Global sewage and water treatment firms are eyeing opportunities in an unsavory place: a growing pile of waste in China, the world's most populous nation. Grace Lee reports.
There may be a golden opportunity here in China's gutters, solving a multi-billion dollar problem the world's most populous nation is choking on - sewage. A mixture of fertilizer run-off, heavy metals and untreated waste water has concocted a toxic stew that China's been battling against for years. A 2015 survey showed nearly two thirds of its underground water and a third of its surface water has become unfit for human contact. And the biggest problem isn't the big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, but the countryside, where there's an overwhelming lack of sanitation infrastructure. That's where devices like this come in. They're small-scale sewage treatment units designed by an Israeli company that can scrub about 20 thousand litres a day. They can be set up quickly and don't eat up much power making them ideal for the countryside, a critical target in China's five-year plan to tackle pollution. New laws from Beijing are forcing local officials to take charge of their sewage, making them directly responsible for cleaning up. That could open the floodgates to more companies looking to snap up a share as experts say China will spend about 400 billion dollars in the next five years.