Hangzhou City Profile

I have been living in Hangzhou for a year, and I've notice an increase in air and water pollution...

Background and Overview

West Lake is Hangzhou's biggest tourist attraction. It attracts visitors for its natural beauty and recreational activities by the lake. However, China's State Environmental Protection Administration were shocked to find that the water pollution of West Lake had reached a Grade V. Yu Xinhua, an environmental protection specialist says that the flood of visitors and hotels can be dealt with. However, the real problem comes from a large tea plantation beside the lake. This particular tea plantation has begun over-fertilising with a large amount of phosphate and nitrate. These fertilising chemicals can be seen in the eutrophication (when the environment becomes enriched with nutrients) of the lake. The fertilisers used in the tea farm could have run-off into west lake, causing an increase in nutrient levels. The government has begun to to slow down the process of eutrophication in the lake by preventing the discharge of sewage into the lake and the removal of silt by the lake.

What are some reasons for the high levels of water and air pollution in Hangzhou, China today?

Deadly Neighbour Harms Hangzhou

Air pollution in China is full of pollution emitted from factories, power plants, building construction and cars. The most heavily polluted cities in China include Beijing, Harbin and Shanghai. Shanghai being not far from Hangzhou. Therefore, Hangzhou occasionally receives a smog of polluted air from its neighbour, Shanghai.

Living In A Smoking Room

PM2.5 particles are proven to be deadly as they can be lodged deeply in our lungs. The health issues linked to air pollution include, asthma attacks, acute bronchitis, lung cancer, heart attacks and premature deaths. A study conducted by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in 2012 proved the dangerous levels of air pollution in Beijing, China. Firstly, they measured the air quality level in a typical smoking lounge at an airport in the U.S. The average PM2.5 reading was 166.6 micrograms per cubic meter. The daily PM2.5 reading in Beijing during January 2013 was 194 micrograms per cubic meter.

Finding Safe Drinking Water

China's water is unevenly distributed across the country. Every day the whole of China produces over 3.5 million tons of sewage waste. To correctly treat the sewage problem, the Global Health and Education Foundation predicts that it would need to invest in over 10,000 treatment facilities. 600 million people in China are supplied with unsafe drinking water, contaminated by human or animal waste. 70% of China's water have been labeled unsafe for human contact. The problem is being caused by untreated water waste that flows into large waterways and rivers. Pollution from chemicals used in industrial factories also account for a large percentage of the pollution. Increased amount of algae have already caused many drinking water plants to close down. Hangzhou's, West Lake is an example of a blooming amount of algae caused by fertilisers in the water.

Is There A Solution?

There are solutions to China's growing problems, however a commitment is needed to be taken by the government, and massive amounts of money will need to aid the building of environmental facilities around the country.

Keep up to date with Hangzhou's air pollution in the link below:


The View From Above

From the above satellite view of earth's pollution, Hangzhou currently sits in the most polluted region of the earth. This region in China includes Shanghai and Beijing, shown in dark red in the image above. The place with the cleanest air quality is the South American coast and the top of North America. It is clear from the image that China needs to make drastic changes and improvements to its environmental facilities. People in China are also beginning to be educated on the current pollution situation in there home country, however pollution has already made a large negative impact on China's water supply and natural habitat.

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