CHANGZHOU, China: Global sewage and water treatment firms are eyeing opportunities in an unsavoury place: a growing pile of waste in China, the world’s most populous nation.
The country has been for years battling contamination from fertilizer run-offs, heavy metals and untreated sewage. A survey in 2015 showed nearly two thirds of China’s underground water and a third of its surface water was unfit for human contact.
To reverse this, China has pledged to lay 126,000 kilometres of new sewage pipes by 2020, enough to circle the globe three times, and raise urban wastewater treatment by 50 million cubic metres a day, equal to 20,000 Olympic-size pools.
This has opened the floodgates to sewage specialists, like Israel’s Emefcy, RWL Water – controlled by Ron Lauder from Estee Lauder and France’s Veolia, who want to grab a share of the market with China’s annual environmental spend estimated at 3 trillion yuan ($441 billion) over the next five years.