Xiangjiang River: 817 Kilometers of Beauty and Pollution

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

From Sina:

Xiangjiang in Photos: 817 Kilometers of Beauty and Pollution

Our Xiangjiang River

It might take a hundred million years for the land to create a river;
it takes ten thousand years for a river to nurture a group of creatures;
it takes a thousand years for these creatures to build a city beside the river;
but, it might only take a hundred years for a river to be destroyed.

On September 10th, at Butang Ferry of Qiyang River, a large number of sand digging vessels stirred the deposits in the river, like yellow foams of vomit floating on the surface of water, forcing the river to be contaminated again. The polluted Xiangjiang River in the photographers’ shots affected every single nerve of us volunteers. Those of us who originally thought we’d see beautiful scenery instead were weighed down with a heavy heart all along the way. Is this our Xiangjiang River? Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper [click images to enlarge]

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

From September 4th to September 21st, the First Environmentally Conscious Activity of Floating throughout Xiangjiang River Valley was carried out. Volunteers took 18 days taking more than a thousand photographs recording the beautiful view and environmental issues of the Xiangjiang River. Picture made by Shuai Lingxi of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

On September 5th, in the fog, the floating in the Ling River of Xingan County, Guangdong Province, started. There are around 20 million people living alongside the Xiangjiang River Valley; they drink water directly from the waters of Xiangjiang River. However, due to a lack of long-term and effective supervision on the emission of industrial waste along the Valley, Xiangjiang River has become one of the rivers in China that are most severely polluted by heavy metals. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

On September 8th, Shiyantou Village of Shiqihe River, Yongzhou, there were large amounts of garbage. The Villagers don’t have a waste treatment plant, so the villagers discarding these non-degradable garbage is a problem. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

September 7th, Lashan County’s Yegouling range is one of the sources of the Xiangjiang River, and the only one thankfully with water. Water flows down from the highlands, with the water having a beautiful milky white color when a slow shutter speed is used to take the shot. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

Xiangjiang River’s first-level tributary, Chongling Water, flows through Songbo Town and to Jiangyou Lake fraught with chromic slags. Red water like blood is left in this man-made lake, slowly infiltrating to the entrance of Xiangjiang River. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

Shigu Academy has accompanied Xiangjiaing River and Zhengshui Rivier for over a thousand years. Seeing the fascinating scenery from a boat, we temporarily forget the lands contaminated by heavy metals. Photographed by Xu Huiming of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

At the drainage gate of Jianning harbor, Zhuzhou, sewage is directly discharged into the waters of Xiangjiang River. A skyscraper in the city is reflected on the surface of water with distinctive colors of black and white. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

A pontoon bridge on the waters of Xiaoshui River (the largest tributary of Xiangjiang River) in Liuzimiao, Lingling District, Yongzhou City. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

In the waters of Xiangjigng River in Santan Village, Hengdong County where water samples are taken, all kinds of domestic refuse and pharmaceutical bottles are carelessly disposed of. Eutrophication, sand-digging vessels and fishing with electricity have made the water an unbearable sight. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

In Xiangjiang River through Yongzhou City, sand-digging vessels abound in the water, making deep and shallow pits here and there. Simply passing through the waters safely was like playing the MapleStory game for the team members. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

In Zhushan, Yongzhou City, the manganese ore has harmed the mountains; the fields have begun to crack. The dazzling red is in sharp comparison with the green plants around. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

September 14th, the entrance where Zhenshui River flows into Xiangjiang River, Eichhornia crassipes grow profusely due to eutrophication. Small restaurants on fishing boats around nourish the growth of such water plants. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

On September 11th, chromic slags were found in Songbo Town, Changning City, carelessly dumped by the side of the river no more than 1000 meters from the mouth of the Xiangjiang River. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

On September 15th, at the drainage gate of Xiawan smeltery in Qingshuitang, Zhuzhou City, water stinks and runs noisily like a cascade. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

On September 16th, at the drainage gate of Yisu River, Tieniubu, Xiangtan County, soil and sand on the beach of Xiangjiang River have become black and disgusting with a putrid smell. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Xiangjiang River photographs, of beauty and of pollution.

