China is dealing with tons of waste produced every day. With unsustainable development and production, countries are exploiting natural and other resources and causing environmental degradation, polluting the air, water, land and soil. With inappropriate waste disposals, the environment is becoming polluted, and is dangerous for health of people. With increasing concern of people regarding environmental pollution, and its effect on health, protests were seen through the last whole year in the communist country. The topic is important, because more and more incarnation plants are being constructed in China, which are causing havoc to environment, and are also putting lives of people in danger. The paper will present the protests held in December last year in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong where people tried to blockade construction work of a waste incarnation plant. The paper will focus on presenting two arguments, of which one will describe government with its policies, and other will explain effect on citizens of the Guangdong province. In order to further elaborate the arguments economic as well as societal aspects will be considered. The research question is which side is right in the issue of waste disposal in China, and how do the waste disposal exert its influence on the society and the economy? When examining the issue in China, environmental economics definition is a way of studying environmental problems. With economics, analytical ideas we can understand how and why people make decisions about the use of resources and concerning about the issue of allocation of scarce resource among opposing sides. To understand environmental problems various concepts need to be taken into an account such as scarcity, trade-offs, opportunity costs, marginal benefit and costs and last but not least efficiency and equality (Field & Olewiler, 2011).
On one side the government is dealing with greater picture. The Chinese communist party needs to change things because of the growing waste. By the end of year 2030, the government will be confronted with more waste, which will be double than waste of a developed country such as the United States (Newsela, 2014). The waste technology has been full affirmed at the national policy levels. The plan has a clear target to reach. The government stands firmly by the positive effect that such technique of waste disposal has and has not been involved with the dialog with the public. Societal point of view has been discharged by the government since no dialog has been initiated. The government believes that ensuring new waste facilities will only benefit the population with the reduction of the amount of waste they reproduce every day. Social efficiency has not been achieved because of the market failures and because of the creation of pollution. Citizens fail to achieve balance between benefits and costs. Economic factor also play an important role.
However, consumption at global level has been increased with the exponential growth of population and with it also the annual global wastes. China is above the global average in waste production since it produces around 210 million tons of waste every year in comparison to the world that produces together with China 500 million tons. Government and various departments started to fight against the waste issue with waste incineration (Ogunseitan, 2015).
Statistics of municipal waste in China
China’s National Bureau of Statistics, 2014.
Government is intolerant to the opponents, which has also been seen in the protests with involving police force. The fact is that the country is running out of places to landfill. Most of the waste in the country is being collected and disposed via landfill and in the third place is disposed by incineration. However, seventy incineration plants are being currently build, and more that 180 are planned. Most of the rubbish today in China ends up in landfill or in unregulated places outside the city which causes the contamination of water, groundwater and soil. The predictions for the year 2018 are that fastest growing waste disposals and land filling won’t be an option. Many eastern countries are doing the same. Plastic is well known concern, and around the country the biggest percentage of plastic has been spotted in the sea. The high expensive are given in the production and developing the incineration waste facilities and in order to be economically efficient it must run several years (The Economist, 2015).
