The Newest River in China


[Image: Replacing the rivers and militarizing the water supply: "Soldiers in Harbin, in northeast China, checked water supplies on Tuesday." Imaginechina/New York Times].

"On the streets of Harbin, life seemed normal, if somewhat surreal, given that a major metropolitan area of several million people had almost no running water or usable toilets and that thousands of residents seemed to have fled," the New York Times reports.
A sign of things to come, then, as China's clean water supplies succumb to industrial pollution: this week China covered-up the fact – then quietly admitted – that a benzene factory had contaminated the Songhua River – which just happens to be the only source of drinking water for the city of Harbin.
Or not the only source: there is also the newest river in China, a de-terrestrialized landscape of plastic bottles trucked in from elsewhere, hydrology under military escort.
So what is the lesson of Harbin? When a river becomes too polluted, we will simply replace it with bottled water. (Until there is nothing left to bottle).
It's the new landscape of militarized world resources.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Bryan Finoki said...

Here (via) is an article about the water supply and utility in Kenya, and how municipal utility supply is often times supplemeneted by private company dispensation, at of course rip off prices and resulting in a type of 'water supply apartheid' for the poor. anyway, interesting article, and more on the bottled water landscape...

November 26, 2005 5:59 PM  
Blogger Geoff Manaugh said...

Russia gets ready as the leak self-internationalizes.

November 27, 2005 9:24 PM  

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