Flooding sparks supply line fears among ecologists

09:07, August 09, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 


Soldiers work to fix the damaged water pipelines in suburban Tonghua. Four pipes connecting the city with a local water filtering plant were destroyed in floods caused by torrential rain. (Zhang Tao / China Daily)

Flooding in Northeast China last month that killed 74 people, with another 71 still missing, has triggered fears among experts about the country's infrastructure and industrial zoning.

Heavy rains, which have battered Jilin province since July 20, have resulted in severe damage to 677 bridges and 51 reservoirs and affected almost 4.6 million people.

More than 784,000 resident were evacuated from the danger zones across the province by authorities.

Water and electricity supplies in several cities and counties were either disrupted or completely severed for days. Urban planning experts also blamed shortages in tap water supplies on the number of pipes destroyed by the rushing floodwaters.

Xie Yingxia at the China Academy of Urban Planning and Design said extra investment in city infrastructure would prevent similar disasters in extreme weather conditions or natural disasters.

"If we had backup water supplies and pipelines, this wouldn't have happened and entire cities would not have been disrupted," she said.

As the country has witnessed rapid development and urbanization, Xie added, projects above ground have overshadowed the urgent need to update cities' underground pipe and sewer networks.

"It (the flooding) has shown that there is a problem," Yang Hongshan, an associate professor with Renmin University of China, said in an interview with China Central Television (CCTV), the State broadcaster.

He argued that the threat of flooding should be taken into consideration when new infrastructure projects are launched, while overall standards should be improved to ensure any supply lines are strong enough to withstand a major catastrophe.

More than 300 companies were forced to halt or slow production amid the continuous downpours. Floodwaters also swept 7,000 barrels filled with chemicals into Songhua River, sparking serious concerns for a waterway that acts as a major source of drinking water for Jilin.

Environmentalists said after the incident chemical plants on the upper reaches of rivers and other waterways pose a serious threat to ecology nationwide.

"The zoning of chemical industries in China was fixed several decades ago but today we've realized that it was a big mistake," said Ma Zhong, dean of school of environment and natural resources at the Renmin University of China. "The pollution in Songhua River is a typical example."

Ma told reporters with Southern Weekly, a newspaper based in Guangzhou, that "a lot of pollution is closely related to the location of industrial areas".

As industries develop and continue to move from downstream base in the east to upstream plants in the mid-west, the environment problems will worsen, he stressed.

On Aug 5, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology issued an emergency statement, urging local governments and enterprises to prevent the risk of environmental hazards during the flood season.

By Duan Yan, China Daily

(Editor:梁军)

  • Do you have anything to say?

双语词典
dictionary

  
Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Staff members watch a screen showing the blast-off of the Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center, Sept. 29, 2011. Commander-in-chief of China's manned space program Chang Wanquan announced Thursday night that the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module was successful. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
  • Chinese President Hu Jintao watches the launch of Tiangong-1 space lab module at Beijing Aerospace Control Center in Beijing, capital of China, Sept. 29, 2011. Other members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, including Wu Bangguo, Jia Qinglin, Li Changchun, Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and Zhou Yongkang, are also present. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)
  • The graphics shows the launch procedures of the carrier rocket of Tiangong-1 space lab module, Long March-2FT1 on Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Lu Zhe)
  • Image taken from Beijing Aerospace Control Center shows a Long March-2FT1 carrier rocket loaded with Tiangong-1 unmanned space lab module blasting off from the launch pad at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in northwest China's Gansu Province, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua)
  • On Sept. 28, tourists travel around the Mingshashan Scenic Area in Dunhuang, Gansu province by camel. With the National Day vacation right around the corner, more and more tourists from home and abroad are going to Dunhuang. Riding on a camel, they travel in the desert to enjoy the cities rare form of natural scenery. (Xinhua/Zhang Weixian)
  • Chinese forest armed forces work together with forest firefighters on Sept. 28. (Xinhua/Chai Liren)
Hot Forum Discussion