, environmental governance and public participation, and green supply chain issues. This China Environmental News Alert is a weekly compilation of news from around the world on China and the environment.
May 24, 2012 – May 29, 2012
Xinhua (May 24, 2012)
In a landmark lawsuit two NGOs, Friends of Nature (FON) and Green Volunteer League of Chongqing, have demanded compensation of 10 million yuan (1.58 million U.S. dollars) from companies which dumped toxic chemicals in southwest China's Yunnan Province. If the NGOs win the case, the compensation will be used for environmental rehabilitation in the polluted areas in Qujing city, said Guo Jinghui, a spokeswoman of FON. Qujing city's environmental protection bureau also joined as plaintiff in the lawsuit, which was filed last September and accepted by the city's Intermediate People's Court in October 2011. Experts believe the civil case will be a landmark in China as it is the country's first public interest litigation (PIL) filed by grass-roots NGOs, following the country's mulling of including PIL in the Civil Procedure Law.
CRI (May 24, 2012)
The final destination of around 70 percent of the world's annual 500 million tons of electronic waste, or e-waste, is China, according to a report by China Business News. The director of Greenpeace's Pollution Prevention project, Lai Yun, said that "the smuggling of e-waste is still rampant because of the high profits associated with recycling the material." Items that are classed as e-waste often contain small amounts of gold, copper, aluminum, silver and other precious metals and plastics that all hold high value for recyclers. But they also contain harmful substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, all of which have the potential to contribute to environmental pollution, and cause many health problems.
Reuters (May 24, 2012)
China spurred a jump in global carbon dioxide emissions to their highest ever recorded level in 2011, offsetting falls in the United States and Europe, according to the International Energy Agency. China, the world's biggest emitter of CO2, made the largest contribution to the global rise, its emissions increasing by 9.3 percent, driven mainly by higher coal use. China's CO2 emissions per unit of GDP, or its carbon intensity, fell by 15 percent between 2005 and 2011, the IEA said, suggesting the world's second-largest economy was finding less carbon-consuming ways to fuel growth.
Xinhua (May 25, 2012)
Efforts to prevent sand and dust storms in Beijing and its neighbor Tianjin have been more successful since the implementation of anti-desertification programs over a decade ago, according to the attendees of an ongoing three-day workshop concerning desertification and land degradation being held in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. The central government began working to control sources of sand and dust in June 2000 to prevent continuous sandstorms and dusty weather in north China. As of 2011, more than 100,358 mu of forest had been planted, according to statistics from the State Forestry Administration of China.
Xinhua (May 29, 2012)
About 67 hectares of farmland were submerged in south China's Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region as of Tuesday after a sludge dump of an aluminum company began leaking Saturday. Mud measuring over one meter in depth from the sludge dump of the Guangxi Huayin Aluminum Co., Ltd. entered the houses of some farmers in Jingxi County, according to a Xinhua reporter at the scene. The sea of mud and red, polluted water have inundated the village. A total of 43 families have been affected, and they were relocated to tents set up on a mountain slope.
Xinhua (May 29, 2012)
Underground water in 57 percent of monitoring sites across Chinese cities have been found polluted or extremely polluted, the Economic Information Daily, a newspaper run by Xinhua News Agency, reported on Monday, quoting figures from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). The MEP statistics also suggest that 298 million rural residents do not have access to safe drinking water. In the first half of last year, of the seven main water systems in China, only the Yangtze and Pearl rivers had good water quality, and the Haihe River in north China was heavily polluted, with the others all moderately polluted, according to the MEP.
Korea Herald (May 29, 2012)
The state-run Korea Environment Corp. said Tuesday it will provide technology to clean up China’s fifth-largest lake and produce biogas from the waste. The company has signed an agreement with Hefei city in the eastern Chinese province of Anhui to exchange technology and know-how to decontaminate Chaohu, one of the most polluted lakes in China. The agreement also envisions cooperation regarding the treatment of urban waste -- in particular, technology to produce biogas from food waste.
Bloomberg (May 29, 2012)
China’s government will spend as much as 2 billion yuan ($315 million) a year to develop alternative-energy vehicles to reduce fuel consumption, the finance ministry said. The government will also promote using buses with hybrid engines in major cities, Vice Finance Minister Zhang Shaochun said in a statement on the ministry’s website. Agencies and companies that provide public services, such car-rental firms, will be encouraged to use alternative energy vehicles in 25 trial cities.
New York Times (May 29, 2012)
Four years ago, the BYD Company promoted the electric battery technology it was developing as a way to help China transform the automobile. But recently, nothing has gone right. BYD’s stock is down 43 percent from its high on Feb. 8 as investors and analysts have questioned whether the company has the technology or the manufacturing quality to be an enduring competitor in the Chinese market. BYD’s sales of gasoline-powered cars, the company’s commercial mainstay, have wilted this spring as Chinese buyers have moved toward more expensive but better-quality cars from its rivals.
China Daily (May 29, 2012)
More fashion companies are producing sustainable apparel. Every month, Li Lianfeng's textile mill in Guangzhou produces more than 7,000 meters of denim, which goes to jean companies as far away as Denmark, Australia and the United States. But only 5 percent of his mill's output uses natural indigo dye rather than synthetics. The company ventured into natural dye in 2007, upon the request of a Hong Kong client. However, the plant-dyed denim is four to five times more expensive than ordinary denim because indigo dye is harder to produce.
China Daily (May 29, 2012)
Water flowing through Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions is safe to drink despite the increasing number of environmental incidents on the Pearl River in recent years, the river's monitor agency said. There has been a string of environmental scandals across the country in recent years in the wake of the construction boom of chemical plants alongside rivers. Last year, authorities handled 542 environmental incidents across the country, according to statistics from the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP). Nearly 60 percent of the incidents were triggered by traffic accidents and work safety accidents, according to Ling Jiang, deputy director of the department of pollution prevention and control under the MEP.
(CENA prepared by Christina Whang)
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