China’s environment issues
China’s rise as an economic power have cause its environmental degradation. The environmental degradation is now so severe, with such stark domestic and international repercussions, that pollution poses not only a major long-term burden on the Chinese public but also an acute political challenge to the ruling Communist Party. And it is not clear that China can keep its economic growth without considering to solve the environmental problems.
Public health is reeling. Pollution has made cancer China’s leading cause of death, the Ministry of Health says. Ambient air pollution alone is blamed for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. Nearly 500 million people lack access to safe drinking water.
Environmental issues are common in China: industrial cities where people rarely see the sun; children killed or sickened by lead poisoning or other types of local pollution; a coastline so swamped by algal red tides that large sections of the ocean no longer sustain marine life.
China is choking on its own development of the economic success. The economy is on a historic run, posting a succession of double-digit growth rates. But the growth derives, now more than at any time in the recent past, from a staggering expansion of heavy industry and urbanization that requires colossal inputs of energy, almost all from coal, the most readily available, and dirtiest, source. But the situation is not so happy for Chinese people. The greatest achievement of this country’s economy also become its biggest burden.
‘Economic growth is a necessary but not sufficient condition of economic development.'There is no single definition that encompasses all the aspects of economic development. The most comprehensive definition perhaps of economic development is the one given by Todaro:‘Development is not purely an economic phenomenon but rather a multi – dimensional process involving reorganization and re ...
China’s problem has become the world’s problem. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by China’s coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo. Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research.
China has entered the most robust stage of its industrial revolution, even as much of the outside world has become preoccupied with global warming.
Experts once thought China might overtake the United States as the world’s leading producer of greenhouse gases by 2010, possibly later. Now, the International Energy Agency has said China could become the emissions leader by the end of this year, and the Netherlands Environment Assessment Agency said China had already passed that level.
For the Communist Party, it is very important for the party to measure this issue. Reining in economic growth to alleviate pollution may seem logical, but the country’s authoritarian system is addicted to fast growth. A major slowdown could incite social unrest, alienate business interests and threaten the party’s rule.
But pollution poses its own threat. Officials blame fetid air and water for thousands of episodes of social unrest. Health care costs have climbed sharply. Severe water shortages could turn more farmland into desert. And the unconstrained expansion of energy-intensive industries creates greater dependence on imported oil and dirty coal, meaning that environmental problems get harder and more expensive to address the longer they are unresolved.
Air pollution facts
Outdoor air pollution is one of China’s most serious environmental problems. Coal is still the major source of energy, constituting about 75% of all energy sources. Consequently, air pollution in China predominantly consists of coal smoke, with suspended particulate matter (PM) and sulfur dioxide (SO2) as the principal air pollutants. In large cities, however, with the rapid increase in the number of motor vehicles, air pollution has gradually changed from the conventional coal combustion type to the mixed coal combustion/motor vehicle emission type. Currently, inhalable particles (PM
Growing cities face many problems today. One problem is pollution. Most pollution in bustling cities is from improper land use. This affects the air and the water of these cities. Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, has this problem. The Chattahoochee River, which provides well of half of the drinking water of Metropolitan Atlanta, is extremely polluted. The majority of the pollution in the ...