China is one of the major polluters in our world. It produces a lot of CO2 emissions and they do not really care about the environment. There are several reasons for China’s bad performance in trying to live in a sustainable way, however they all lead to two major factors, profit and the less ethical concern of people. The companies in China are considered to be one of the major reasons for the high pollution of the air. One very shocking fact is that there is a direct relationship between profit of a company and the ability to keep the company alive. The truth is when a company is making a lot of profit it does not matter how much air pollution or other environmental damage it causes. A successful company can always afford to pay the fines in China which are only due one or two times a year, as they are not very expensive. For the companies it is more lucrative to pay the fines than to do the necessary cleanups in their cooperation. Just to give an example there was an aluminum plant in Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. As a matter of fact this company never passed the requirements in the first place, however they started with the cooperation in 2008 and continued until 2012. They detained industrial waste into a south China river. The water in the reservoir had reached acadmium level which was 80 times higher than the level of the official limit. This company only had to pay around 16000 dollars although they polluted the environment for 4 years. Moreover as it was an 8.5 billion dollar investment it is obvious that the fine is in no relationship with that sum. I find this very shocking as it seems that everybody is only concerned about the profit and not the consequences of producing in an unsustainable way. This also presents up ethical problems, as for me it seems that when you make enough profit and you pay “cheap fines” you can pollute the environment whichever way you want. The sad truth is that it does not matter that you might danger the life of millions of people by doing it. For instance when the water is polluted the fish inside may get poisoned and the people who eat them, get sick as well. In the example above the river provided the city Lingwan with drinking water and many people were short of drinking water or got sick because they drank from it. The issue on the coastal in South China is another shocking fact of China’s way of exploiting the resource of the earth. The coastal South in China has to face many difficulties caused by economic development and human activities. For instance there are Wastewater discharge, reclamation, overfishing and aquaculture. All of them are reasons for environmental degradation and clearly show that China is only interested in getting as much from the environment and exploiting their resources without doing anything sustainable. Help organizations have to face many problems such as policy, management and a lack of financial support. For me this proves again China’s only and major interest which is economic growth as well as profit. It is very shocking that the help organizations don’t get any help from China’s government and that they need to be financed otherwise.
The two examples given above show perfectly that the Chinese government does not really care about the environment. I feel if they would care there would be definitely higher fines for producing in an unsustainable way. So why is it that the government does not intervene with higher fines and more punishment for these companies. The reason is that China wants to make up with Europe in modernity. This is why they want to industrialize their country, no matter what. This is one of the major reasons why there is so lax environmental oversight in China. However it is not only the government in China which shows no interest in a cleaner planet the whole attitude of Chinese people in general is more about profit and surviving, rather than the environment. I believe there are two reasons for it. First of all, the general living conditions in China are not as good as in the Western society. This results in people only care to be able to feed their family and simply survive day by day. Moreover it is also how they are raised and influenced by others. The children in China don’t grow up in a society which urges for a safe planet. How would you behave when nobody ever tells you about the terrible consequences of emissions and Global Warming and how everything are related? Unfortunately I think that the people simply don’t care about things which they cannot turn into profit. In my opinion there is a new way of thinking needed in our society. People should learn to understand that sometimes it is more important to do something for the environment without thinking of profit.
