China Getting Serious About Environment

Polluting businesses told to clean up or get lost in many provinces
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 6, 2007 4:34 PM CDT
Workers try to clear blue-green algae from Dianchi Lake in Kunming, in China's southwest Yunnan province Tuesday June 26, 2007. The blue-green algae, a plant-like organism which blooms when nutrients...   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – When its lake turned green and sludge poured from taps, the longtime home of China’s chemical industry closed 1,340 polluting factories, becoming the standard-bearer for a green wave now sweeping China, the Washington Post says. For the first time, the central government has given its provinces weapons to fight polluters and has vowed to cut discharges 10% by 2010.

China’s environmental resolve traditionally weakens when it starts hitting the bottom line, the Post says, but that attitude is changing. “We are paying back to nature,” said the governor of Wuxi’s province. “Even if our GDP decreases by 15 percent.” But while many local governments are following Wuxi’s lead, others are wooing closed factories to their own rivers.