China builds showy projecs, neglects environment

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    Local governments in China are investing heavily in trophy construction projects while neglecting a basic need for environmental infrastructure such as waste water treatment systems, a senior Chinese official said yesterday.

    Qiu Baoxing, vice-minister of construction, reported that 230 of the 600 or so Chinese cities surveyed by the government did not have adequate waste water treatment networks. “This means polluted water in these cities is discharged directly [into waterways] causing tremendous harm to the environment,” he said.

    Mr Qiu’s remarks suggest local governments and developers are overinvesting in showy construction projects while ignoring basic environmental requirements.

    Mr Qiu warned of a divide between local construction booms representing present economic wealth and the need for a longer-term environmental planning.

    China is notorious for water shortages and its toxic rivers.

    A string of industrial water pollution accidents, including the benzene spill by a state oil company into the northern Songhua River late last year, has renewed concerns in Beijing that environmental infrastructure and accountability are lacking.

    China ‘neglecting environment in rush to build’

    Hong Kong government (and developers) also displaying love for showy projects, and neglect for environment: witness Weset Kowloon, central reclamation, plans for Lantau…

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