Estimated death toll soars as path of destruction leaves many parts of Philippines inaccessible to government and aid officials
For visitors, China’s water problem becomes apparent upon entering the hotel room. The smell of a polluted river might emanate from the showerhead. Need to quench your thirst? The drip from the tap is rarely potable. Can you trust the bottled water? Many Chinese don’t. What about brushing your teeth? Measured by the government’s own standards, more than half of the country’s largest lakes and reservoirs were so contaminated in 2011 that they were unsuitable for human consumption. China’s more than 4,700 underground water-quality testing stations show that nearly three-fifths of all water supplies are “relatively bad” or worse. Roughly half of rural residents lack access to drinking water that meets international standards. For all of the dazzling progress that the world has come to associate with a booming 21st century China, the quality of its water supply has failed to keep up with the country’s leap into modernity. Policy makers and the Chinese public rightfully blame lax environmental controls and shoddy enforcement. But the more fundamental problem is that the country simply doesn’t have enough water. Breakneck and large-scale industrialization has overwhelmed scarce supplies — and drinking water has become one of the most visible casualties.
Oct 22, 2013 (NOAA) – Heavy smog has shrouded much of eastern China, and air quality levels have been dropped to extremely dangerous levels. The heavy smog is caused by industrial pollution, coal and agricultural burning …
Development Madness - Burning Money On Poor Construction
Following the recent typhoon, it appears that a brand new road in Miaoli County only two months old which was awarded a ‘Gold Safety Medal’ in construction and which cost NT$3.6 billion, is already broken.
Here’s a picture of it before (from this blog in Mandarin):
… no chance of a landslide there then. And here is a shot of the road during the typhoon, partially collapsed (from this blog in Mandarin)
This was a project lauded by the Vice President Wu as excellent and the glory of Miaoli County. Built under the directions of Miaoli County Commissioner Liu Cheng-hung (劉政鴻), it is clear that along with the tearing down of priceless historical pottery kilns and the needless destruction of homes in Dapu, Liu is rapidly becoming one of the most infamous County Commissioners in Taiwan’s history. I would not be surprised if I heard news tomorrow that he is to be investigated for graft and employing gangsters to threaten opponents to his development plans.
As Taiwanese politicians and their partners in construction and development burn taxpayers money in their rush to make hay from an economic model that is based around covering Taiwan in concrete, nature has the final say. The hubris, ignorance, selfishness and greed of these people is literally cutting huge chunks out of Taiwan’s landscape and slowly destroying the environment - a legacy that the next generations will pay for as climate change starts to unravel the country’s fiscally irresponsible and architecturally unsound infrastructure.
H/T to EVA for passing this on to me.
Representatives from the Thao people, the original inhabitants of the area surrounding Sun Moon Lake in Nantou County yesterday criticized the government for giving initial approval to a tourist resort project within their traditional territory on Hsiangshan without gaining the tribe’s permission in advance.
Unfortunately this kind of ‘legal’ development is also happening on Taiwan’s east coast, especially in Taitung County where Miramar Group, as one example, have played tricks to try and get EPA approval for a development that was a lot larger than the area in the development plan submitted for the EIA. This link points to the usual bureaucratic pass the buck and the use of the letter but not the spirit of the law to bypass the admittedly paper tiger Aboriginal Basic Act. What is most infuriating about cases like this is, aside from the bit by bit theft of Aboriginal traditional territory (not protected or identified in law), that these kinds of tourism developments are both often built without due regard for the environmental dangers of building in disaster prone areas and demonstrate a narrow concept of sustainable tourism development. Taiwan has a lot of infrastructure and capacity to turn itself into a world class hiking, cycling and sea sports venue but it seems the only kind of tourists that the planners see as profitable are those who are bused in en masse. It is this Tour Group Tourism that is ravaging the environment and aesthetics of the East Coast, Sun Moon Lake, and soon many areas around the nation’s reservoirs which have just been cleared for development.
The algae, which can suffocate marine life, is thought to be caused by pollution from agriculture and industry.