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Encyclopedia > Environment of China
Beijing air on a day after rain (L) and a rainless day (R)

One of the serious negative consequences of the People's Republic of China's rapid industrial development has been increased pollution and degradation of natural resources. Much solid waste is not properly disposed of. Water pollution is a source of health problems across the country and air pollution causes up to 750,000 premature deaths each year. China's polluted environment is largely a result of the country's rapid development and consequently a large increase in primary energy consumption, which is primarily provided by coal power plants. China has pursued a development model which prioritizes exports-led growth (similar to many other East Asian countries). Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 300 pixels Full resolution (960 × 360 pixel, file size: 151 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a pair of photos taken in Beijing by me during a trip to the Peoples Republic of China in August 2005. ... Image File history File links Size of this preview: 800 × 300 pixels Full resolution (960 × 360 pixel, file size: 151 KB, MIME type: image/png) This is a pair of photos taken in Beijing by me during a trip to the Peoples Republic of China in August 2005. ... “Peking” redirects here. ... It has been suggested that Pollutant be merged into this article or section. ... Mixed municipal waste, Hiriya, Tel Aviv Municipal solid waste (MSW) is a waste type that includes predominantly household waste (domestic waste) with sometimes the addition of commercial wastes collected by a municipality within a given area. ... Raw sewage and industrial waste flows into the U.S. from Mexico as the New River passes from Mexicali, Baja California to Calexico, California Water pollution is a large set of adverse effects upon water bodies such as lakes, rivers, oceans, and groundwater caused by human activities. ... Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. ... Chinas peaceful rise (Chinese: 中国和平崛起; Pinyin: Zhōngguó hépíng juéqǐ) is a foreign policy doctrine of the Peoples Republic of China in the early 21st century. ... Primary energy is energy contained in raw fuels and any other forms of energy received by a system as input to the system. ... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ... World GDP/capita changed very little for most of human history before the industrial revolution. ... East Asia Geographic East Asia. ...

Contents

Government action

Efforts to control China's pollution problem have become a top priority of the Chinese leadership. In March 1998, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was officially upgraded to a ministry-level agency, reflecting the growing importance the PRC Government places on environmental protection. Beginning in 2006 the government greatly expanded expenses into environmental protection and a series of new laws have been passed. Enforcement of these laws is also being expanded. The PRC has strengthened its environmental legislation and made some progress in stemming environmental deterioration. During the 11th 5-Year Plan (2006-2010), the PRC plans to reduce total emissions by 10% and bring China's energy efficiency up 20%. Beijing in particular is investing heavily in pollution control as part of its campaign to host a successful Olympiad in 2008. Some cities have seen improvement in air quality in recent years. [citation needed] In the first half of 2007, China's total energy consumption per unit of output improved 2.8% and China's sulfur dioxode emissions fell by 0.6%, showing that these new measures have the potential to slow down environmental deterioration. [1]. The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA, Simplified Chinese: 国家环境保护总局) is a cabinet-level agency in the executive branch of the Chinese Government (Peoples Republic of China). ... The State Council (国务院, pinyin: Guówùyuàn) is the chief civilian administrative body of the Peoples Republic of China. ... The 2008 Summer Olympics, officially known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, were awarded to Beijing, China after an exhaustive ballot of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on July 13, 2001. ... The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a standardized index of the air quality in a given location, given in parts per billion. ...

Typical view of the Sun in a polluted day, Beijing.

Since 2002, the number of complaints to the environmental authorities has increased by 30% every year, reaching 600,000 in 2004; while the number of mass protests caused by environmental issues has grown by 29% every year.[2] Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1632 × 1224 pixel, file size: 579 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1632 × 1224 pixel, file size: 579 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File historyClick on a date/time to view the file as it appeared at that time. ... Sol redirects here. ... “Peking” redirects here. ...


The Xinhua News Agency has quoted an environmental official, Wang Jinnan, as saying that more than 410,000 Chinese die as a result of pollution each year.[3] The Financial Times said a World Bank report, entitled Cost of Pollution in China, found up to 760,000 people die prematurely each year in China because of air and water pollution. High levels of air pollution in China's cities leads to 350,000-400,000 premature deaths, it said. Another 300,000 die because of poor-quality air indoors. The newspaper article, quoting World Bank advisers and Chinese officials, also said research showing that there are 60,000 premature deaths each year because of poor-quality water.[4] The Financial Times (FT) is a British international business newspaper. ...


