China is the country with more than 1.3 billion people that make it the most populous nation in the world. Pollution in China has become a major concern over the past two decades. The gross domestic product (GDP) of the nation that has grown on an average of 10% per year for more than ten years is now declining because of public health and environment. The largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world is China. Due to this, the quality of air in most of the cities in China fails to meet the minimum criteria of the international health standards. Severe water pollution and scarcity has resulted in land deterioration (Rohde & Muller, 2015).
Heart of the issue:
The economic progress of China has greatly increased the depletion of its land and natural resources while the root cause of its environmental pollution lies in the over- exploitation of its natural resources. In the past decades, the exploitation of natural resources has led to natural disasters and famines in China. China has emphasized more on the economic development of the nation than on the environment. This led to the development of a large number of state owned enterprises that have made it difficult to implement the environmental policies in the states (Li & Zhang, 2014).
The modernization of China has helped in eradicating poverty from the nation and uplifting the middle class. China’s industrialization is also considered to be different from other countries as the environmental pollution caused by this nation is far more than any other country. China emits the highest amount green house gases in the world. The impact of the development of China’s economy is day by day becoming a serious issue as it is imposing a threat on the environment of the country as well as the nearby regions (Loomis, Huang & Chen, 2014).
According to He et al. (2013), the energy consumption and pollution generated by China is becoming a huge global issue. The economic development of the nation does not follow sustainable development. With the rapid growth of the nation, its natural environment is being damaged and destroyed at a very fast pace. The economic development of China has led to ecological imbalance and environmental pollution. For instance, increase the yield of grains leads to economic prosperity but it has also resulted in soil degradation and scarcity of water.
Factors causing of environmental pollution in China:
The following are the factors that have caused pollution in China:
According to Cheng et al. (2013), the economic growth of China has been a result of industrialization. However, this led to the utilization of a majority of land area for setting up industries. Even the fertile lands were used for constructing factories and urban settlements that led to abuse of the land. Wang et al. (2014) stated that the population of China is approximately 1.3 billion, which is the highest in the world. The advent of industrialization and urbanization created serious environmental issues. In the past 20 years, in China, approximately 200 million people have migrated to the urban area from the rural area. As a result, the requirement of residential houses increased extensively in the urban location of China. This led to the deterioration of land that resulted in the loss of fertile lands due to deforestation and conversion (Liu et al., 2017).
Deforestation and pasture land degradation caused due to economic activities of the humans have led to severe environmental issues such as water scarcity and pollution, global warming and desertification. All these not only adversely affect the local people but the Earth on a whole. Several rivers in China have already dried up and the land is converting into the desert. Soil pollution is a major concern for China as it is a threat to the sustainable development and agricultural development of the nation (Zhao et al., 2013).
As stated by Miao et al. (2015), water pollution and scarcity of water are the two major environmental issues faced by China. The water bodies in China have been highly polluted as a result of industrial wastes being dumped into the water bodies. This makes the water unsafe for human consumption. Water pollution has led to serious health issues among the population of China. According to Huang et al. (2014), toxic chemicals in the wastes generated from agricultural activities, not- degradable wastes and sewage has adversely affected the land as well as the ground water. The small rural industries are a major source of water pollution in China. More than half of the water of all the water bodies combined together is unsafe for human consumption.
The water price of China is relatively lower at international level and lower water utilization rate has led to the shortage of water resources. Therefore, the nation needs to tackle the issues related to scarcity of water. With the increase in industrialization and urbanization, the wastes generation also increased that polluted the water bodies when dumped into them. The Government of China has taken several steps for providing safe drinking water to the residents. However, the rapid industrialization and growth of the economy have resulted in the failure of those steps (Li et al., 2014).
China is one of the biggest consumers of energy in the world. China is the biggest consumer of coal, steel, and copper and the second highest consumer of oil and electricity. With the increase in industrialization, the demand for oil, coal, gas, and electricity has also increased. The increase in the use of motor vehicles has also imposed stress over the oil reserves and has increased the import expenses (Tanaka, 2015).
China is presently at the stage of the heavy chemical industry that requires a huge amount of energy and resources to operate. The fast growing industries in China involve automobiles, machinery, iron and steel industries that consume a large amount of energy. The migration of people from rural areas to urban areas has also increased the demand for houses, automobiles and electrical appliances that have indirectly increased the energy consumption. China has become a huge global manufacturing base and has received relocation of several industries that consume a large amount of energy (Hu, Jin & Kavan, 2014).
