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Mousehound
02-22-2009, 06:58 AM
http://www.sciencedaily.com/images/2009/02/090220185537.jpg
Open boats on Shennong Stream, in the Three Gorges off the Yangtze River in China. Glaciers in the Yangtze source area, central to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in south-western China, have receded 196 square kilometres over the past 40 years. (Credit: iStockphoto/Ivor Clarke)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 22, 2009) — Glaciers that serve as water sources to one of the most ecologically diverse alpine communities on earth are melting at an alarming rate, according to a recent report.

A three-year study, to be used by the China Geological Survey Institute, shows that glaciers in the Yangtze source area, central to the Qinghai-Tibet plateau in south-western China, have receded 196 square kilometres over the past 40 years.

Glaciers at the headwaters of the Yangtze, China's longest river, now cover 1,051 square kilometres compared to 1,247 square kilometres in 1971, a loss of nearly a billion cubic metres of water, while the tongue of the Yuzhu glacier, the highest in the Kunlun Mountains fell by 1,500 metres over the same period.

Melting glacier water will replenish rivers in the short term, but as the resource diminishes drought will dominate the river reaches in the long term. Several major rivers including the Yangtze, Mekong and Indus begin their journeys to the sea from the Tibetan Plateau Steppe, one of the largest land-based wilderness areas left in the world.

“Once destroyed it will be extremely difficult to restore the high-altitude ecosystems,” said Dr Li Lin, head of Conservation Strategies for WWF-China. “If industrialized and developing countries do not focus their efforts on cutting emissions, some of this land will be lost forever and local populations will be displaced.”

Glacier retreat has become a major environmental issue in Tibet, particularly in the Chang Tang region of northern Tibet. The glacier melting poses severe threats to local nomads’ livelihoods and the local economy.

The most common impact is that lakes are increasing due to glacier melting and some of the best pastures are submerged. Meanwhile small glaciers are disappearing due to the speed of glacier melting and drinking water has become a major issue.

“This problem should convince governments to adopt a ‘mountain-to-sea’ approach to manage their rivers, the so-called integrated river basin management, and to ratify the UN Water Convention as the only international agreement by which to manage transboundary rivers,” said Li Lifeng, Director of Freshwater, WWF International.

“It should also convince countries to make more effort to protect and sustainably use their high altitude wetlands in the river source areas that WWF has been working on.”

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090220185537.htm

caonacl
02-22-2009, 02:27 PM
Since they use bacteria based fertilizers in China, I wonder if they have consided the impact on the BOD at the 3Gorges water shed from increased agricultural run-off. Typically run-off has ended up dumping into the South China Sea and produced some algae blooms. Now, it is likely to accumulate within the 3Gorges water shed.


Clone Technology Expected to Be Used in Water Pollution Control

Clone and other biological technologies may be used in controlling pollution of rivers and lakes, Chinese environment experts said.

Guo Huiguang, director of the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, said that the technology has made it possible the transition of China's agriculture from traditional to ecological agriculture.

By means of clone technology, he said, some bacteria can be turned into a kind of bacterial fertilizer to absorb and solidify nutritious substances in soil and air.

"The bacteria fertilizer will not cause pollution as chemical fertilizer does. On the contrary, it can provide plants with balanced full range of nutrients," he said.

"Plants will grow stronger and become more resistant to diseases and pests and their quality will be much improved," he said.

The bacteria have the functions of solidifying nitrogen in soil and air and to dissolve phosphorus and potassium that are essential to plant growth.
Guo, also deputy director of the Chinese Research & Engineering Center of Lake Environment, said that he still insisted on banning sale and use of phosphorus-containing washing powder around the Dianchi Lake in Kunming and urged to tackle another pollution source, fertilizer.

As the sixth largest lake in China, the 307 square kilometer Dianchi Lake is situated in the southwestern part of Kunming City, capital of Yunnan Province. The Chinese government has set the goal of totally controlling the pollution in the three major lakes including the Dianchi Lake.

One of major polluting sources to the lake is chemical fertilizer, he said.

About 70 to 80 percent of the chemical fertilizers applied are washed away into rivers and lakes, he said.

In China, a large agricultural country in the world, more than half of the pollutants to rivers, lakes and seas come from farm production.

On the other hand, the abuse of chemical fertilizer hardens the soil.

Dai Li, a researcher engaged in bacteria fertilizer at Guo's institute, said that parsley (celery) with bacteria fertilizer grows better than that with chemical fertilizer," Dai added.

As bacteria fertilizer can turn solid nitrogen in soil into ionic nitrogen which can be easily absorbed by plants, it is suitable for application to hardened soil.

Zhang Tao, an engineer at the Yunnan Institute of Environmental Sciences, said that no matter what kinds of bacteria are used to make fertilizer, the biological technology is the key to reducing pollution in rivers and lakes.

To check the pollution in the Dianchi Lake, Zhang Tao and his colleagues are planning to open up a lakeside belt with swamps or shallow waters to raise water plants.

"The water plants can further lower the proportion of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the polluted water and let clean water run into lakes," Zhang said. He said that he is convinced that the biological technology applied to pollution control project in Dianchi Lake will set an example in the country.

http://www.people.com.cn/english/199904/30/chnmedia.html

caonacl
02-22-2009, 02:31 PM
RE: post aove

When you consider all of the antibiotics being flushed into the rivers and lakes along with the bacteria based fertilizer, it's not hard to believe that a superbug might evolve. Let's hope it remains harmless.

caonacl
02-22-2009, 06:04 PM
RE: post aove

When you consider all of the antibiotics being flushed into the rivers and lakes along with the bacteria based fertilizer, it's not hard to believe that a superbug might evolve. Let's hope it remains harmless.
http://crest.ccny.cuny.edu/seminar/2008/APR/full%20presentations/Joe_Kai_Qin.pdf

caonacl
02-22-2009, 06:10 PM
Reference post above:
Maybe they can use that algae as feedstock to a biofuels plant. In any case, they should find a good(economic) reason to wthdraw it from the watershed.

Maybe they sqeeze it into squares can sell them to America as Green Natural Food Bars