The Chinese government has placed a greater concern on environmental issues since the early 21st century. In 2004, the central government instituted the Green Gross Domestic Product project, in order to determine the true gross domestic product, adjusted to compensate for negative environmental effects. The results were so much worse than projected that the program was suspended entirely in 2007. In 2005, the eleventh five-year plan contained special emphasis on the nation's environmental degradation. In his annual address in 2007, premier Wen Jiabao made 48 references to "environment," "pollution," or "environmental protection."[5] In addition, the Chinese government attempted to hold national "No Car Days" throughout nearly 100 cities, including Beijing, in which cars would be banned on central roads. However, it was largely ignored.[6] Green Gross Domestic Product (Green GDP) is an index of economic growth with the environmental consequences of that growth factored in. ... The five-year plans of China were a series of economic development initiatives. ... The Premier ( Chinese: 总理 pinyin: zŏnglĭ), sometimes referred to as the Prime Minister, is the Chairman of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China and head of Central Peoples Government. ... Wen Jiabao (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Wen Chia-pao) (born September 1942) is the Premier of the State Council of the Peoples Republic of China. ...


Land pollution

Approximately 30% of China's surface area is desert. China's rapid industrialization could cause this area to drastically increase. The Gobi desert in the north currently expands by about 950 square miles per year. The vast plains in northern China used to be regularly flooded by the Yellow river. In the past 50 years, industrial exploitation in the form of dams and other irrigation infrastructure have all but halted the river's natural course, threatening to dry up the entire river valley and convert the plains into a giant dustbowl of unimaginable scale. Recent droughts, deforestation and global warming only serve to bring the region closer to catastrophe.


In 2001, China initiated a "great green wall" project. It is a project to create a 2800 mile "green belt" to hold back the encroaching desert. The first phase of the project, to restore 9 million acres (36,000 km²) of forest, will be completed by 2010 at an estimated cost of $8 Billion. By 2050 the Chinese government believes it can restore most desertified land back to forest. The great green wall project is possibly the largest ecological project in history.[7] Starting in 2006, the Chinese government expanded protection for forests, banning logging and restricting the size of cities and golf courses to enhance land usage efficiency.


In many cases, local government officials have failed to enforce, or simply ignored environmental edicts made by the central government. In 2007 a barren face of Laoshou Mountain (老首山), in Fumin County, near Kunming in the southwestern province of Yunnan, was spray painted green, in order to cover up damage caused by two decades of quarrying.[1] Kunming (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Kun-ming) is the capital city of Yunnan province, China. ... Yunan redirects here. ... Spray painting is painting using a device that sprays the paint. ...


Water pollution

Almost all of the nation's rivers are considered polluted to some degree, and half of the population lacks access to clean drinking water. Ninety percent of urban water bodies are severely polluted. China grades its water quality in five levels, from Grade I to Grade V, with Grade V being the most highly polluted.[2] Water scarcity also is an issue; for example, severe water scarcity in Northern China is a serious threat to sustained economic growth and has forced the government to begin implementing a largescale diversion of water from the Yangtze River to northern cities, including Beijing and Tianjin. Drinking water Mineral Water Drinking water is water that is intended to be ingested by humans. ... The Yangtze River or Chang Jiang (Simplified Chinese: ; Traditional Chinese: ; Pinyin: ), or Drichu in Tibetan (Tibetan: འབ; Wylie: bri chu) is the longest river in Asia and the third longest in the world, after the Nile in Africa, and the Amazon in South America. ... “Peking” redirects here. ...   (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Postal map spelling: Tientsin) is one of the four municipalities of China. ...


An explosion at a petrochemical plant in Jilin City on 13 November 2005 caused a large discharge of nitrobenzene into the Songhua River. Levels of the carcinogen were so high that the entire water supply to Harbin city (pop 3.8M) was cut off for five days between 21 November 2005 and 26 November 2005, though it was only on 23 November that officials admitted that a severe pollution incident was the reason for the cut off.[8] The location of the Jilin Province of China. ... Jilin City (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ) is a prefecture-level city located in Jilin Province in China. ... is the 317th day of the year (318th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Nitrobenzene, also known as nitrobenzol or oil of mirbane, is a poisonous organic compound with an almond odor and chemical formula C6H5NO2. ... Location of the Songhua River is in dark blue. ... The hazard symbol for carcinogenic chemicals in the Globally Harmonized System. ... Harbin on a map of China For other meanings of Harbin, see Harbin (disambiguation). ... is the 325th day of the year (326th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 330th day of the year (331st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... is the 327th day of the year (328th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ...


