Archive for the ‘sewage’ Category

China’s Water Crisis

February 6, 2009

China has a growing crisis of getting clean water where it is needed most, compounded by drought and a huge groundwater and coastal water pollution tragedy.

China is currently in its worst drought in more than half a century and the government has declared a “Red Alert.”

The State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters made the “Red Alert” determination, Xinhua said, because millions of acres of farmland for grain is all dried out, 4.3 million people face a water distress and 2.1 million head of livestock are short of water.

At the international level, there is already concern about global wheat prices and food availability.

Ma Wenfeng of Beijing Orient Agribusiness Consultants said, “The government has sufficient wheat reserves to stabilise the wheat market.  China is unlikely to boost wheat imports much and therefore the direct impact on the international prices will be minimal.”

China has had a looming water crisis for more than a decade.  Just to pull off the Olympics in Beijing this last summer, China had to build a complex series of water ways and aquaducts to feed the thirsty city.  These projects contributed to the loss of farmland around Beijing which turned into desert near Beijing.  The dry areas that were formerly farmlands made for an increase in blowing dust and sand in Beijing.

For more than a decade China has also been reporting increased chemical pollution of its ground water.  As much as 80% of China’s ground water and wells now have high amounts of chemicals from fertilizers,  insecticides and industrial plant run-off.  

China’s poor sewage management has poisoned vast areas of coastal waters.  The “green slime” in the Yellow Sea just prior to the Summer Olympics almost ended sail racing events.  The slime comes when pollution causes th algae to “bloom.”

China’s drought is severe — threatening farms, crops and livlihoods.

But China’s bigger picture of poor water management, control, conservation and sewage management may be creating a long-term nightmare.

China already has a limit of 1 child per family as the population grows past 1.3 billion. 

GETTY IMAGES The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China. Its water is the source of plans to solve Beijing's thirst for more water.

Above: The Danjiangkou Dam is seen here under construction in July 2006 in central Hubei province, China.  Photo: Getty Images

Related:
CNN:
http://www.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/asia
pcf/02/06/china.drought.half.century/i
ndex.html

China Drought “Red Alert”

More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

Thirsty Beijing awash in water woes

China: Human Activity May Have Increased Earthquake Severity

AFP:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/200902
06/sc_afp/chinadroughtweather_2009
0206081620

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More than 80 pct of China’s coastal waters polluted

January 17, 2009

Raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off polluted 83 percent of China’s coastal waters in 2008, according to state media.

China’s coastal waters last year witnessed 68 red tides, or algae blooms, which feed off nutrients found in excess pollution and sap water of oxygen, killing off large amounts of sea life, Xinhua news agency said.

The State Oceanic Administration was cited as saying the algae blooms covered 13,700 square kilometres (5,500 square miles), an increase of more than 2,100 square kilometres over 2007, the report said.

While some experts said the red tides were a result of climate change and heavy rain, environmentalists believe they were largely due to sewage and agricultural pollutant run-off, it said.

In August last year, one algae bloom caused havoc for the sailing competition of the Olympic Games when it engulfed waters surrounding the sailing venue in eastern China’s Qingdao city.

Up to 10,000 soldiers and volunteers were enlisted to clean up more than one million tonnes of the foul-smelling algae as they raced to clear the waters ahead of the competition, Xinhua said.

–AFP

Chinese fishermen in their boats pitch in to help clean up the ... 
Chinese fishermen in their boats pitch in to help clean up the coast of Qingdao, east China’s Shandong province, in July 2008, shortly before the Olympic Games. Raw sewage and pollution from agricultural run-off polluted 83 percent of China’s coastal waters in 2008, according to state media.(AFP/File)

Gaza health risk as sewage floods streets as Israeli attacks continue

January 2, 2009

Fears of a public health crisis in Gaza grew today as sewage started flooding into the streets because of a shortage of fuel to run pumps.

