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14 Feb

China Takes it Serious...

(mud) - "Hardly to be recognized as water!" In 1863, a witness to the condition of the water of the river Wupper complained. Several dyestuffs had settled on the river bank and contributed to the deplorable water condition. In 1872 the sewage of a chemical company located on the Rhine was also investigated as a result of negligence. "Considerable amounts of sulfuric acid, chloric potassium, chlorate sodium and several blue dyestuffs" were found. - Today the Wupper river as well as the Rhine river are clean again. And the fish caught in these rivers can be eaten without worry.

During the great industrialisation period environmentalists' complaints were often left unchecked, instead the dictates of industrialization were applied. Sustainable and ecological management developed very slowly. It took almost another 100 years before it found a broad resonance in industrial society. - Today, no major project is possible without prior environmental impact assessment, as well as appropriate protection and compensatory measures.

"EHS" (Environment, Health and Safety) is today the abbreviation that characterizes the environmental awareness of the population of most of today's industrialized countries. It has been realized that we must treat the earth with care if we do not want to affect the living conditions of the following generations.

What has grown in the Western industrial society in decades of conviction is now being implemented as one of the national targets in China. After all, one of the world's largest economies, clearly defines its objectives and implements them at breathtaking speed. In People's Republic of China, those responsible are apparently not willing to allow themselves for decades to come.

After all relevant environmental impact factors have been assessed / recorded by the relevant authorities by 2016 (Law of the People's Republic of China of Environmental Impact Assessment), in the chemical industry. In essence, this means that such industrial plants can only be operated in so-called 'industrial areas' with air / water / soil conservation management and corresponding official control. It is expected that more than half of the chemical companies operating in 2016 may have to cease production over the next one to three years. This process has already begun at the end of 2015; many companies have already been closed down by the authorities or are subject to production requirements.

During my many talks in China in the autumn of the year, I found that environmental protection in China is neither a lip service nor the idea of only a few. That one has to do something for the environment 'finds a wide acceptance and support in the population. Violations, on the other hand, are, in any case, never taken as a trivial offence. China is serious about environmental protection.

The "Chinese speed" in environmental protection measures in the chemical industry is impressive. I would not be surprised if the sky above China is a bit more blue on my next visit.

With Best Regards

Walter Thieme
WTH Managing Direktor