In relationship to the problem that is mentioned above is the political and environmental corruption in China. It is true that the polluting companies often have relationships with politician or other influential persons and therefore they do not need to fear the government. These companies often receive lax inspections and therefore they are able to avoid paying fines at all. A further problem is that the government also tries to suppress the public interest in the environment. There are no articles in the news in China which would point out the shocking facts of China’s role as a major polluter of the world. This leads to the fact that some people are just uninformed about the situation and as a result, the public is less interested in helping the environment In my opinion this is a huge problem that there is still so much corruption and pollution going on in China. If the people would be more enlightened and informed there would be more protests and it would be much harder for the companies to continue with pollution. I believe that the media has to point out the shocking facts and tell the society what is going on in order to lead them to the right way of life. Otherwise there will always be costumers who just buy the first product they see. They don’t care about the way it was produced. The aim is to get through to people and to show them that it is very important to produce sustainably. Unfortunately the situation right now in today’s society is exactly the opposite. Most of us are only interested in saving money and they don’t care much about, under which circumstances the products where produced. A perfect example for me is the “Apple Company” founded by Steve Jobs. Recently I heard the podcast by “Mr. Daisy” which portrays how our I-phones, I-pads and I-Macs are made. They are produced under terrible work conditions for the workers themselves and also they pollute the environment with a lot of emissions. He described the area around the “Foxcon plant” in China as very dusty and he said that he barely was able to breathe. It is argued that many people are not able to stand the terrible work conditions anymore and they started killing themselves. This is outstanding for me because “Apple” is such a huge brand in the Western society and most of us use them on a daily basis. This shows that many of us are either uniformed or give our values away for cheap products. So again I really recommend that everybody should inform himself about the background information of a product they are going to buy. Sometimes you maybe don’t want to buy the product anymore when you see how much suffering or pollution it has caused to produce it. China at least tried to start with producing more cleanly when a a new public disclosure law was published in 2007 which rated cities how sustainable they are. 113 cities were rated on a 100 point scale and only four were higher than sixty. Three out of four did not fulfill the disclosure requests. This shows me again that there must be a change in Chinas environmental affairs soon; otherwise there will be serious consequences. The topic “Environment versus Pollution in China” also shows the ethical issues in our society. A lot clothes and other things are produced in China in a non sustainable way which are later bought by many western consumers. This is a major problem because by buying these products the Western society encourages this behavior. The thing is that everybody looks at the price of the product. The products produced in China are way cheaper than the products produced in western society. This now gives the question. How can we convince people to pay more for products that have the same quality but are simply more expensive because they are produced cleanly? I believe that this will be a long term process and it simple affords to open the eyes of people and show them the consequences of pollution. For example I think that the movie “An inconvenient truth” by Al Gore is a perfect example to persuade people to think in a more sustainable way. When I saw this movie I was really intrigued by it and since then I always look twice at what I buy. I always check where the product is from and how is it produced but the big problem is that the products are often twice the normal price. Moreover I believe that we are very much influenced by the media, for example advertisements. However most companies are telling people through advertisements that their products are the best and much better than the others. I could imagine that a good strategy would also be to focus the ads in telling the people that their product was produced in a clean and safe way. I am sure this would influence people to learn that producing cleanly is a very important factor and is probably worth it to pay a little more. I also think that another very important factor to solve the problem is the general well being of the people and the ability to earn enough money. When the people have more money they are more likely to invest it in environmental issues but when they don’t have enough money they don’t care that much because they only want to get some food or clothes no matter what. To find a conclusion there is definitely a change needed in China and they should start very soon with stricter laws on pollution as well as providing a better work environment for people. However it is not only China who has to change, Europe and the United States of America are also need to rethink their values and decide which way they want to go. In my opinion there is only one way to go which demands from all of us to pay more attention on what we buy. I think that what we buy and which products we prefer presents in a way our personality and how we think about the world.
Yuan Shuang “Experts say proposed environmental protection laws fail to protect” Global Times 27 September 2012 Available http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/735657.shtml
Yuan Shuang “Paying for Polution” Global Time31 August 2012 Available http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/730259.shtml
Yuan Shuang “7 executives produced over river pollution” China.org.cn January 2012 http://www.china.org.cn/china/2012-01/31/content_24510905.htm
Block, Ben “China slowly improving Environmental Transparency” December 2009 http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?sid=75007f6b-c3d9-4cd0-a44c- 028c4f4ab7f2%40sessionmgr112&vid=2&hid=111&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=44901792
Qiuying Han, Xiaoping Huang, Qianguo Xing & Ping Shi “A review of problems in the coastal sea of South China” Scholarly Database 11 July 2012 http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14634988.2012.687611