In the evening of September 11th, volunteers secretly visited the smelter enterprise located in Songbo Town, Changning City beside the Xiangjiang Rivier. The chimney is brazenly puffing dense smoke into the air. The heavily wounded Xiangjiang River is wearing away. Photographed by Li Feng of Xiaoxiang Morning Paper

Comments from Sina:


Those enterprises brazenly discharging wastes should be heavily fined until they go bankrupt, never to recover. Those officials in relevant governmental departments who are responsible for supervision and oversight should be dismissed from their positions and put in jail, never to be given a post ever again.


I grew up in Shanghai. At 20, I came to Hunan province. That was 1973 and at that time, the water of the Xiangjiang River was clear and clean, with golden sand on the shores, with little shrimp and fish visible in the water. We stepped on the soft sand and swam in the water, while wooden boats paddled slowly in the middle of the river. I had never met such a beautiful place. Our Shanghai’s Huangpu River was muddy, stunk, and the drinking water from it was difficult to swallow. The streets of Changsha [the capital of Hunan Province] were of particular ethnic characteristics with sidewalks made of small pebbles, wells and green trees everywhere. Houses were also special. In the city, one could see 2-story wooden houses with unique style. But now buildings are neither Western nor Eastern and are poorly organized. In the Wast you see a building with European style, while in the west you see a outdated building with Chinese style. All of those building are messily put together with no order. It has ruined such a great city.


The failure of the local government.


Great photographs, but according to Chinese convention, they must be seen by a government official with a relatively higher rank. Then the official can do something.


It is the management of the environment that should be used to evaluate a government official’s work.

[email protected]:

Maybe within 10 years, there won’t even be any more drinkable water.


Hurry and save the river of my hometown! It’s not just pollution, but also deforestation of the upper reaches of its tributaries and now practically there’s no more water flowing!


This is what our current situation is. For the interests of the minority, it’s not enough that everyone suffers, they also have to exercise arbitrary and arrogant rule over us poor folk!


This kind of economic development is worse than not developing. This is a model of suicide! Polluting is easy, but managing [pollution] is difficult. We can no longer use the model of economic development first and then management/conservation afterward! The only thing that can destroy humanity on the earth is humanity itself!!!

Help us maintain a vibrant and dynamic discussion section that is accessible and enjoyable to the majority of our readers. Please review our Comment Policy »
  • Chris N.

    This is probably the “pollute first, control later” adage China hearts so dearly. (先污染,后治理)

    • aflame

      Isn’t it “破而后立”

  • It’s sad to see how the world is being polluted: slowly, slowly, bit by bit, land after land, river after river we are killing ourselves.

  • Brett Hunan

    Okay, this is my territory. I lived in a tiny town called Xintang, next to Hengshan (between the 4th and 5th dots on the map). The Xiang river ran through our town.

    The landscape surrounding the Xiang is really beautiful… although in that region you would be hard-pressed to see further than 200 meters clearly most days.

    All of our fish in the town came from that river. The crops were irrigated with that water. Our running water, although treated, came from that river. Who knows what kind of heavy metals were in those fish and vegetables? The ironic thing was, at that time, I thought I was eating more healthily than ever before on a diet consisting of mostly rice and vegetables.

    • whododat

      You have fish that has 3 eyes and maggots in the meat, brown foam and scum floating on the water, foul taste in the water, babies born with skin rash, bears with glowing eyes and open soars, Indians with mercury poisoning and do people get sick living near the water too?

      Oops that’s in many of the great lakes in Canada, well it’s a small world. We had it now you have it, like all our jobs.

      So you have it there too. hey Brett?

      • Brett Hunan

        Im sorry I didn’t know this was a penis measuring competition…?

        • mr. weiner

          I think with his last snipe at the end there he has conclusively proven he is the bigger penis…

          • whododat

            You are fucking right mr. tiny weiner.

            Brett you dumbass cocksucker, didn’t your mama tell you not to play with your tiny weiner.

            And you deserve to live there and nowhere else in the western world of plenty and golden streets.

