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Costly Rescue

Caixin May 8, 2017

Since April 10, business has been suspended for restaurants, inns, hotels and shops around Erhai Lake, the second-largest freshwater lake in southern Yunnan Province, pending a pollution inspection. The move was one of the local government’s measures to control the heavy blue-green algae pollution in the lake, reportedly caused by agricultural pollution from local farms, domestic sewage and the emissions from businesses in the region. According to the government, the relevant businesses are not allowed to re-open until their sewage facilities have been examined and certified as meeting government standards. Meanwhile, local farmers in the affected region have been forbidden from raising cows and planting garlic, and the local fishermen are banned from fishing, in order to prevent further ecological damage. These harsh measures have sparked waves of complaints from the affected locals – who say it was the government who encouraged them to take up these practices in the first place. As Erhai is on the brink of losing its capacity to clean itself, say experts, many locals are about to lose their livelihoods for good.

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China Report
Issue 49

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