Poisoning the Pearl

Publication - 27 October, 2009
An investigation into industrial water pollution in the Pearl River Delta

Executive summary: The Greenpeace report, Poisoning the Pearl, provides a snapshot of industrial water pollution caused by the discharge of hazardous chemicals in the Pearl River Delta (PRD).

Our researchers sampled and analysed effluents from the discharge pipes of five manufacturing facilities located in the PRD. Water pollution is one of China’s most severe environmental problems. It affects as much as 70% of the country’s rivers, lakes and reservoirs.  The pollutants being discharged by industrial facilities into China’s water systems contain various hazardous chemicals, including different types of heavy metals and organic pollutants. Often persistent, bio-accumulative and toxic, hazardous chemicals pose a constant, long-term threat to human health and the eco-system into which they are released.

Given its status as China’s most industrialised region, it is unsurprising that the PRD suffers from pollution caused by hazardous chemicals. However, serious gaps exist in our knowledge about the problem. For instance, academic studies of hazardous chemical contamination in the area rarely involve direct sampling from industrial sources, so they fail to identify the individual culprits responsible for it.

There is also a policy gap regarding the amount of attention the government pays to curbing the discharge of hazardous chemicals into water systems.

Download 'Poisoning the Pearl: 2nd Edition'

Number of pages: 68

See also:

Hazardous Chemical Pollution of the Pearl River Delta - Investigation of chemicals discharged with wastewaters from five industrial facilities in China, 2009.