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  • Top 10 Ways China Is Ruining Its Own Environment

  • 10.

  • Poor Air Quality Is Creating A Tremendous Death Toll

  • The air pollution problem often keeps many people indoors, and forces them to wear masks

  • to keep out toxic fumes even on days where total avoidance of the outside isn't advised.

  • This problem is giving China a black eye on the national stage.

  • Even after the Beijing Olympics, when the problem became more obvious, the true extent

  • of pollution was swept under the rug.

  • China has never offered journalists free reign to poke around, and has long denied any major

  • problems caused by the air pollution.

  • However, a joint study involving the Chinese Academy for Environmental Planning and the

  • World Health Organization found that somewhere between 350,000 to 500,000 Chinese people

  • areprematurelydying from lung cancer due to pollution.

  • Unfortunately, there are people who try to hand wave these numbers away.

  • China's government has tried to keep journalists from even talking about the issue, and they've

  • done their best to keep the numbers out of international reports whenever possible.

  • While some would suggest that all the smoking in China is the main cause, the study makes

  • it clear that the number of people dying from lung cancer have continued to rise even as

  • the number of smokers has declined.

  • 9.

  • They Are Burning Petcoke As Fuel

  • The United States likes to feel that they're a much cleaner country than China, and that

  • they're doing more to deal with the crisis of pollution and renewable energy.

  • However, the situation is more complicated than it seems.

  • The United States and other countries are happy to buy products made using Chinese industry

  • while claiming to take the high road themselves.

  • The United States has put its foot down on certain fuels such as petroleum coke (petcoke).

  • This fossil fuel is a byproduct of the oil refining process and is much, much dirtier

  • than burning actual coal.

  • While America don't use the fuel, the US exports it to China so America can make some

  • money off this byproduct instead of just letting the dangerous pollutantgo to waste.”

  • Every year, the amount of petcoke exported to China grows, because it's an incredibly

  • cheap fuel and China is dealing with the industrial demands of much of the modern world.

  • While it's cheap, it is hardly sustainable.

  • With carbon emissions already out of control, using a fossil fuel that's dirtier than

  • coal is going to make an environmental crisis approach even faster.

  • Of course, the rest of the world is partly to blame for selling the stuff in the first

  • place.

  • Sometimes it's better to think about protecting the world from catastrophe than it is about squeezing

  • every last cent of profit out of your waste.

  • 8.

  • Record Algae Growth

  • While algae blooms aren't necessarily dangerous to humans, they're usually a bad sign for

  • the local ecosystem.

  • Large blooms of algae have been surfacing every year in the Yellow Sea near the Qingdao

  • Province, and the problem seems to be worsening.

  • These huge piles of algae sitting on top of the water create an enormous mess, and in

  • 2013 the local government was tasked with trying to clean up a bloom that was larger

  • than 11,000 square miles.

  • These algae blooms greatly affect the local marine life, which often simply can't survive

  • the conditions they're forced to deal with.

  • The algae tends to block the sun's rays, and can also greatly change the chemical balance

  • of the water.

  • To make matters worse, the algae can start to cause problems to humans when it decomposes

  • and sends toxic fumes into the atmosphere.

  • When the Olympics were hosted in China, the government had to spend millions and enlist

  • the aid of 10,000 people to clean the algae up enough to allow the games to continue.

  • The damage from that year alone was estimated to cost local seafood farmers roughly 100

  • million dollars.

  • Part of the problem may be seaweed farmers, who are scraping waste into the water that

  • later turns into algae blooms when the conditions are right.

  • Of course, many experts feel that if industrial pollution wasn't so bad those conditions

  • wouldn't be there.

  • 7.

  • They're Approaching A Water Crisis

  • When you think of a country with a serious water crisis, China isn't what comes to

  • mind.

  • But China is approaching a crisis, even though they would appear to have plenty of water

  • to go around.

  • To begin with, many industrial plants are located near water sources and dump their

  • waste directly into the water, with very little recycling or treatment.

  • Oftentimes sewage isn't treated properly or at all, and ends up in the same sources

  • of water intended for industry, drinking and bathing.

  • If that wasn't enough, since the 1960s, 10,000 bodies have been found in water sources.

  • Apart from pollution, China is also destroying some of their water sources.

  • Due to industry using water without sustainable practices, many of China's rivers are drying

  • up.

  • Many different ruined rivers and lakes will affect other water sources and make the crisis

  • worse.

  • On top of all that, China has an infrastructure problem when it comes to getting water where

  • it needs to be.

  • Most of China's people and the agriculture that keeps them fed are located in the north,

  • but the large majority of the country's natural water is still located in the south.

  • And even if you can get water, you may not want to drink it.

  • Some experts believe that half the drinking water in major cities is unsafe to consume,

  • and groundwater supplies are in a similar state of pollution.

  • 6.

  • They're Starting To Experience Conditions Similar To A Nuclear Winter

  • A nuclear winter is a theoretical scenario that would occur in the aftermath of multiple

  • nuclear bomb detonations.

  • Apart from the dangers of the radiation itself, the ash that accumulates in the air would

  • block the sun's rays for a period that may last years.

  • This would cause the planet to cool, and would greatly impede photosynthesis.

  • It would be almost impossible to grow crops.

  • Aside from the radiation, this may soon be a reality in parts of China.

  • As the country's smog problem worsens, and the government becomes less able to sweep

  • it under the rug, more Chinese scientists are delving into the miasma, and it's not

  • good news.

