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Expedition Update From The Field, Flag #25: The Last Paddle

Mark R. Angelo, FI ‘09 and his team are currently on expedition crafting a documentary highlighting the value of the world’s rivers while also confronting several of the major threats which endanger them. Showcasing major rivers from Africa, Australia, Canada, India, to the US and beyond, the team currently finds itself in China’s Pearl River Watershed.

Starting along the Li River south of Guilin, as it moves downstream, the River picks up an increasing amount of pollutants and contaminants. While it starts off as one of China’s cleaner waterways, by the time it merges with the Pearl River, it becomes one of the country’s most polluted. The coming film will clearly illustrate this progression.

As they have progressed, Mark and his companions have discussed a number of issues centering on both water pollution and water scarcity. A substantial percentage of China’s rural population utilize water that has been contaminated by either human or industrial waste, and as a consequence, gastrointestinal cancer is the number one killer in many areas of the countryside.

On approach to the mouth of the Pearl River, industrial pollution affecting it became severe. And while the lower Pearl River continues to be referred to as the “life-blood of the world’s factory floor” (in and around Guangzhou), the river is in dire shape. It’s significantly impacted by sewage and various kinds of manufacturing plants, producing everything from cell phones and computers - to toys and textiles (the latter being a major contributor to the problem).

To that end, the team has managed to get some very effective footage during this part of their journey. The crew will now move on to Indonesia to visit the Citarum River, one of the world’s most polluted waterways. Once that trip is over, the entire crew will head back to Canada, where they’ll commence with the post production phase of the film. Their goal is to have the production completed by the end of the year, and we here are the Club are eagerly awaiting the fruit of their efforts.

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Published by : Kevin Murphy

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