China's ever-increasing demands for energy lead to the country's high officials having to look into the possibility of expanding the national coal industry.
However, Greenpeace now warns that although having more coal mines and coal plants around will help meet new electricity needs, the strain placed on water resources might prove to be a bit too much for the latter to successfully handle.
Thus, a new report released by said organization argues that the people living in Western China and Inner Mongolia are likely to have their lifestyle negatively impacted on by the fact that, as a result of the booming coal industry, as much as 10 billion cubic meters of water will be drained out of existing resources on a yearly basis.
Moreover, the case is made that investments made into this dirty energy industry will eventually translate into increased pollution levels for the country's rivers, meaning that not only will water become scarce, but that whatever water is left available will be contaminated and therefore constitute a threat to public health.
The brief for Greenpeace's report, which can be read in its entirety on the organization's official website
, reads as follows: “Coal mining is an extremely water-intensive industry, as are coal-fired power plants and coal chemical industries. Through Greenpeace commissioned research, it is estimated that water demand created by this strategy will reach at least 9.975 billion m3 in 2015 – equivalent to one sixth of the annual total water volume of the Yellow River during a normal year.”
Furthermore, “Poorly planned and unregulated coal mining activities have already resulted in protests in areas such as Inner Mongolia. Left unchecked these mining project will only cause more ecological disaster and social unrest in the foreseeable future.”
Naturally, Greenpeace now asks that the Chinese government reconsiders its plans for expanding the country's coal industry and work towards meeting national energy demands by means of renewable power sources.