          • mr. weiner

            Odd’s bodkins, I seem to have annoyed a troll, or one of those mangey street dogs , or whatever.
            Grow up a little laddie. Winning a chatroom flaming match is a bit like winning a medal in the special olympics; at the end of the day it’s nothing of great value …and you are still retarded.

          • whododat

            And what are you mr. weiner?

            A white master or something in Taiwan?

            May be you are just another troll that is a fake Aussie, laddie.

          • mr. weiner

            There are pretend Australians now? I’ll take that as a compliment as to how classy we Aussies are. We got class coming out of our arse.

          • Brett Hunan

            WhodoRat, I am not Chinese. What are you talking about? You don’t even write like a native English speaker…. “western world of plenty and golden streets.” ??????? Elaborate if you can muster it.

        • Tengu

          @ Mr. tiny weiner and Brett you dumbass cocksucker:

          “…many of the great lakes….” – I thought there were only 5.

          “…where all the fish use it as their washroom,” – Inference is the fish use it as a washroom only and then go elsewhere for dinner, recreation, mating…

          @ Brett, doing well, out and about, but returning to the “western world of plenty and golden streets” very soon.

    • whododat

      And the photos looks like one or many of the great lakes, like lake Ontario or may lake Erie not long ago.

      We drink and use the water from the lakes where all the fish use it as their washroom, where the sewer empties, where we swim with the shit floating on the water, where we wash our ass and pee, and where all the shit, refuse and waste water goes.

      We got used to it and live thru it, you will too.

      • Peasant

        What’s with your mouth? Cuz you wash it with that water you talked about?

  • Pong Lenis

    Stay calm! The Chinese government was working hard to identify the problem – it’s the environment. The work very hard to get rid of it now and they had great success with that the last 20 years.

    • Zabal

      “The work very hard to get rid of it now and they had great success with that the last 20 years.”

      No they don’t…

      • Pong Lenis

        Yes they do. A few more years and the environment problem will be solved by getting rid of the environment altogether. LOL

        • Zabal

          Sorry, I read too quickly and didn’t get the irony the first time.
          My bad. :)

          • Tengu

            I do that all the time…

  • 平凡人

    China has very strict environmental laws, however, they are not enforced properly; enforcement officers are often bribed. On top of that, short sighted Chinese business men would not want to invest in treatment facilities to treat effluent as they feel that they are too costly. They are making money at the expense of the next generation. Do you know why the rest of the world are buying pollutive processes from China (e.g. electro plating)? Becos these silly business men only think about money.

    • Xiongmao

      A very small percentage of the Chinese get really rich these days on this system. The remaining 99.99 percent of the Chinese suffer and the next generations as well. The lucky few might get our money now but in the end all of China will be left with a huge bill to pay. Funny how communism works out.

  • The picture with a little waterfall looks so beautiful – better than PhotoShop.

  • Suijen

    平凡人 is right.

    “It’s not my problem, so why should I care? I’m too busy buying a BMW to give a damn about my community and country.”

    • whododat

      And with a pretty BMW you can drive over all the shit and don’t have to stop for the peasants crossing those dirty streets.

  • Mr.T

    This is a problem all over China, the rural country side is fucking disgusting. The farmers, rural people what ever you want to call them are like gypsies, they just throw the rubbish any and every where. I spent long days out in the county side riding my motorbike about and it never ceases to amaze me how they just throw red bag rubbish into rivers and pile up out side buildings where people live. There is no collection service that I can see in operation anywhere. All this eventually floats out to sea to that “plastic soup” of waste floating in the Pacific Ocean. There seems to be no one accountable for this in China.
    What gets me about it all is most other civilized countries turn this rubbish into big money, how as China missed that golden opportunity?

    • aflame

      Too complicated to shanzhai I guess.

      • aflame

        Or they haven’t find the most “economical” material to make fake rubbish.