  • One scientist concluded that the smog in some areas is already bad enough that it could

  • be severely impeding photosynthesis.

  • She believes that if the problem isn't dealt with soon, it could spread to much of the

  • country and put agriculture across China at serious risk.

  • 5.

  • Improperly Designed Garbage Incinerators Are Polluting The Atmosphere

  • China is struggling to contain the insane amounts of waste the country produces.

  • Landfills are quickly overfilling, leaving them with nothing to do but simply destroy

  • the garbage if they can.

  • In many situations, this has led to a strategy of garbage incineration, with the fumes vented

  • straight into the atmosphere.

  • While this probably doesn't sound like a great idea even in the best of situations,

  • there are some incinerator plants in China that are having a serious environmental impact.

  • Regulations aren't well designed and there are a plethora of incinerator facilities that

  • aren't even close to standard, belching nasty smoke into the air with mercury and

  • every other poison you could imagine.

  • The horrible toxic fumes that spew forth have caused protests by everyone near them, and

  • they're an obvious threat to everyone's health for miles.

  • 4.

  • It's Become The Largest Dumping Ground For E-Waste

  • E-waste is an increasingly vexing problem for the world.

  • When old electronics are tossed out they often aren't properly recycled because it's

  • too time consuming, unsafe or expensive.

  • In many cases, a venue that recycles old cell phones and computers may just take all that

  • junk and send it to another country to pick over as they please.

  • This is technically illegal, but there's little deterrent.

  • Using both the guise of donations and straight up smuggling, China has becoming the leading

  • importer of e-waste to the point that 70% of the world's e-waste is ending up there.

  • One town called Guiyu has become a hot zone for the stuff, and many entrepreneurs have

  • risen up around mining old electronic garbage for valuable metals and other useful scrap.

  • Unfortunately, this is terrible for their health and the environment.

  • The process often involves burning plastic or using hydrochloric acid, neither of which

  • is good for the user or the atmosphere.

  • To make matters worse, this pollution has also affected the town's water supply and

  • rice crops.

  • While the local government is trying to stop the flood of e-waste into the town, they face

  • resistance from some residents because it's the only way they know how to make a living.

  • 3.

  • Pollutants Are Making The Food Supply Unsafe

  • It stands to reason that if China's air and water isn't doing well, their soil probably

  • isn't faring much better.

  • The problem with the soil may actually be more serious than any others.

  • While many farmers are worried about the constant pollution levels they're exposed to, most

  • of the country is worried about the safety of their food supply — a supply they're

  • increasingly unable to trust.

  • The soil problem has been one of the most carefully guarded secrets in China.

  • In fact, a few years ago the Chinese government conducted a study of the soil in order to

  • assess environmental concerns.

  • The results have never been released, which led to speculation that they're worse than

  • anyone could have imagined.

  • To give you some idea, a group of Chinese officials found levels of cadmium beyond what's

  • recommended as safe in 155 samples of rice.

  • One official commented that eight million acres of Chinese farmland was so poisoned

  • with heavy metal contamination that it should no longer be used to grow crops.

  • The worst part is that it's almost impossible for Chinese consumers to know whether or not

  • their food is contaminated.

  • 2.

  • Cancer Villages

  • Since the late 1990s, international activists and groups in China have been working on the

  • problem of cancer villages.

  • A cancer village is a small town of 100 or so residents that's extremely close to industrial

  • plants.

  • These plants are constantly producing some of the nastiest pollutants on earth.

  • People from the villages describe it as a nightmare, with chemically tainted water that

  • can't be purified and clouds of toxic ash floating through the air.

  • The Chinese government doesn't want to address or even acknowledge the problem, but like the smog

  • the problem has become bad enough that no amount of covering up can hide it.

  • Unfortunately, these villages are unlikely to go away anytime soon.

  • As it turns out, the richer citizens of China don't like pollution when it affects them,

  • so they've been pressuring the government to move industrial plants.

  • The government obliges and moves them near poor villages that lacks the political influence

  • to do anything about it.

  • 1.

  • It Affects The Entire World

  • While it's important for China to help its own country, the problem affects more than

  • just China.

  • The massive amount of pollution is starting to affect the rest of the world, and the results

  • aren't pretty.

  • Scientists at Texas A&M University ran climate simulations both with and without China's

  • current air pollution and found troubling results.

  • According to their simulations, cyclones in the Pacific Ocean are being strengthened by

  • the pollution levels, and there's an increase in ocean storms in general.

  • If that wasn't bad enough, tracing the pollutants led to the conclusion that some of it's

  • reaching the western United States, and much of the pollution levels in those states could

  • be blamed on China.

  • As the study points out, this is massively ironic because the United Statesand other

  • developed countriesrely on China for cheap consumer goods.

  • While many countries have outlawed practices that are bad for the environment, they turn

  • around and buy massive amounts of goods from countries that continue to poison the environment.

  • Countries like China fill a void by allowing us to get things for cheap while feeling like

  • we're taking the high road by enacting tougher pollution laws at home.

  • These countries' economies quickly become based on manufacturing, and the cycle becomes

  • hard to break.

  • While China may need to change, it's a problem of more than just their making.

  • If we want China to stop polluting, the rest of the world needs to find a more environmentally

  • sustainable way to produce the goods that drive our economies.

Top 10 Ways China Is Ruining Its Own Environment

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Top 10 Ways China Is Ruining Its Own Environment

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    ben posted on 2018/07/27
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