The Stream, November 17, 2021: Meet The Activist Saving a Polluted Chinese Lake


  • Heavy rainstorms wreaked havoc in the Canadian province of British Columbia, forcing the evacuation of an entire small town.
  • A new report finds water and energy use from Oahu hotels did not decrease in 2020 despite lockdown orders.
  • A study from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency links proximity to agricultural land to high levels of toxic algal blooms in Midwestern lakes.
  • United Nations experts will assess plans to release treated radioactive water into the ocean from a closed nuclear power plant in Japan.

A Chinese environmental activist devotes his life to a deteriorating lake.

“The lake is a living being, but it has no voice in the story. It is my duty to defend it.” – Environmental activist Zhang Zhengxiang. The 74-year-old told AFP that he feels he has a duty to protect the Lake Dian in southwestern China, after unfortunate circumstances left him alone and living in the wild as a child. Decades of pollution from agriculture, industry, and mining have coated the once-crystal clear waters with green algae. Zhengxiang has spent his life advocating for the lake, and has successfully stopped over 200 factories from operating near its waters.


In Case You Missed It:  

What’s Up With Water – November 15, 2021 – This week’s episode cover’s a hunger crisis in Afghanistan and a project in New Jersey’s largest city to remove lead service lines.

HotSpots H2O: In Afghanistan, Political Upheaval Aggravates Drought-Fueled Famine – Drought, a financial crisis, and political collapse are accelerating the country’s decline into all-out famine.

Rainstorms Wreak Havoc in British Colombia

Heavy rain in the Canadian province of British Columbia forced officials to issue an evacuation order for all 7,100 residents in the town of Merritt this week. Al Jazeera reports the rainstorms also triggered landslides, completely shut down roads and forced an oil pipeline to stop operating.



A new report found that despite lockdown orders, hotels in Oahu, Hawaii continued to use massive amounts of water and electricity, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. The neighborhood of Waikiki reportedly consumed 2.5 million gallons of water during 2020, only one million less than during 2019, when tourism peaked on the island.

369 LAKES 

A new study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency of 369 lakes in the Midwestern United States, published in Water Resources Research, found that close proximity to agriculture increases risks of toxic algal blooms in the water. The study found that in during the 2011 “bloom season” from July to October, 56 percent of lakes near agricultural land had cyanobacteria levels that exceeded original thresholds from the World Health Organization, versus 41 percent of lakes in areas with natural land cover.


A team of experts from the United Nations will assess Japan’s plans to release treated radioactive water from the Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean. The Associated Press that the plant’s operator announced plans earlier this year to slowly release the treated water beginning in the spring of 2023. The announcement received criticism from fishermen, local residents, and neighboring countries like China and South Korea.

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