The responsibility for dealing with water is split between several agencies within the government. Water pollution is the responsibility of the environmental authorities, but the water itself is managed by the Ministry of Water Resources. Sewage is dealt with by the Ministry of Construction, but groundwater falls within the realm of the Ministry of Land and Resources.[9]


Air pollution

Pollution over the Great Wall of China near Beijing

According to the People's Republic of China's own evaluation, two-thirds of the 338 cities for which air-quality data are available are considered polluted-- two-thirds of them moderately or severely so. Respiratory and heart diseases related to air pollution are the leading cause of death in China. Acid rain falls on 30% of the country. China environmental laws are among the strictest in the world, but enforcing these laws has been difficult in China. The World Health Organization has found that about 750,000 people die prematurely each year from respiratory problems in China. Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1632 × 1224 pixel, file size: 810 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... Image File history File links Metadata Size of this preview: 800 × 600 pixelsFull resolution (1632 × 1224 pixel, file size: 810 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) File history Legend: (cur) = this is the current file, (del) = delete this old version, (rev) = revert to this old version. ... “Great Wall” redirects here. ... Heart disease is an umbrella term for a number of different diseases which affect the heart and as of 2007 it is the leading cause of death in the United States. ... Air pollution is a chemical, particulate matter, or biological agent that modifies the natural characteristics of the atmosphere. ... The term acid rain or more accurately acid precipitation is commonly used to mean the deposition of acidic components in rain, snow, dew, or dry particles. ... “WHO” redirects here. ...


Water projects

Main article: China water crisis

The question of environmental impacts associated with the Three Gorges Damproject has generated controversy among environmentalists inside and outside China. Critics claim that erosion and silting of the Yangtze River threaten several endangered species, while Chinese officials say the dam will help prevent devastating floods and generate clean hydroelectric power that will enable the region to lower its dependence on coal, thus lessening air pollution. The China water crisis threatens the stability and prosperity not only in Peoples Republic of China but globally too, according to experts. ... Relative position of the Three Gorges Dam. ... Bold textHello ... Flooding in Amphoe Sena, Ayutthaya Province, Thailand. ... Hydroelectric dam diagram The waters of Llyn Stwlan, the upper reservoir of the Ffestiniog Pumped-Storage Scheme in north Wales, can just be glimpsed on the right. ...


A large "south-to-north" water diversion project, will cost US$57 billion, take 50 years to construct, and divert water from China's four largest rivers to the municipalities of Beijing and Tianjin, and the province of Hebei.[10] Direct-controlled municipalities are the highest-level cities in China, with status equal to that of the provinces. ... “Peking” redirects here. ...   (Chinese: ; Pinyin: ; Postal map spelling: Tientsin) is one of the four municipalities of China. ... Hebei (Chinese: 河北; pinyin: ; Wade-Giles: Ho-pei; Postal System Pinyin: Hopeh) is a northern province of the Peoples Republic of China. ...


CO2 emissions and global warming

Main articles: Global warming and Coalization

The People's Republic of China is an active participant in the climate change talks and other multilateral environmental negotiations, and claims to take environmental challenges seriously but is pushing for the developed world to help developing countries to a greater extent. It is a signatory to the Basel Convention governing the transport and disposal of hazardous waste and the Montreal Protocol for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, as well as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species and the Kyoto Protocol, although China is not required to reduce its carbon emissions under the terms of the present agreement. On June 19, 2007, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency announced, based on an analysis of fossil fuel consumption (including coal power plants) and cement production data, that China surpassed the United States as the world's largest emitter of carbon dioxide, putting out 6,200 million tons, to America's 5,800 million.[11] Global mean surface temperatures 1850 to 2006 Mean surface temperature anomalies during the period 1995 to 2004 with respect to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 Global warming is the observed increase in the average temperature of the Earths atmosphere and oceans in recent decades and the projected... Coal Coal (IPA: ) is a fossil fuel formed in swamp ecosystems where plant remains were saved by water and mud from oxidization and biodegradation. ... Variations in CO2, temperature and dust from the Vostok ice core over the last 450,000 years For current global climate change, see Global warming. ... A developed country is a country that has achieved (currently or historically) a high degree of industrialization, and which enjoys the higher standards of living which wealth and technology make possible. ... The Basel Convention (verbose: Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal) is an international treaty that was designed to reduce the movements of hazardous waste between nations, and specifically to prevent dumping of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries (LDCs). ... This article describes hazardous waste as a substance; for the Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal see Basel Convention Put simply, a Hazardous waste is waste that poses substantial or potential threats to public health or the environment and generally exhibits one... The Montreal Protocol on Substances That Deplete the Ozone Layer is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer from depletion by phasing out the production of a number of substances believed to be responsible for ozone depletion. ... The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) is an international agreement between Governments, drafted as a result of a resolution adopted in 1963 at a meeting of members of the World Conservation Union (IUCN). ... Kyoto Protocol Opened for signature December 11, 1997 in Kyoto, Japan Entered into force February 16, 2005. ... The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (in Dutch:Milieu en Natuur Planbureau; MNP) is a Dutch research institution whose main function is to advise the Dutch government on environmental issues. ... Fossil fuels are hydrocarbons, primarily coal and petroleum (fuel oil or natural gas), formed from the fossilized remains of dead plants and animals[1] by exposure to heat and pressure in the Earths crust over hundreds of millions of years[2]. The theory that hydrocarbons were formed from these... A fossil fuel power plant (FFPP) (also known as steam electric power plant in the US, thermal power plant in Asia, or power station in the UK) is an energy conversion center designed on a large scale for continuous operation. ... In the most general sense of the word, cement is a binder, a substance which sets and hardens independently, and can bind other materials together. ...


