Chinese Farming Community Living Off Polluted Water

Black River, June 1996: The River Huai, like many rivers in China, can no longer supply local agriculture with its lifeblood – water.

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A lethal chemical cocktail has left white, effervescent foam bubbling along its surface. But the determination of central government to clean up the black, polluted river by the year 2000 meets with resistance. Local government is torn between a clean river or environmental checks on economic development. Paper factories supporting 20,000 people profit by disposing sludgy pollutants in the river. Hard access footage reveals that even a ‘model’ factory hoses frothy, evil smelling water into the Huai. A fisherman on a nearby house boat has not caught a fish in ten years. He dissolves aluminium compounds in a bucket of river water just to purify it for household chores. In the city of Bengbu a restaurateur keeps his customers happy by rinsing his vegetables in bottled mineral water. Secret interviews show that local people believe it will be impossible to clean the river up by 2000.

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Produced by ABC Australia – Ref 0236
Distributed by Journeyman Pictures

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