Thanks to Wu, Something’s Being Done to Clean the Lake

China has recently astonished me with the levels of pollution found in the air, water and earth. As a regular international traveler, I haven’t ever tried that hard to go to China, because of the bad air and other hazards. Of course, I am sure there are places of great beauty there, but that has always held me back.

I read on the ‘Net last night that the government is spending $14 billion to clean up the country’s third-largest freshwater lake.  Lake Tai was once a bounteous source of shrimp, baitfish and whitefish. But then more than 2800 chemical companies sprang up on its shores, and they dumped toxins in the lake, and threatened the drinking water for the nearby city of Wuxi. At first the officials  denied that the chemical companies had caused the toxic algae bloom, but a determined environmentalist kept after them, blowing the whistle, and eventually, they admitted that nature did not cause the foul-smelling green scum that blanketed the big lake.

Wu Lihong, a well-known environmental campaigner who had regularly collected samples from Lake Tai, was arrested and convicted of blackmailing factory owners. He was imprisoned but the government is finally doing something about the terrible pollution.

I sense that this is a tipping point in China.  By the time the Olympics  take place next summer, more efforts like this will be started. Maybe there is a way out of China’s environmental mess, and it begins with men like Wu Lihong.