Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

Villages situated on the banks of the Shenzen river in south China are at the receiving end of the booming development in Hong Kong, as thousands of tonnes of industrial, livestock and human waste are dumped into the river. Efforts at cleaning up the river by Hong Kong have proved futile because of lack of treatment plants and lax controls on the Chinese side.

The polluted Shenzen river flows into the Deep Bay where the water has turned dirty and smelly despite it being declared a water control zone. The 20-km-long Shenzen river drains a catchment area of 300 sq km, including the Mai Po marsh - one of the largest remaining mangroves on the south China coast. Overpopulation has compounded the problem. According to Shenzen Environmental Protection Bureau, 46 million tonnes of waste water was discharged by households and industries last year. Only 10 per cent of the household waste water is treated by the two treatment plants in the city.

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