TRACES: YELLOW RIVER
Industrial site. Lanzhou, Gansu, China, 2011.
A polluted pond hidden from public view in an industrial district near the newly landscaped banks of the Yellow River. Factories disposing waste illegally often pipe effluent deep underground or late at night to avoid being caught. Illegal dumping of chemical waste has become a widespread problem. About one third of the industrial wastewater and more than 90 percent of household sewage in China is released untreated into rivers and lakes.
As China continues to prosper, the public—fueled by a sense of individual rights related to increasing openness and prosperity—have shown an increased concern for the environment, which has led to more public disputes. In 2006, the government received 600,000 environment-related complaints, a figure that has risen roughly 30 percent each year since 2002.