China seeks laws to protect polluted lakes: state media

Speaking at the 13th World Lake Conference, Chen Zhili, one of China’s top legislators, called for special laws to put a stop to the pollution of the nation’s lakes. In particular she urged for stricter supervision of household, agricultural and industrial waste as well as the establishment of special lake protection regulations. Chen also pointed out that outdated production methods must be eradicated as they lead to massive waste.

Almost ninety percent (90%) of China’s lakes are known to have eutrophic water, which is rich in nutrients. This causes excessive growth of aquatic plants which in turn reduces the oxygen content dramatically and leads to the death of animals. Situated in the eastern province of Jiangsu, Taihu Lake is considered to be vastly polluted due to the dumping of agricultural and industrial waste as well as sewage. The lake now suffers an algae plague. Erhai Lake, located in the southwestern province of Yunnan suffered two major algae blooms, in 1886 and 2003, which led to problems with drinking water supplies.

China has not always admitted to its pollution issues, going so far as to even jail environmentalists who led campaigns to bring to light the country’s persistent pollution problems. In 2007, Wu Lihong was among those jailed on charges of blackmail and fraud as he tried to fight to end the chronic industrial pollution of Taihu Lake. Wu claimed at the time that the charges were false, insisting that the lake’s pollution was caused by local government officials who were colluding with local businesses.