When people think about China the main thing that comes to mind is its wonderful scenery and growing economy. China has been catching up to the rest of the world by industrializing. According to the organization for economic corporation department (OECD) “ Chinas Economy will overtake the U.S. as the biggest in the world by 2016”. However there are many concerns leading up to Chinas success. In the middle of China’s extraordinary economic growth and industrial growth, the energy outputs to supporting this growth has resulted in an all time high in pollution. This growth has caused China to be the most polluted country in the world.
Many parts of China are suffering from water and air pollution due to coal mining and the dumping of toxic wastes. The question we ask today is what has the government done to tackle the pollution issue? Pollution in China has been a major problem for years, dating all the way back to the Mao Zedong and the Industrial Revolution. The government was so preoccupied with the growing agriculture they overlooked the situation. However with angry citizens and protesters they tried implementing different ways to protect the environment. Environmental officials finally took action, creating different laws to improve the air quality and regulate the water.
Chinas economy is on a historic run relying on resources such as coal and water for their development. However Chinas increasingly polluted environment is largely due to the country’s hurried industry development causing large increase in energy consumption. This pollution problem has left a deadly impact on the people in China. Air pollution is so bad that in some parts citizens cant see the sun but because of the smoke and fog. The World Health Organization has estimated that this air pollution is responsible for 300,000 premature deaths annually. Those staggering numbers are a major problem that needs to be regulated. Chinese cities are covered in lethal cloak, which leads to water and air contamination. Nearly 500 million Chinese citizens lack the access to unsafe drinking water and 1 percent out of the 560 million breath safe air. China is thriving because of its expanding industry however by using resources such as coal. Coal is a useful resource however it is a very dirty source and contaminates the air when burned.
The industrial industry is allowing China to flourish economically but at the same time leaving a drastic impact on the people. One of Chinas leading environmental researchers, Wang Jinnan, announced “ It is a very awkward situation for the country because our greatest achievement is also our biggest burden”. This explains how resources such as coal contribute to the growing industry but also has deadly effects on the people. Chinas economy is on a historic run but is it worth putting peoples lives in jeopardy? China’s reliance on coal has an effect on the air quality. It is said that China burns more coal then the U.S., Europe and Japan combined. The sulfur dioxide that is emitted from the coal and fuel can affect breathing, cause respiratory illnesses and lung diseases. An unpublicized report done by the Chinese academy of Environmentalist planning said in estimate that yearly premature deaths attributed from outdoor pollution is on track to reach 550,000 in 2020.
This alarming statistic has China’s people worrying and curious to see what the government is up to. Air pollution not only affected the people but also the water, produce and other resources. The lack of fresh water in China evolves around the contamination of the Water due to illegal littering. In different regions in China factories and farms dump waste into the surface water. Chinas environmentalist monitors say “ One- third of all river, and vast sections of Chinas great lakes… have water rated grade v, the most degrading level”. As a result of this contaminated water China has the highest liver and stomach cancer deaths in the world. Water pollution is a complicated part of Chinas problem and is hard to be prevented. As a result of the dumping of wastes into main rivers and lakes many Chinese citizens don’t have fresh water to drink. Leaving many people thirsty is not a problem government official’s want for their country.
In Liangqiao, a small village in China, citizens blame the Mining Corporation for the dumping of chemicals into tributaries in the Laza River. This creates for a shortage of drinking water and untenable for agricultural use. A professor in South China’s agricultural University says, “ The mining company’s waste flows directly into the Laza River which runs into the Pearl River, a major source of drinking water for 12 million residents of Guangzhou city,” This is a horrific problem and the government needs to react now before it gets worse. Riots broke out in a Xinchang, city in China, over the environmental degradation.
Citizens are angry at the lack of government initiative in the pollution and took matters into there own hands. One outraged villager explained, “ Our fields won’t produce grain anymore…we don’t dare to eat food grown from anywhere near here”. The agriculture is declining, leaving farmers with a scarce amount of good. Government officials were overlooking this problem in order to keep the economy growing. In just 30 years china has made an extraordinary development economically and with the governments help China can thrive even further by implementing environmental regulations for the people.
Over the years, government officials implemented ways to help the pollution problem as well as maintaining economic development. Alarmed by the repercussions of industrialization and urbanization, Chinas environmental agencies are working on imputing laws to regulate the pollution. One of the first improvements made was the removal of lead, which was beneficial to Hong Kong by reducing their mortality rate. Recognizing the problem Chinese leaders such as Deng Xiaoping and Prime Minister Jiaboa are speaking out, telling the people about different environmental protection laws. Although there are many objectives set forth by the government to fix this pollution problem, no real noticeable actions have taken effect. The Chinese Government is more worried about the economy then the people.
The most determined effort control china’s fast industrial growth was the project known as the “ Green G.D.P.”, “which was an effort to create an environmental yardstick for evaluating the performance of every official in China. It recalculated the gross domestic product to reflect the cost of pollution”. This was an effort to regulate the financial loss that pollution had on the economy. However the government pulled out of the project in 2007. The Chinese government saw that the financial and economic issues that resulted from the G.D.P. such as the struggles realizing that any attempt to prevent pollution would hinder it economically. The frightened idea to interrupt China’s growing economy is a reason why China still has pollution today. In attempts to stick to their original goals to prevent pollution, China began to make continuous efforts. In Linfen, China, known as the heaviest polluted city in the word, officials have set up laws to help clean up the region.
The Xiangfen County Environmental Protection Bureau announced that seven factories will close due to their environmental harm. Chinese environmentalist Yang spoke out about the factories saying, “If they fail to meet the (pollution) goals in the first year, their superiors will raise the topic; in the second year, they will receive a formal warning; in the third year, they will be removed from post.” By threatening the closing down of factories, results in a greater up keep among factories. The only problem that would result in closing down these factories is unemployment; however, the health of the people is more important. In 2011, Toyota Motor announced that they would be making low-emission cars in China. China has the biggest market of cars and creating an environmentally safe way to market a car is upright.
Further-more, in recent years, China’s attempts to help the environment have been successful and hasn’t prevented economic progression. In the City of Lizhou, the environmental conditions were horrid because of the rapid industrialization and urbanization. However, by implementing the improvement in clean water, the citizens have benefited greatly. The Lizhou Environmental Management Project set forth to invest in sewage networks, wastewater treatment plants, and waste collection stations. As a result of the advancement, wastewater treatment in the City has increased from 15 percent in 2005 to over 75 percent in 2011. The project was designed to provide clean water for poor urban areas in China. This is a stepping-stone for China and can hopefully lead to more change.
China’s industry development dates all the way back to the Great Leap Forward when Mao’s goal was to increase agricultural output; with All things considered, the communist government has acknowledged the major pollution problem in the country but is slow in terminating it. It needs to stop worrying so much about the growing economy and think more about the health of its people, an issue that stems from the pollution problem in china. As the environmental situation declines, China will not only become a healthier, more appealing place to live, but also raise funding through tourism and environmental technology, garnering the economical gains that the government strives to get.
Courtney from Study Moose
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