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The University of Southampton
Geography and Environmental Science

Southampton researcher’s letter published in prestigious Science journal

Published: 18 July 2013

A Southampton Research Fellow in Geography and Environment has had a letter published in the prestigious journal Science.

Dr Hong Yang is part of the team at the University of Southampton working on the Aquatest2 project - a multidisciplinary consortium led by the University of Bristol creating a low cost device to test the safety of drinking water in developing countries.

Now Hong, together with two colleagues from the Department of Geography at University College London (UCL) – Roger Flower and Julian Thompson - has had a letter published in Science on how shale-gas plans threaten China’s water resources.

Science is the world's leading outlet for scientific news, commentary, and cutting-edge research and has an estimated global readership of more than one million people.

In their letter, Hong, Roger and Julian respond to a paper previously published in Science that explores the impact of shale-gas development on regional water quality.

Their letter highlights the worldwide attention received by the impact of shale-gas development on American water quality but says the potential impacts of China’s accelerating shale-gas exploration on the nation’s water crisis have been largely ignored.

They state that many of the provinces selected for shale-gas exploration are already plagued by water shortages and that shale-gas extraction will be competing for these limited water resources with agriculture, industry and domestic sectors.

The trio also highlight the potential damage shale-gas extraction will have on China’s already polluted water environment by introducing heavy metals, acids, pesticides and other hazardous materials into the soil and aquatic environments.

Hong said: "Exploitation of China’s shale-gas reserves offer opportunities to satisfy the nation’s growing energy demands and reduce carbon emissions, but careful management and legislation will be required to avoid shortages and pollution of already stretched water resources."

To read Hong’s letter in full visit NB – the sitethe Science Magazine site is (subscription only)

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