According to Xia et al. (2013), China is facing a lack of resources. Economic development of a country and the presence of abundant natural resources are inseparable. Additionally, the carrying capacity of the resources also determines the level of development of a country. At present, the industrial sector of China consumes more than 70% of the total energy available. The rise in the number of small- scale industries has also increased the burden on the natural resources. The economic growth of China is a result of sacrificing the natural environment.
The major issue (Air pollution):
The major issue in China has been air pollution, which has been harming the surrounding countries and the Earth as a whole. In the 1970’s, discharge of suspended particulates and sulfur dioxide was identified the primary reason of causing air pollution. Due to an extensive release of sulfur dioxide, acid rain, a corrosive type of rain noticed in the Northern urban area of China. This primary reason of extensive sulfur dioxide release in the air was identified to be burning coal. In China, 70% of the fuel is produced by burning coal. The number of transport vehicles in the streets of China increased drastically in the 1990's. This included both substantial and medium sized urban areas of China. According to Tao et al., (2014), the number of vehicles in Beijing increased to 5 million from a mere 0.5 million from 1990 to 2012. According to the measure of contamination transmitted by one auto, a number of air contaminants contributed by an auto in China is much more compared to the other nations. The decline in the air quality of the urban China is due to the increasing number of vehicles that eventually released particulates of Nitrogen Oxide. As a result, the ozone layer started depleting. Near 1981 and 2001, surrounding convergences of TSPs in Beijing were more than twofold of China's National Annual Mean Ambient Air Quality Standard of 200 μg/m3 and five times the level that won in the United States before the section of the Clean Air Act in 1970. Since 2000, over 92% of occupants in China have been presented to PM2.5 (the small particles which infiltrate profound into the lungs and offer ascent to asthma, malignancy, heart inconvenience, and so forth) fixation surpassing 10 μg/m3, the exposure rate expanded to 98% by the year 2012 (Tao et al., 2014). While amid a similar period the extent of the populace that was presented to PM2.5 focus surpassing 10 μg/m3 in the UK diminished from 76% to 21%, and from 60% to 16% for the United States of America.
It is estimated that in 2013 around 51.8% of the days were awful or unhealthy. Approximately 21 million population of the nation used veils and the children were restricted inside the home. Certain organizations also proposed objectives of extensive cloud or smog (Niu et al., 2014). For example, a thick influx of brown haze was noticed in a northern city of China named Harbin. This began on 20th October 2013, the day of initiation of the coal-controlled area warming framework. In parts of Harbin, the visibility decreased to as low as 50 meters and below 500 meters in the neighboring city named Jilin. It was recorded that per day level of particulate in the air was 40 times the standard mentioned by WHO in Harbin. As a result, the highways along with the schools and the airport terminal of the Heilongjiang region were shut down. Reports suggested 23% increase in the respiratory issues during the disturbing circumstances in Beijing and Harbin. Moreover, the northern China houses some of the most air-polluted city in the world. Indeed, even state-upheld media gave the shockingly basic scope of the emergency and numerous remote media called it an "airpocalypse" (Niu et al., 2014).
Consequences of air pollution in China:
The stark outcomes for every Chinese occupant brought by the savage contamination are self-evident, and different examinations have been attempting to put an estimation on the financial and social effects that the smog has had in China. One of the concentrations of the examinations has been the human well-being impacts of the air pollution. The World Bank accounted for it that the financial weight of untimely mortality and grimness related with air contamination was assessed to be 157.3 billion Yuan in the year 2003, or in other words 1.16% of its GDP (Chen et al., 2013). Several researchers have found that air contamination has caused the loss of more than 2.5 billion years of future in China, and air contamination has been connected to several illnesses, for example, cardiovascular malady and lung malignancy because of high utilization of coal in northern China, life expectancy in that area was 5.5 years shorter than that in southern China. Another research found that if the world made a move to diminish ozone harming substance emanations that are green house gases, more than 500,000 lives could be spared internationally every year, and the air and well-being quality advantages for East Asia alone would mean in the vicinity of 10 and 70 times the cost of decreasing outflows by 2030. A similar report likewise found that the medical advantages of making a move to check environmental change were particularly striking for China, with its expansive populace now presented to a portion of the most exceedingly terrible contamination on the planet. A research concentrating on the children conceived in the south- western Tongliang district of China just before a neighborhood coal-fired plant was closed during a time back found that the air contamination prompted hereditary changes. It showed that these infants had an essentially lower level of a protein that is very important for the mental health in their line blood than those considered later and poorer learning and memory abilities were additionally found in these children when they were tested at two years of age (Chen et al., 2013).
