Friday news round up highlighting the environmental news and commentary of the week. 

Requiem for a River [Economist]

This interactive long-read article follows the journey of the Mekong from its source in Southwest China, to its end in Cambodia, visiting the communities and environments that are under threat from China’s plans to build 14 dams to stem the river’s flow.

Hebei’s war on pollution starts to show results [China Dialogue]

Air quality in Hebei, one of China’s worst polluted provinces is slowly improving. In fact, air pollution concentration has dropped by 28% since 2013. However, as worrying news about increased lung cancer in the region showed, it’s a small step in a long, uphill struggle.

Five ways China’s overseas investments are impacting African forests [Quartz]

China has raced past the EU to become the world’s largest importer of timber and has a huge presence in the African timber industry. Lax regulations and poor enforcement of standards on both ends of the supply chain  has meant that destructive illegal logging is now rife in the region. Read more about our forests work in the Congo Basin here.

China needs more power to crack down on polluters - minister [Reuters]

Chen Jining, China’s top environmental official has called for more power to crack down on industries that violate pollution laws, suggesting that local governments should be playing a bigger role. The announcement comes despite the record breaking fines and action taken against polluters after last year’s revised Environmental Laws came into effect.

China's Uphill Battle Against the Ivory Trade [Diplomat]

Hong Kong’s announcement of an ivory trade ban was poorly received by environmental groups who suggested the proposal lacked teeth. In this interview, Zhang Li, of the Wildlife Conservation Society puts forward another suggestion: that China buy up all existing ivory stocks, to the tune of USD 80 million.

Image credit: Jean-Marc Astesana