By Tim Butcher at Israel’s Erez crossing into Gaza
Telegraph (UK)
The waste leak added to controversy over the humanitarian situation with growing international anger at Israel’s refusal to accept there is a crisis.

Sewage has long been a major concern in Gaza where the antiquated pumping system is held together with a fragile network of temporary pumps and generators.

Oxfam reported the north Gazan town of Beit Hanoun was experiencing serious sewage flooding after generators that run the local pumping station ran out of diesel.

Israel is not allowing diesel into the Gaza Strip although it does allow in some industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power station to run for a few hours each day.

The amount of industrial diesel allowed in by Israel is considerably less than the delivery ordered by the Israeli supreme court after an action brought by human rights campaigners.

Sadi Ali, project manager for the Palestinian Water Authority, said the health risk from sewage on the streets was clear.

“There is a risk of the spread of all sorts of water borne diseases such as dysentery and cholera,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleea
st/israel/4076787/Gaza-health-risk-as-sewage-floods-
streets-as-Israeli-attacks-continue.html

Zimbabwe: Cholera introduced by West

December 13, 2008

The Zimbabwean government on Saturday accused the West of deliberately starting the country’s cholera epidemic, stepping up a war of words with the regime’s critics as the humanitarian crisis deepened.

The state-run Herald newspaper said comments by the U.S. ambassador that the U.S. had been preparing for the outbreak raised suspicions the West had waged “serious biological chemical war.”

Zimbabwean officials often blame their country’s troubles on the West. Their stranglehold on most sources of news to which ordinary Zimbabweans have access makes such rhetoric an important tool for a regime struggling to hold onto power.

Associated Press

A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in ... 
A young boy prepares to drink clean water from a borehole in Harare, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008. President Robert Mugabe declared that Zimbabwe’s cholera crisis was over Thursday, even as the United Nations raised the death toll from the epidemic to 783. Cholera has spread rapidly in the southern African nation because of the country’s crumbling health care system and the lack of clean water. The U.N. said 16,403 cases have been reported.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

After the first cholera cases, U.S. and other aid workers braced for the waterborne disease to spread quickly in an economically ravaged country where the sewage system and medical care have collapsed. Zimbabwe also faces a hunger crisis, the world’s highest inflation and shortages of both the most basic necessities and the cash to buy them.

President Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe has said the West was plotting to use cholera to invade

Please help the Red Cross in Zimbabwe:
http://www.redcross.org.uk/zimbabwe

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081213/ap_on_re_af/af_zimbabwe

Health clinics overwhelmed by cholera cases in Zimbabwe

December 10, 2008

In Zimbabwe, a cholera epidemic is claiming hundreds of lives.  The medical system has totally broken down.  Western aid agencies have arrived in force after the Mugabe regime reluctantly appealed for international help last week. They are flying in medics, medicines and equipment.

******

The room suddenly fell silent. The local health official momentarily stopped his briefing of aid workers visiting the cholera treatment centre in Chitungwiza, a township 20 miles from Harare.

Right outside the open window four labourers in latex gloves were loading a rigid corpse, trussed up in black plastic sheeting, on to a pick-up truck that had come to take it away for burial.

It was a sight that reinforced the message of the official dramatically. Here in Chitungwiza, as in many other communities across Zimbabwe, the cholera epidemic is overwhelming the skeletal remains of social services.

The corpses of two other victims lay wrapped in blankets in the makeshift mortuary of the centre, which is in the former maternity unit of the clinic. Their deaths raised the total in this wretched, densely populated township to more than 80.

By Martin Fletcher
The Times (UK)

A baby drinks water from her mother's hand in Harare, Zimbabwe ... 
A baby drinks water from her mother’s hand in Harare, Zimbabwe Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. European Union nations moved to tighten sanctions against Zimbabwe’s government on Monday and stood united in calling for the country’s authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe to ‘step down.’ The move was to protest the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, where a cholera outbreak is claiming thousands of live due to poor state of health care there. .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w
orld/africa/article5315386.ece