Crack Down on Illegal Mining

Target: Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China

Goal: Close down illegal mines in order to prevent dangerous pollution

Guangxi, one of China’s poorest provinces, has an enduring problem with illegal mines. This issue primarily persists in the province due to spotty regulatory oversight and limited economic alternatives. Recently, more than 100 small mines were found operating illegally along the Hejiang River in Guangxi. Although the local government was able to close these mines, an estimated 30,000 people will have their regular water supply interrupted for three weeks after it was discovered that pollution from the mines had entered into the river.

Initially, the local government found nothing wrong with the water supply. When multitudes of dead fish began to appear in the river, officials attempted to determine the cause. An investigation determined that heavy rains had swept unsecured industrial waste from the mining sites into the river. Testing of the water concluded that the chemicals cadmium and thallium, both known carcinogens, were present in significant amounts. Unfortunately, the river supplies drinking water to downstream residents. Xu Zhencheng, vice-director of the South China Institute of Environmental Sciences and leader of a pollution task force appointed by the local government, stated that “about 110 km of the river is polluted now.”

In response to the incident, the Guangxi Environmental Protection Department set up 14 temporary water quality monitoring points along the river. The nation’s central government also recently committed 500 million renminbi ($80 million) to groundwater cleanup campaigns in northern China. With that being said, these efforts are mostly responses to long-standing mine pollution in the region. By signing this petition, you are demanding that that the Chinese government crack down on illegal mining. Regulations and other preventative measures need to be established so that the nation’s drinking water supply is not compromised in the future.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Jinping,

Guangxi, one of your nation’s poorest provinces, has an enduring problem with illegal mines. Recently, more than 100 small mines were found operating illegally along the Hejiang River in Guangxi. Although the local government was able to close these mines, an estimated 30,000 people will have their regular water supply interrupted for three weeks after it was discovered that pollution from the mines had entered into the river.

It appears that heavy rains had swept unsecured industrial waste from the mining sites into the Hejiang. Unfortunately, the river supplies drinking water to downstream residents. Some officials question why the local government’s environmental protection bureau does not have the ability to detect these types of problems immediately. Furthermore, mining waste is required to be adequately stored by law. Researchers claim that if local supervisory authorities fulfilled their duties, these incidents would be significantly reduced.

Recent efforts by the central government to combat water pollution are mostly responses to long-standing mine pollution issues. Promising solutions, such as carefully designed subsidy programs, are being implemented by some local governments and should be considered nationwide. I am demanding that that your government crack down on illegal mining. Regulations and other preventative measures need to be established so that the nation’s drinking water supply is not compromised in the future.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: Peter Van den Bossche via Wikimedia Commons

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