Lake Taihu, the third largest freshwater body in China, once was pure and beautiful and one of my fondest childhood memories. But like many things in China, it has fallen victim of GDP-focused development and now is devastated by pollution.
In the past couple of decades, explosive industrialization and urbanization have turned Taihu's waters a freakish green with rampant algae blooms.
The crisis first made headlines in 2007 when millions of local residents found their tap water was like green Jello and were forced to find alternative drinking water. The government has since pumped billions of yuan into cleanup projects, but the effect has been very limited.
Local residents who resent these notorious algae didn't know, however, these green matters could be a valuable feedstock for the polymer industry
Thanks to the discovery of an American company, Taihu algea are being processed into dry powder and shipped to the United States to make algae-based plastics.