Environmental crisis in china
. China is among the countries that have been directly affected by environmental crisis. This crisis is due to its rapid industrialization and large population which has led to increase in different forms of pollution causing widespread environmental and health problems.
One of the major environmental problems facing China is air pollution. Apparently China is the largest contributor of greenhouse gases and pollutes the atmosphere more than she does in energy production. North China is among the most affected regions of China. This is clearly evident as sometimes the people in Beijing have made international headlines for putting on pollution masks. China has sometimes experienced heavy smog that has led to unnecessary closing of schools. At times the heavy hazes in parts of North China lead to closing of highways and delaying or even cancelling of flights. The air pollution in China is so high such that in 1998 when the Air Pollution Index reached 200, the Education Bureau advised schools to reduce outdoor activities in Hong Kong.
Some of the major causes of air pollution in China are overpopulation and coal burning. China is a geographically large country with a very high population that continues to grow, thus it requires a lot of energy to cater for this population. China also produces more carbon dioxide than any other country in the world. This is as a result of coal burning as she is believed to be burning tonnes of coal. This coal is mainly used for energy production.
Several steps have been undertaken to curb air pollution in China. Since coal is the major contributor of air pollution in China, campaigns have been launched against coal. These campaigns hope China to reduce and finally end use of coal. Also, the country has high potential for clean energies such as solar and wind that have no emissions. Depending on these sources of energy would lead to a great difference in the quality of air in the country. To solve the problem of overpopulation, China has implemented the practice of human population control which mainly involves artificially changing the rate of growth of human population. This has been enhanced by reducing the birth rate of the population. For example in 1979, China started the “one child per family policy”. Other methods include birth control programs and economic changes. The Chinese government has also started a rule where cars with odd plates are allowed on odd days, cars with even plates are allowed n even days and very old cars are being taken away from the roads to reduce traffic. The government has also forced some industries to reduce their emissions by at least 30%.
Another major environmental crisis facing China is water pollution. Water pollution by far requires more attention as most of the sources of water in are polluted. This means that a large population of her citizens lack clean drinking water. Polluted waters have led to increased number of people with cancer such that all those living near the polluted water sources are said to be living in cancer villages. It is estimated that nearly a third of industrial waste and more than two thirds of household waste are dumped into water sources.
Water pollution in China has reached a dangerous level where about 75% of all diseases are attributed to water pollution. Water tables are falling due to over-extraction of groundwater especially in the north. The largest contributor to low quality drinking water is industrial emissions, but poorly treated sewage, use of fertilizers and pesticides and spills from industries have also emerged as major contributors as well. Despite the fact that the south of China has abundant water, there is shortage of clean water due pollution.
Drinking of water highly contaminated by radiations and other industrial chemicals causes various types of cancers. In 2001 an association of locals gathered signatures to petition against the expansion of a thermoelectric plant. Fortunately the government lost the petitions and ordered the industries to stop and clean up and if they don’t comply they would shut down operation.
Another environmental challenge faced by China is desertification. Its causes include prolonged droughts coupled with poor farming practices with excess demand for ground water than that which is replaced through natural ways. Another cause is excess pressure on land for cultivation as a result of high population.
When the Chinese government realized the magnitude of the environmental crisis it was in and her economic losses, it started accepting assistance. For example, the Chinese government in 1994 came up with regulations that allowed registration of Non Governmental Organizations. In 2007, China came up with new plans to limit the use of coal to reduce the dangerous levels of air pollution by banning the construction of plants powered by coal around Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing. Rapid economic growth and increase in population has affected the quantity as well as the quality of water. The government has initiated the building of water infrastructure and tightened its regulations as well as trying out new technological solutions. To avert desertification the Chinese government has invested a lot of money to protect the vegetation cover by converting farmlands into forest. With multiple forms of pollution becoming widespread in China, she has responded by environmental regulations that have led to more improvements over the years.