Pearl River Delta - China

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Pearl River Delta - Location & Economic Developmen


The Pearl River Delta Region in China, in the Guangdong Province, is the lowland area surrounding the Pearl River estuary where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea
Guangdong province is situated at the southernmost tip of Mainland China adjacent to Hong Kong and Macau
The Pearl River Delta is the third longest river in China
It is the focal point of massive investment in China

The manufacturing industries in this area employ 30 million people.
The Shenzhen region produces 70% of the Worlds photocopies and 80% of the Worlds artificial Christmas trees.
The Dongguan specialises in running shoes, employing 80,000 people in one factory.

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Pearl River Delta - Reasons for Location


The population of delta region is estimated at 120 million, companies move there for the cheap labour as many workers are already situated in the area.

There are many transport links in and around the Pearl River delta region, allowing easy shipping and distribution of goods around the world, and transporting materials into factories. Includes shipping, trains, air transport from many nearby airports, (Guangzhou Baiyun International Airport)

The Pearl River delta's growth was fueled by foreign investment coming largely from Hong Kong manufacturers that moved into the delta region. This orientation has attracted worldwide investors who use the Greater Pearl River Delta region as a platform for serving global and Chinese markets. This investment may also have caused agglomeration of secondary industry in the area, resulting in more tax and money to develop the region further.

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Pearl River Delta - Environmental Concerns


  • Air pollution- from power plants burning coal creating sulphur dioxide and nitrogen which cause acid rain
  • Pollution from factory waste and untreated sewage- the river water is only ok for farming land and not drinking
  • The Pearl River Delta drains into the South China sea, which is endangering species like the Chinese White Dolphin

(In 2007, 8/10 rainfalls in Guangzhou (and 45% in the province) were classified as acid rain.
This is caused by a high concentration of factories and a growing number of cars.)

Half of the waste water in the urban areas of Guangdong is not treated before being dumped in rivers. The area aims to cut chemical water pollution of water by 15% by 2010.
Almost all urban areas have reduced vegetation cover. This has resulted in serious erosion of land.
The Environmental Protection Bureau classifies the environmental situation as ‘severe’.

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Pearl River Delta - Solutions


The government is spending $7.1 billion to help clean up the river (by building 30 new sewage works)
The Pearl River Delta air quality management plan aims to reduce Sulphur dioxide emitted from power plants by 40% by using natural gas instead of coal.
Higher sewage treatment charges

Stricter pollution regulations on factories 
Tougher national regulations in vehicle emissions

In 2007 and 2008,  World Bank granted loans to the government to reduce water pollution in the Pearl River delta and to clean up the river’s sewage problems. This includes building water treatment plants. As of 2008, the Central Government introduced new labor laws, environmental and other regulations to reduce pollution, industrial disputes, produce safer working conditions and protect the environment.

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