Non-human-wellbeing related effects have likewise been assessed by a few investigations. Wang et al. (2014) connected the strategy produced for the US and Europe to China to evaluate the financial expenses created via air contamination in China. It was discovered that air contamination in China has made a significant weight to its economy and the evaluated ozone and PM levels past foundation levels have prompted the US $ 16 billion to the US $ 69 billion loss of consumption and the US $ 22 billion to US $ 112 billion loss of welfare in the economy of China (Wang et al., 2014). The World Bank revealed that, in spite of the fact that the effects of contamination on regular assets (horticulture, fish, and backwoods) and artificial structures (buildings) were evaluated to be lower in financial terms. Corrosive rain, caused fundamentally by expanded SO2 emanations because of expanded non-renewable energy source utilize that caused more than 30 billion Yuan in harms to crops, basically vegetable harvests (around 80% of the misfortunes). This adds up to 1.8% of the estimation of farming yield. Harm to building materials in the South forced a cost of seven billion Yuan on the Chinese economy in 2003. What's more, in spite of the fact that the effect of smog on timberlands in China has not been evaluated because of the absence of monitoring information in remote zones, clear broad harm has been seen to trees, backwoods around destinations of especially high contamination (Li et al., 2014).
Measures were taken by China to tackle the issue:
China has taken several steps to limit the amount of environmental pollution in the country. Several environmental regulations acts have been implemented by the Government of China that has resulted in the enforcement of a number of environmental laws and policies. The following are a few measures taken by China to curb pollution:
- Altering the mechanical structure and format and taking compelling measures to avert and control the modern contamination
- Launching inside and out extensive control of air contamination in urban situations
- Increasing vitality proficiency, spreading the cleaner coal advances and enhancing the vitality structure
- Making vivacious endeavors to dispatch forestation programs
- Promoting the progress of ecological science and innovation and building up the natural business
- Applying financial motivating forces in the territory of natural assurance
- Perfecting natural enactment and increasing ecological administration.
As per the particular conditions in China, the accompanying measures will be taken to control the air contamination caused by coal burning, rationing vitality and enhancing vitality effectiveness. Moreover, advancing coal briquettes for household and mechanical utilize, creating focal warming in urban areas, creating urban fuel gasses, creating and spreading cleaner coal advancements, and enhancing the structure of vitality utilization (Chen et al., 2013).
Since China is currently experiencing its progress to a market economy, the justification of vitality evaluating, the reception of financial instruments, the change of condition arranged data administrations and ecological consciousness of the overall population will be no uncertainty play a more imperative part in the advancement of vitality protection (Wang et al., 2014).
China is inquiring about a high proficiency gas refinement procedure to create direct and low warmth esteem gasses for modern boilers and furnaces. This is a critical measure to enhance vitality proficiency and handle ecological contamination. Furthermore, the Chinese government has additionally strengthened the detailing and requirement of natural enactment. The natural administration has been heightened through the use of aggregate sum control to air contamination and the utilization of monetary instruments including sulfur dioxide emanation charges. The legislatures at different levels have propelled an expansive size of reforestation program and the national woods scope has gone up slowly (Li et al., 2014). Despite the fact that joint endeavors of ecological assurance offices and the vitality area and through the further advancement of global participation, it is workable for China to enhance its surrounding air quality regardless of the expansion in coal utilization in the nation.
In this report, it can be concluded that pollution in China is one of the biggest issues for both the country and their people. According to the study, environmental pollution in China has increased over the years due to the increasing development of the country. China is failing to maintain sustainability while developing the nation. As a result, air pollution in particular has been increased drastically. Increasing number of vehicles, factories and industrial development are contributing to the air pollution of the country along with the burning of fossil fuels. However, in order to combat with the rate of air pollution, the Government of the country is taking suitable measures and implementing them strictly.
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