    • Xiongmao

      Sad but true. I’ve visited my wife’s family many times now and one can’t help but notice how left behind these people are. The village has some 3000 people mostly farmers with low education – my wife was the first one in her extended family to get a real education- and they’ve only recently organized a waste removal system. Thing is 10-15 years ago many of these villages just didn’t get plastic bags, bottles, wrapping paper or all the shit we see thrown everywhere and when it began arriving they didn’t know what should be done, no one came and told them and no one on a local government level took any action. These people are left behind in every sense of the words, no one really cares about them as long as they supply a cheap and steady stream of rice, wheat, meat and vegetables to the cities. Oh,, and it doesn’t exactly help either that most Chinese people don’t have a shred of social conscience, in this case manifested in how many of them throw trash everywhere they go, even if they are right next to a bin.

  • Foreign Devil

    Chinese disregard for their environment is simply appalling and will cause them incredible distress in the near future with increased instances of desertification, drought, contaminated water, flash floods and landslides. But there is hope if they change their attitudes. . nature can restore itself surprisingly quick if humans co-operate. I can say this because I live in an area that was the largest Nickel mine in the world. and the tailings and smeltering process air pollution 50-60 years ago combined with intense logging turned the area in a a barren wasteland. . . Acid rain finished the job. But now through major work. . planting vegetation. . liming the stones and lakes to restore PH balance. . . the area has been restored to health and the lakes and rivers once again full of fish. The trees here are not very tall since they are not more than 40 years old. . but the area looks quite nice now. . and very clean air and water.

  • mp

    I’ve seen worse. And at least the river hasn’t caught fire…yet. So they’ve got that going for them.

    • Tengu

      The Cuyahoga, that was one of our finest moments, but only 84 miles long and now a lot of the pollution has been reversed..even fish in it again. There were none.

      Issue here is this river is still small compared to the Yellow River or the Yangtze, but the Xiangjiang River is a major tributary of the Yangtze.

      The Yellow River is the most polluted river in the world and the current consensus among scientists is that is beyond any hope of reclamation, 1/3 of it is currently unfit for industrial or agricultural use…forget use by humans.

      So you’ll have the 2nd longest river in China, the 6th longest in the world and it will be dead and useless within a few years.

      Yangtze is following the same path.

      You can last longer without food than you can without water.

  • DRaY

    Let me join the CHina bashing … Chinese.. blah blah blah..litter,blah blah blah…pollution, blah blah blah…. clean up blah blah blah…. too much pollution, blah blah blah , ……
    All of the white countries have destroyed so much of the world and now you have nothing better to do that rag of other countries trying to get to another level…. Yes China is making huge mistakes , but fuck it they want to get to the top. Cant make an omelet without breaking a few eggs… They will realize the error of their ways and start to clean up. It will be too late and a generation , maybe 2 that grew up in the most polluted areas will die horribly from the pollution. Nothing that we haven’t seen in America.

    • 平凡人

      Wow! What have they done to you?
      Going to the top (or next level) as you have put it, is the right thing for every country to do. However at what pace and what risks to take really depends on internal parties; external parties has little or no influence.
      We need to learn from our own mistakes and mistakes made by others, take criticism with the right attitude.

      • mr. weiner

        Oww! and I thought Whododat had issues.

        • Tengu

          I think we had “APE FIGHTZ” in a previous post.

          At least our sweetie Hongjian was simply going to line us up, shoot us or gas us. I assume whatever fate befell us depended on her “cycle” for some odd reason.

          No we’re having our anuses repeatedly torn asunder by primates.

          I know Chimps will “murder” each other, but the “gang bang” is news to me, however it does go a long way in explaining Jane Goodall’s dedication.

          Easy for you to laugh Mr Wieiner, your Aussie Anus is safe.

          Sorry, your pretend Aussie Anus!

    • roger dodger

      woah dude chill….. gang raped by chimpanzees ? you really have an active imagination.what did Americans personally ever do to you?. Those pictures do show very badly polluted areas, or do you think the Chinese government deserves a pat on the back.
      Just for reference I doubt a chimpanzee could gang rape anyone but a gorilla could do it.

      • DRaY

        @roger dodger
        Gorilla rape??? that shit sounds brutal…… no where to run no where to hide…….. forget my first post.. you win

    • YO Dr. DRay

      join the CHina loving党!

