Dirty no more

Dirty no more  the much abused Huai river in China seems to have won a reprieve after a small but increasing number of environmentalists fought against it being used as an outlet to discharge industrial sludge.

The environmental protection bureau recently issued an order to shut down all paper mills - numbering a total of 999 - along the Huai river. In spite of earlier warnings, untreated effluents still made it into the river, turning its colour a dark black. Farmers were prohibited from using the river waters to irrigate crops after blobs of pollutants were seen floating in the river. Such was the state of the river that hydroelectric projects along its banks shut down, lest the polluted waters spoil their machinery.

The Chinese government has allocated a whopping us $1.2 billion for a complete clean-up of the river. Though the first step has been taken, environmentalists feel that their joy would be short-lived. Popular perception in China has it that while environment is important, gaining a job at the cost of environment is a better prospect.

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