CHINA’S DIRTY LAUNDRY
China is home to some of the worst water pollution in the world, with as much as 70 percent of its rivers, lakes and reservoirs tainted by heavy metals, persistent organic pollutants, and other hallmarks of industrial discharge. With more than 50,000 mills, the textile industry is a key player in China’s economy, growing with each passing year. Textiles reached $226.77 billion in 2010, or 7.6 percent of China’s total trade volume, according to Greenpeace.
Textiles reached $226.77 billion in 2010, or 7.6 percent of China’s total trade volume, says Greenpeace.
Accordingly, between 2003 and 2007, industrial wastewater discharge into the Pearl River Delta rose 52 percent from 1.6 billion tons to 2.4 billion tons. By 2007, industry was responsible for 75 percent of all wastewater dumped into the delta. But China is only part of a far bleaker big picture. The United Nations Environment Programme estimates that worldwide, industry is responsible for dumping 300 to 500 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other waste into waters each year