      Song of the Article + 4 U



      -from China


    • GodsHammer

      However, they are 1/5 of the world and we don’t have the luxury (time or environmental margin) of letting them ‘find out’ all the shit that we already did. At the rate that they change things culturally, people will start to pay attention to the environment sometime in the year 2500. The scale is something that we haven’t seen in America, so why can’t they learn from us and SKIP this phase? It’s the year 2012 not 1912…

      • DRaY

        Yeah, they should start to educate their ppl… It is getting out of hand, but what do you do??? Just sick of watching the news in the west and hearing them bash China…. If they feel so strongly about it … stop trading with China, until China reforms their entire country, to be like America and then let’s have them consume and waste as much as Americans do. Then I am sure things would be much worse than they are now…… There is no easy solution.

    • Xiongmao

      I imagine when DRay’s kid die from drinking contaminated milk, bathing in a river or wearing poisonous clothes he’ll change his tune.

    • he xie

      I can’t stand it when people compare China to America, or other countries. It is useless and irrelevant. Just because America made bad decisions doesn’t mean China gets a free pass to do whatever they want to the environment. Polluting environments they large companies in this situation have done is not fair to Chinese people, China’s environment and not fair to the whole world.

  • Xiongmao

    And people keep asking me why I never eat fish or shellfish in China,,

  • HeXie

    I remember running next to the XiangJiang in Hengyang.
    I have also seen multiple dead pigs wash ashore and sit for weeks, however at time it appeared nice. I swam across the river once, and knew many students who swam in it during the hot summers.

    • he xie

      Oi! you took my name!

      • HeXie

        I’ve had this name for years.

  • dim mak

    Economic development is more important.

    That being said, in the long run it would probably cost a ton of money/time/effort to “fix” this sort of pollution so it might be worth it to go slow and manage the waste properly today

  • vakeesan

    Very nice, I bet chinese are going to say it’s not china and the people in the pictures are not chinese

    • Ray

      Temporary workers polluting the environment? How awful!

  • Tony

    China has most beautiful places on earth that other places cannot compare but corrupted and selfish govt and business pple have ruined it. Chinese pple are the traitors to their own country. Hurry up! Save your country.

  • Andy

    If Chinese people can’t even be bothered with personal hygiene then how can you expect them to be environmentally responsible ?

    • HeXie

      Keep your ethnocentric comments that stereotype the Chinese people to yourself.

  • Simon

    Chinese people are mean to their own land
    Not because the land is mean to them
    But for last 60 plus years and for the forseeable future years
    This land has been and will continue to be cursed
    As long as the Satan corpse remains occupying the ground of Tiananmen

    • Just John

      All I got out of your rant is blah blah blah Satan…
      So, you are claiming the devil makes them do it?

    • moldavidian

      I get what you’re saying… you mean to say that satan is the CCP. Not difficult to understand.

  • Amazed

    I’m an English teacher in Shanghai……I was very sad last night at my English corner on “tourists visiting China” when some of my students were against it. When I asked them why they told me that tourists harm the environment and pollute the country! They gave me the example of all the rubbish left by “tourists” that climb “Mount Everest”. I mentioned to them that most people climb Everest from the South side though Nepal and I would call them climbers but they seemed to believe the peak of Everest is in China. I really wonder what they teach in schools here? I really hope these guys are not representing the majority of Chinese and that not everyone believes that tourists are to blame for the damaged environment here.

    • moldavidian

      Very interesting… it’s the first time i’ve heard about this. In Qingdao, it’s very obvious who is polluting the environment and most people seem to be aware of the problem but you won’t see anyone doing much about it. Most of the time, when i pick up trash that i watched someone throw down, the culprit is also not a local. I explain to them that although i’m not from Qingdao, that i love the city more then they do… and perhaps love China more as well. I tell them that the people of Qingdao don’t appreciate them making the city dirty. Usually, they become embarrassed, apologize and take the trash from me to dispose of properly. Others just pretend it wasn’t them despite what i saw them do. I think if some people who care enough and have time should video these folks, confront them, then post the video on Youku to shame them. This might help to turn things around since the government education system seems to be failing them in this regard.

Personals @ chinaSMACK - Meet people, make friends, find lovers? Don't be so serious!»