China Watch, Food, Renewable Energy, News, Natural Disasters & Peacemaking, e2 - Eye on Earth, News Story, Commentary, Eye on Earth
The massive tremor that struck northern Pakistan and Kashmir on October 8 cut through a fault line of conflict that has divided the two nations for more than 50 years. It inflicted death on a scale comparable to that wrought by 15 years of conflict over Kashmir: currently pegged at close to 90,000 deaths, the earthquake's toll surpasses the estimated 40,000 to 80,000 people killed in regional fighting since 1990.
As China aims to double its sewage disposal capacity over the next five years, the demand for additional treatment facilities is expected to skyrocket. The Chinese government is extending an invitation to foreign investors to make up for the huge financial shortfall in the country's sewage treatment market.
Recognizing that rampant collusion between local officials and private mine owners is the main reason for poor safety conditions in China's coal mines, the central government has stepped-up efforts to root out this corruption. Among other moves, it has begun shutting down illegal coalmines, ordering local officials to withdraw their investments in mines, and strictly punishing officials who attempt to circumvent government investigations.
Global investment in renewable energy set a new record of $30 billion in 2004, according to a report released today by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN21). Technologies such as wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, and small hydro now provide 160 gigawatts of electricity generating capacity, about 4 percent of the world total, the report finds.
As disposable incomes rise in China, the desire to alter the landscape is intensifying. City authorities, tired of the same old surrounding flora, are eager to revitalize streets and parks with new and exotic greenery. Meanwhile, desertification researchers, faced with worsening sandstorms from China’s barren deserts, are keen to find more permanent methods for holding back the drifting sand.
Concern about the widespread use of carcinogenic polyvinylchloride (PVC) food wrap in Chinese supermarkets has caught the attention of both the media and the Chinese government in recent weeks. While most food wraps sold for home use in China are made of safer alternatives, PVC plastic is still used to seal vegetables, fruits, meat, and other cooked food in supermarkets nationwide.
A public health official warned on Saturday that China will likely see a widespread AIDS pandemic if timely counter measures are not adopted, according to Xinhua News Agency
A fresh outbreak of avian flu is reported to have taken place at a poultry farm in Tengjiaying Village, Inner Mongolia, killing 2,600 birds, Xinhua News Agency reported
on October 19. China’s national bird flu laboratory confirmed it was the H5N1 strain, which is potentially lethal to humans.
As temperatures and human pressures have increased in China’s mountainous west over the past decade, the headwaters of two major river arteries, the Yellow and the Yangtze, are drying up at an alarming rate. The Chinese government has poured in money and other resources in an attempt to reverse or mitigate this trend, but observers remain pessimistic about finding a long-term cure.
As of late June, 297 cities in China had not yet built adequate sewage treatment plants, an official with the Ministry of Construction reported
on October 10th. Of these nearly 300 cities, 63 are larger urban areas, including 8 with populations of more than 500,000.