Is China reaching a tipping point on pollution ?

Chen Guokang from Sanjiang village

Air pollution in ShanghaiOver the past few days and weeks, so many horrifying news have been making the headlines on China that I thought a recap would be needed. As an introduction you might read my post on the airpocalypse in Beijing.

All the news I will develop today clearly allow us to understand why the country is willing to push forward renewable energies and efficiency so massively. Business as usual is simply killing people and endangering the nation itself.

Unbridled economic growth without any environmental concern or regulation is clearly unsustainable, environmentally, socially and economically.

First article : You must have read by now about the thousands of pigs that were found roting in the Yangtze river. This article from Foreign Policy shows how this could lead to a possible pandemic. (thanks to Olivier for bringing this to my attention)

Second : air pollution in the People’s Republic of China may be responsible for the premature deaths of 1.2 million people each year. As the New York Times reports ” Figured another way, the researchers said, China’s toll from pollution was the loss of 25 million healthy years of life from the population.

Third : in case you don’t give much importance to human lives, you may perhaps consider a financial news more apt to make you react. As Global Post noted : ” A report by the Chinese Academy of Environmental Planning said environmental degradation in China cost the country about $230 billion in 2010.

Chen Guokang from Sanjiang villageFourth : for World Water Day the Atlantic published a series of great photos showing all the extent of water pollution and sheer toxicity in this country. The photo on the right comes from this series. Here is the caption :

Chen Guokang from Sanjiang village is 51 years old and diagnosed with lung cancer, the exact causes unknown. The yellow nature of his eyes and skin are due to the cancer spreading, affecting his liver, and causing jaundice.

Some pictures are quite ” graphic “. So please be advised.

Fifth : China will spend $16 billion in next three years to decrease or at least stop the mounting pollutions in Beijing. Given the huge sums involved for one city only, one has to wonder how much it could cost the nation as a whole to tackle its pollution. Needless to say, the costs of inaction could be much higher as all the afore mentioned news show all too clearly.

To conclude, Green Leap Forward explains that this might change as officials are more and more active to solve this problem.

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