On the other side, more than 100,000 people have opposed the construction work of a waste incineration, because of the health issues associated with the incineration of waste. The facility is built near the resident sides and there are concerns about cancer and various other health effects. Citizens are also worried about pollution of local soil, air and water. Protests were held against the black smoke and ash that are common relishes for waste incineration facilities. Mass demonstration expressed concerns of harmful and carcinogenic releases. The government did not even talk to the locals and this has further aggravated the issue since no one on the government side is there to listen or explain. The rapid development and economic growth have already created environmental impacts on the region and farmers and other communities are opposing to further degrade the environment (Radio Free China, 2015). Societal view from the opposing side is very clear. The society is fighting for their health which is most important in life. The economic views are, however, not seen on the first sight. There are many concerns about the health issues for the residents of this area, and people believe the government is looking only for profit not on its people as it should. Waste incineration enterprises have in many other areas maximized their profits instead of improving the environmental and public health benefits. Much municipal solid waste incineration raised the dioxin emission standards. More eco-friendly facilities need to be made that would reduce the flying ash. Government is responsible for waste disposal, and should better supervise and evaluate the process of disposal. More careful planning by choosing the sides, where no population can be affected by the facilities of disposal should be carried out. There is also a lack of regulation, supervision and transparency. Further, scientists and experts are needed for objective evaluation of the economic and environmental effects in all sides. On the other location of Guodingshan waste incineration plant results showed that in the area close to the plant over one thousand people needed to move because of the harmful odors. In the residential area 33 cases of cancer have developed. The air pollution caused by the plant created serious risks such as respiratory disease for residents. The damage caused to the environment was severe. Even though the regulation exists about the distance they were not obeyed. There are severe concerns about contaminated water in the area, which in combination with dioxins is hazardous to the people’s health (Ogunseitan, 2015). The incineration equipment suppliers, contractors, and operators will benefit from the investment. Currently, in China there is a marginal influence of stakeholders outside the government, which is the consequence of planned economy in the history. Arrangements regarding the municipal waste are complicated and often overlap and also there are cases where no agency has responsibility. China’s urban government now spends annually about 12.6 billion RMB on waste management service provisions, which are expected double until the 2020. The increased cost will happen because of the growth of the population, cost increases in service provision. Solid waste programs in the country will need at least 230 billion RMB annually by 2020 (World Bank, 2004).
An environmental assessment must be done. More open work must be promoted to explain the population what are their goals and how will they achieve it. Definitely, more cooperation and consulting between the population and the government and acting agencies are needed. Waste disposal is currently one of the most urgent environmental problems. Developed and developing countries are dealing with and the results have shown that with this kind of global consumption vital changes in the system or in the challenging the disposal needs to be done. World Health Organization (Batterman, 2004) has expressed concern as long-term environmental exposure can cause a range of toxicity and lead to serious health problems. Stockholm Convention BAT and BEP recommended comprehensive measures for the China to control the environmental impacts of waste incinerators, with more effective monitoring, inspections, sharing information with the public and enhancing flue gas treatment process (Stockholm Convention, n.d.).
I am on the opposing side. More should be done to evaluate the effects on the environment and health of the residents. More should be done to protect them and more independent analysis that is not focused on subjective needs should be promoted and carried out. Lack of regulation and supervision can pave the way to irresponsible actions for environment. To reduce the mass of disposing residuals three ways of reducing of natural capital input and residuals discharged to the environment can be followed. First possibility is reduction the quantity of goods and service produced. The growth of population in some cases also increases negative impacts on the environment. The second possibility is to reduce the residuals from production. The intensity could be lowered and pollution can be prevented with low-carbon economy. Every individual can have an impact with buying. The third is increased recycling that can reduce residual waste (Latcher & Valero, 2011). In this case, the local pollutants are the main issue. The government is trying to solve the problem of non-accumulative pollutant and with it is causing the accumulative pollutants. Municipal waste treatment plants have a single outfall and this is called point source pollutants. The waste plant is causing continuous emissions. The economy and environment are linked, and in this case there is only governmental economy taken into account, since the environment is not being protected and therefore it is not economically efficient. I am not opposed to the incineration plant, but it should be conducted in a right manner so that power generation and energy saving can be ensured. The population should not suffer because of the economic growth of the country. The society should play its role for waste reduction, waste reuse, recycling, recovering with composting and digestion and avoid landfill disposal and incineration in such way as it does. The government should control externalities, and carry out proper cost benefit analysis. Societal costs are vast because of the health reduction and environmental destruction, and are being the problem of the local population, which is fighting back with no success. The costs of such managing waste are going to rise in the future, and that is why the governments should make more effective ways of tackling the problem. China is destroying its natural capital as it is not providing sustainable solutions to ecosystem, economy and wellbeing of the citizens. It is destroying the quality of air, land, soil and water. The trends of consumption with the techniques and regulations need to change in order to achieve economic and societal solutions for all.
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