World China: The Yangtze River is More Beautiful Than Ever

tom_mai78101

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The majestic wonders of China’s aqautic environment are yet again in the news – this time with the news that the great Yangtze River has turned rust red for “unknown” reasons.

The Yangtze River may not be famed for its clear waters, but this is the first time it has turned such a fetching shade of red.

Experts speculate pollution is the likeliest cause, with natural algal blooms considered unlikely. Chinese officials say they are “investigating.”

It is not clear whether the piranhas will be able to survive this new environment, although judging from the optimistic activity of fishermen it may be the case that the river’s waters may yet run red with a healthy new population of fish.


Normal Yangtze River looks like this below. It's heavily due to the nearby Gobi Desert that give the river a brown muddy appearance.
 
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FireCat

Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!
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Eh?! "There's nothing beautiful about it"
It's probably "chemicals" that one of there factories dumped in the river.
 

Hatebreeder

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The Gobi Desert is mineral rich. Maybe it's copper-y color comes from sedated minerals that have been lying at the bed of the river and/or have been swashedfrom the Gobi Desert. However, the bright color does seem suspicious. A simple probe of the water could lift the mystery...
 

tom_mai78101

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97% of rare-earth materials resides in the Gobi Desert. (Source.) Hatebreeder is correct.
 

FireCat

Oh Shi.. Don't wake the tiger!
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Officials still investigating the cause. So you can't be sure yet.
But, If they tell the truth in the end???, that's another matter entirely
 

FireCat

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What about this place? That's in the Gobi Desert? Hmm

From the air it looks like a huge lake, fed by many tributaries, but on the ground it turns out to be a murky expanse of water, in which no fish or algae can survive. The shore is coated with a black crust, so thick you can walk on it. Into this huge, 10 sq km tailings pond nearby factories discharge water loaded with chemicals used to process the 17 most sought after minerals in the world, collectively known as rare earths.

The town of Baotou, in Inner Mongolia, is the largest Chinese source of these strategic elements, essential to advanced technology, from smartphones to GPS receivers, but also to wind farms and, above all, electric cars. The minerals are mined at Bayan Obo, 120km farther north, then brought to Baotou for processing.. The concentration of rare earths in the ore is very low, so they must be separated and purified, using hydro-metallurgical techniques and acid baths. China accounts for 97% of global output of these precious substances, with two-thirds produced in Baotou.

The foul waters of the tailings pond contain all sorts of toxic chemicals, but also radioactive elements such as thorium which, if ingested, cause cancers of the pancreas and lungs, and leukaemia. "Before the factories were built, there were just fields here as far as the eye can see. In the place of this radioactive sludge, there were watermelons, aubergines and tomatoes," says Li Guirong with a sigh.

Read Moar Here.
 

Fatmankev

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Good job, Firecat; relative information directly from the source.
 

Hatebreeder

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The chances of the pollution being from rare-earths is really low, considering rare earths are rather valuable (anyone seen gold pollution? no?). The pollution is probably an iron compound.

Related(but not the same):
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Tinto_(river)
Yes, I had Iron(III)oxide in mind (because the color also very bright. I wouldn't know why they'd dump that into the River though since it's quite usefull.
 

Nyph

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Yes, I had Iron(III)oxide in mind (because the color also very bright. I wouldn't know why they'd dump that into the River though since it's quite usefull.
Because its one of the most common substances on earth and is worth pretty much as much as dirt is.
 

Hatebreeder

So many apples
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Because its one of the most common substances on earth and is worth pretty much as much as dirt is.
That doesn't mean it's useless and non-profitable.
It's like sorting out pickles from a burger. You may not like it, but others may like it.
If you're witty, you can gain some extra cash from "dirt".
 

Nyph

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That doesn't mean it's useless and non-profitable.
It's like sorting out pickles from a burger. You may not like it, but others may like it.
If you're witty, you can gain some extra cash from "dirt".
Yeah but if your factory is outputting thousands of tons of dirt it may be quite hard to find uses for all of it and the easiest option would just be to dump it somewhere. The people who want iron oxide would probably already have it anyway, considering its abundance.
 

Varine

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They could make a ton of thermite with it instead. Then make the river explode.
 
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