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Official Observes How Over-exploitation Led to Serious Pollution of the Yellow River

Lian Yu, deputy chief of a bureau at the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and the Environment, which oversees the Yellow River’s ecology, stated, in an recent interview with a Beijing based local newspaper, that the Yellow River has ecological problems such as excessive exploitation of water resources and the pollution of rivers and lakes. Among the problems are that the utilization ratio of water resources of the Yellow River reaches more than 80 percent and that the low-water period can last more than 85 percent of the days, far exceeding the alert levels for most rivers.

Lian Yu believes that, in addition to excessive water use, other factors that contribute to the Yellow River pollution include coal and petroleum extraction and coal chemical and metal smelting plants scattered alongside the watershed. High water consumption, heavy pollution, and a high dependence on energy resources are factors that characterize these industries. The rudimentary industrial technology, the small scale of business operations, and the poor pollution control capabilities have contributed to the deterioration.

In the past 30 years, the fish population in the Yellow River watershed has decreased by about half. Among them, indigenous and endangered fish species have decreased by about 60 percent. Lian Yu believes that reservoirs and hydropower stations in the upstream and its tributaries pose a great threat to the habitats of these species. In addition, compared with the 1980s, the wetland area in the Yellow River watershed decreased by 16 percent and other lake wetlands, swamp wetlands, and estuary wetlands decreased by 25 percent, 21 percent, and 40 percent, respectively.

Source: Central News Agency, December 11, 2019