When we first visited Dandong in Liaoning province, our heart kind of went out to the little North Korean kids swimming in the Yalu River. Now we really feel sorry for them. Dandong’s Xinjulang Paper Factory has been pumping 12,000 tons of concentrated waste into that river every day. The State Environmental Protection Authority has told the plant to stop production. This is all part of China’s effort to publicly shame its worst polluters “amid concerns that the country’s environmental problems have become so serious they are undermining economic growth and social stability”:
The crackdown includes outing the 11 factories, most of which are near rivers, dense residential areas and nature reserves, and 10 projects that have failed to include environmental protection in their design.
The shamed plants represent more than 450 billion yuan ($75 billion) of investment.
Only 11 factories and 10 projects? Seems low to us. This new vigilance was prompted by the Songhua River chemical spill late last year. And tests of more factories are in the offing. But, we are reminded, similar crackdowns have failed to stick in the past.
Golf courses and gas stations are also getting a dressing down by the environmental folks. Herbicides and pesticides used wantonly at
farms that got land-grabbed golf courses are contaminating water supplies. Did you know that technically all golf course construction in China was officially halted a couple years ago? Neither did all the people currently building courses.
Finally, Reuters reminds us what more and more Chinese people do when a factory pollutes their village: They fight back.
Photo of the Yalu River from Shanghai Diaries.