Beijing’s Air Pollution
Taken from a Kotaku article (which took them directly from China.org) These Images of Beijing’s skyline engulfed in smog are surreal to say the least. Did someone say Bespin?
This video is a great basis of informative on understanding China’s problems with pollution both today and tomorrow. Pollution in China has been something the international community has used to decry China’s rapid advance but with the recent popularity and spike in pollution in China’s major cities the issue is becoming a huge domestically. James Fallows mentioned how the economic elite in China, like any country, can buy their way around the problem but the middle and lower classes cannot. This has led to an increasingly conscious and critical middle class to lash out on China’s state owned social network sites such as weibo. For some reason the divide between environmental sustainability and economic prosperity is unbridgeable. The claims made by China’s businesses are that if environmental standards are to be met economic growth will hindered. However, in third quarter growth China saw its worst numbers since 2009, which was then followed by Beijing’s worst air quality reports on record. I think that environmental concerns need to be addressed in China now more than ever. Not only is the green market expanding and ripe for investment but could help China address its migration issue that James mentioned in the video. China now needs to think about now only pulling its people out of poverty but their cities out of the smog.
“Recent atmospheric pollution has really sounded a warning to us: if we continue this way of development instead of adjusting it, the long-term damage will be serious,” said the Global Times in an editorial.
“In future, the government should publish truthful environmental data to the public. Let society participate in the process of solving the problem,” it added.
It is good to see some short term measures are being taken to help with the issue in Beijing but I would like see some long term solutions being provided in the weeks and months after this spike in smog.
“A thick, heavy smog has engulfed Beijing for many days, with tower blocks in the near distance almost invisible to the naked eye. Even visibility indoors has been hazy at times.”
Water pollution: out of control?
There are more than 20,000 Chinese petrochemical plants built next to the river. Toxic metals leach into rivers causing long term destruction of the environment, killing people and livestock, causing cancer, depleting the amount of consumable and usable water. These factors, on the long-run, also will challenge, threaten even, the economic development and economic growth of China.
Photo via Sina Weibo #微薄环保”
I cringe when I see photos like this and read about how poor Chinese environmental standards are having a terrible toll on the earth and people. I think it is great to see the millions of people that have been pulled out of poverty by China’s boom but when issues like this come to light I can’t help but think, at what cost? Accountability and productivity need to be more in harmony than they are right now in China.