China can suffer some of the effects of global warming, including sea level rise and glacier retreat. Sea level measurements from 23 long tide gauge records in geologically stable environments show a rise of around 20 centimeters per century (2 mm/year). ... Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park (US) showing recession since 1850 of 1. ...


Environment and development riots

Industrial pollution has its most severe impact on the poor and in China, pollution incidents have been so serious as to be the cause of rioting in recent years. The lack of democracy and the level of corruption in development of factories and plants is a source of tension. Teamsters, armed with pipes, riot in a clash with riot police in the Minneapolis Teamsters Strike of 1934. ...


See also

The China water crisis threatens the stability and prosperity not only in Peoples Republic of China but globally too, according to experts. ... Other Hong Kong topics Culture - Economy Education - History - Politics Hong Kong Portal The ecology of Hong Kong is mostly affected by the results of climatic changes. ... The economies of the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau are separate from the rest of the Peoples Republic of China. ... The energy policy in China is closely watched by the international community. ... Hybrids Plus PHEV Toyota Prius conversion with PHEV-30 (30 mile all-electric range) battery packs A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) is a hybrid vehicle with batteries that can be recharged by connecting a plug to an electrical power source. ... Renewable energy utilizes natural resources such as sunlight, wind, tides and geothermal heat, which are naturally replenished. ... The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA, Simplified Chinese: 国家环境保护总局) is a cabinet-level agency in the executive branch of the Chinese Government (Peoples Republic of China). ... Tan Kai (譚凱; surname Tan; b. ...

References

  1. ^ "China says energy efficiency slowly improving", The Associated Press, July 30, 2007. 
  2. ^ Ma, Jun. "How participation can help China's ailing environment", chinadialogue, January 31, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Environmental Activists Detained in Hangzhou", Human Rights in China (HRIC), October 25, 2005. 
  4. ^ "China 'buried smog death finding'", BBC, 3 July 2007. 
  5. ^ Kahn, Joseph; Yardley, Jim (2007-08-26). As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes. The New York Times. Retrieved on 2007-09-21.
  6. ^ Beijing drivers ignore No Car Day. BBC: September 21, 2007.
  7. ^ Ratliff, Evan. "The Green Wall Of China", Wired Magazine, April 2003. 
  8. ^ "China city water supply to resume", BBC, 27 November 2005. 
  9. ^ Ma, Xiangcong. "China's environmental governance", chinadialogue, February 21, 2007. 
  10. ^ Water Technology
  11. ^ China now no. 1 in CO2 emissions; USA in second position. Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (19 June 2007).

The Associated Press, or AP, is an American news agency, the worlds largest such organization. ... This article is about the Peoples Republic of China (Mainland China). ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Joseph Kahn (born 1964) is an American journalist who has been the Beijing bureau chief of The New York Times since July of 2003. ... Jim Yardley (born June 18, 1964) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist currently working in the Beijing bureau of The New York Times. ... The New York Times is a daily newspaper published in New York City and distributed internationally. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era. ... is the 264th day of the year (265th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ... Wired is a full-color monthly magazine and on-line periodical published in San Francisco, California since March 1993. ... For other uses, see BBC (disambiguation). ...

External links

  • Interview with Pan Yue, China' deputy environment minister
  • Chinese environmental activist on climate change
  • Photo essay on water pollution in Huai River Basin
  • China’s Environmental Movement
  • Chinadialogue, bilingual environmental views and discussion website
  • Air Pollution in China A flash animation assessing air degree of pollution in China.
  • OECD Decries China Enforcement of Environment Rules.
  • A Short History of China's Fragile Environment.
  • Green Group Warns China of Glacier Retreat Threat
  • An Assessment of the Economic Losses Resulting from Various Forms of Environmental Degradation in China

  Results from FactBites:
 
The environment and China (3040 words)
Further, China is in the midst of unprecedented economic expansion, with a growth rate of 10 percent a year over the past ten years -- as much growth in one decade as the industrial world experienced in nearly a century.
China would be emitting twice as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere if not for an unprecedented "de-coupling" of carbon emissions and economic growth.
China ranks fourth in the world in terms of total water resources, but is second lowest in terms of per capita water resource availability.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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