Environment

Environment

China Trends: a ban on imported garbage and an air conditioning controversy
Every Tuesday and Thursday, China Trends takes the pulse of the Chinese social media to keep you in the loop of what the world’s biggest internet population is talking about. No more imported waste The Chinese government said it would try to eliminate all garbage imports by the end of 2020, a decision that would mean 2.74 million tons of solid waste would need to find a new home.  In early-2018, China announced it would stop importing certain grades of solid waste that is typically recycled. The government announcement on June 2 would extend that ban to practically all forms of garbage from abroad. The US, Australia and the European Union are among the top regions that export their waste to
Are China’s dams to blame for droughts in Southeast Asia?
Fishermen in northeast Thailand have seen catches in the Mekong River plunge, while some farmers in Vietnam and Cambodia are leaving for jobs in cities as harvests of rice and other crops shrink. The common thread is erratic water levels along Asia’s third-longest waterway. Water flows along the 2,700-mile Mekong shift naturally between monsoon and dry seasons, but non-government groups say the 11 hydroelectric dams on China’s portion of the river – five of which started operating in the past three years – have disrupted seasonal rhythms. This threatens food security for the more than 60 million people in the lower Mekong that rely on the river for a livelihood. “Naturally, Mekong water ris
When Tigers roamed the concrete jungle of Hong Kong
Should you ever encounter a tiger in Hong Kong, run downhill. The big cat’s front legs are shorter than its hind limbs, its descent will be awkward and give you the edge as you escape. But since the last sightings of the South China tiger in Hong Kong were in the 1970s, that’s unlikely to be necessary. Villagers minding livestock or cutting grass on hillsides, however, would likely have grown up heeding that advice passed down from older generations. Author and graphic designer John Saeki learned about this from a friend whose mother is an elderly villager in Hong Kong’s northeastern New Territories. His friend’s mother had once seen a partially devoured calf, presumably the result of a tige
Scientists face uphill battle in reviving wild yellow croaker stocks
Scientists are stepping up efforts to protect the stocks of wild yellow croaker fish – the most popular sea fish on Chinese dinner tables – by preparing fry for release into the wild, state news agency Xinhua reported on Monday. News of the conservation plan came about two weeks after the Chinese paddlefish, a species indigenous to the Yangtze River and one of the world’s largest freshwater fish, was declared extinct, prompting a public backlash against dam-building, overfishing, heavy water traffic, pollution and other human activities on Asia’s longest river. A 10-year commercial fishing ban has been announced to protect the aquatic life in the Yangtze.  The yellow croaker is often found o
Jetmen push boundaries in the skies above China
Daredevil “jetmen” jumped out of a plane with small jet engines strapped to their backs for a stunt flight over the dramatic scenery of Zhangjiajie, in China’s central province of Hunan. For their flight on November 14, 2019, they used carbon fiber wings with attached jetpacks to zip around at speeds up to 250mph. The demonstration was part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s “Mission: Human Flight” program, which aims to develop equipment that ultimately allows “fully autonomous human flight.”
This woman uses wacky dresses to help change the world
Most people choose what they wear to flatter their bodies.  For Chinese artist Kong Ning, fashion is a soapbox she can employ to call people’s attention to some of the most pressing issues affecting the world. And when she uses that soapbox, Kong goes all out. In 2015, she wore an outfit dotted with hundreds of anti-pollution breathing masks and sauntered around smog-choked Beijing.  In 2013, she stitched 999 respirators onto a wedding dress. She titled it “Marry the Blue Sky” and wore it at the Beijing Exhibition Center. In 2016, she wore a wedding dress – made of 100 inflatable white doves – at the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York. She attached plastic models of Notre
The depleted Yangtze, Asia’s longest river, gets a 10-year fishing ban
China has imposed a 10-year commercial fishing ban in the Yangtze – the first ever for Asia’s longest river – in a bid to protect its aquatic life. Facing dwindling fish stocks and declining biodiversity in the 3,915-mile river, the Chinese government decided seasonal moratoriums were not enough. The ban took effect on Wednesday, and will be applied at 332 conservation sites along the river.  It will be extended to cover the main river course and key tributaries by January 1 next year, according to a State Council notice. “The Yangtze is a major river in the world in terms of its aquatic species diversity. It is also an important shield for protecting our country’s ecology and improving cons
Inside a Chinese village trying to go ‘zero waste’
A small village on a hillside in central China is leading the way in addressing one of the great issues of the modern era – how to eliminate humanity's impact on the environment. Only some 20 residents, all of them elderly, remain in the village of Liantang in Guiyang county, Hunan province. The rest have moved away over the years, seeking the opportunities and modern conveniences of urban life. But one man has returned to the place where he was born and raised, determined to remake it as a zero-waste community. Tan Yiyong, 39, founded a non-profit organization in 2013 called Jiao Dao Xiao Dao, promoting waste sorting as well as an eco enzyme which can be made out of household scraps and use
China’s biggest landfill is full – 20 years ahead of schedule
The biggest landfill site in China is about to be filled to the brim, two decades ahead of schedule.  The Jiangcungou landfill in Xian, a northwestern metropolis with a population of 10 million people, occupies more than 160 acres of land.  When it was built in 1994, the dump was designed to process some 2,500 metric tons of residential garbage every day and operate until 2044. But in reality, it receives four times as much garbage, according to a report by state broadcaster CCTV. Garbage has already piled up nearly 500 feet high, local media reported in September. Soon the landfill will have to be closed.  As more landfills fill up across China, the country is facing an acute challenge of