Notes from the Field

From China: Reducing Pollution from Industrialization

April 18, 2007

Rapid industrialization in China has contributed to some of the highest rates of air and water pollution in the world, severe land degradation, and a range of emerging natural resource challenges. Of particular concern is the pollution of China’s rivers and groundwater, which are rapidly becoming depleted and unfit for any purpose. Through partnerships with Chinese institutes, regulatory agencies, industry associations and community organizations, The Asia Foundation is developing an integrated environmental program strategy for rivers in China that will go beyond treatment, which only cleans up the problem, to prevention of water pollution. 

The “Clean Water through Clean Production” project aims to change the way that public and private sector institutions interact with one another and with citizens on water-related issues. The Foundation’s environmental program in China works to reduce the impact of agricultural-based pollution on down-stream industrial enterprises and vice versa, as well as reduce the quantities of pollutants at their source by demonstrating the economic losses often associated with polluting activities.  The Asia Foundation also aims to engage supporting players, including regulatory agencies and NGOs, to demonstrate the possibility of linking environmental progress with economic progress.

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