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China's Five Great Lakes Damaged

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    China's five major lakes that support the livelihood of more than 200-million people are in peril. According to experts at the country's first forum on lakes, economic growth and increasing population density are contributing to the damage.


    China's lakes are facing a host of problems according to the country's first comprehensive report on its major lakes. Researchers say water quality is deteriorating, wetlands are shrinking and lakes are losing their flood control and drought relief capacity.

    More than twenty experts contributed to the report on China's five Great Lakes. It was presented at the first China Forum on Lakes in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu Province over the weekend. The experts suggest the lakes are in need of urgent protection from damage caused by industrial and urban waste.

    One water pollution researcher, who asked to remain anonymous, believes tackling industrial pollutants should be the top priority.

    [Water Pollution Researcher]:
    "Industrial waste is more notable, it involves heavy metal and organic pollutants like phenol which have a greater impact on humans. I believe the pollutants that need to be addressed are the specific ones that affect the health of organisms."

    He says agricultural waste runoff into waterways is another major problem, but may be hard to address.

    [Water Pollution Researcher]:
    "Once chemical fertilizers and pesticides reach the water they become pollutants. But if fertilizer use is reduced, it will affect productivity, and food output. So it can only be done gradually."

    Aside from pollution, the researchers also found that China's lakes are drying up, with 20 lakes disappearing every year. China's largest freshwater lake, Poyang Lake in the southeast was reduced to just one tenth of its normal size this year.
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