Chinese Rivers – more polluted or more reported?

A recent article in Chemistry World reported 20tonnes of Cadmium had been released into Longjiang River last January and Phenol was leaked into the Yangze not long after, contaminating drinking water supplies for millions of people.

It is unclear however whether the rise in environmental incidents is correlated to an actual rise in pollution, due to inconsistent and poorly enforced policies, or a result of increasing awareness and recognition of the impacts of these incidents.

RSC article on Pharmaceuticals in Waste Water and the Withdrawal of ‘Return Unused Drugs’ Policy in US

This article make disturbing reading for me in my field – yes, transporting drugs back to origin will release more CO2 but not disposing of pharmaceuticals responsibly can have huge impacts for the environment.  Surely more appropriate prescriptions and low carbon transport are better paths to follow rather than advising large quantities of drugs to be just chucked away?

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/News/2012/May/drug-waste-unused-medicine.asp