China’s “crystal town”: Industrial changes lead to environmental protection

World Today

China's crystal town Industrial changes lead to environmental protection

Zhejiang province has long been the home of a robust, crystal glass-making industry. But that also meant environmental problems, especially for the local waterways.

CCTV’s Hu Nan visited the “crystal town” to find out how the local government has made changes to keep the water as clear as its glass.

China\'s \"crystal town\": Industrial changes lead to environmental protection

China\'s \"crystal town\": Industrial changes lead to environmental protection

Zhejiang province has long been the home of a robust, crystal glass-making industry. But that also meant environmental problems, especially for the local waterways. CCTV’s Hu Nan visited the “crystal town” to find out how the local government has made changes to keep the water as clear as its glass.
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Crystal glass implies luxury, but the making of these gorgeous decorations is not as pleasant to the eye. Pujiang County in Zhejiang province is where the sparkle comes to life.

Since the 1980s, crystal glass production has been Pujiang County’s primary industry. It has taken up to 60 percent of market shares in China. However, behind the considerable economic gains were the terrifying environmental pains.

Listed the most polluted county in the nation, Pujiang was famous for its “milky river”. Tons of chemical substances were poured directly into the river, together with the dust produced during cutting and polishing of crystal glass, without any supervision.

“380,000 residents shared Pujiang County with more than 22,000 crystal glass workshops and factories when the industry was at its peak. Everyone was in this industry. The government was focused more on people’s economic benefits than the environment. Only have regulatory measures were not sufficient, or completely missing,” Vice Researcher of Zhejiang Academy of Social Sciences, Xu Youlong said.

Then a determination was finally made. Four industrial parks were built to accommodate all manufacturers and, more importantly, to bring about centralized waste water and dust treatment.

“Now, the environment is much better, besides, we don’t have to deal with the waste water and dust anymore. The government and industrial park management took care of it. So we can focus our capital and strength on branding and marketing of high quality products,” Zhang Bijun, the chairman of Hualei Crystal Co. Ltd, said.

The rest of the 600 companies that survived the upgrading and integration now dominate the market, while thousands of home workshop owners are now engaged in other economic activities such as farming and tourism.