The Problem with Pollution In China and How Technology Can Help
The pollution in China is at the worst it has ever been in years. Since the beginning of this year, the levels of air pollution in Beijing have been dangerously high, with thick clouds of smog chasing people indoors, disrupting air travel, and affecting the health of millions. The two weeks in the middle of January of this year have been especially bad; at one point the pollution level measured 40 times recommended safety levels (China’s Toxic Sky). Authorities are taking short-term measures to combat the current crisis, shutting down some factories and limiting government auto usage. However, long-term solutions seem distant, as China's use of coal continues to rise, and the government remains slow to acknowledge and address the problems. On November 13th 2012, I traveled to China with 14 other students from Champlain College. I have chosen this topic because while I was traveling in China, the air quality was my biggest concern and had bothered me the whole trip. I had only traveled for a week. The citizens of Beijing have been and will live in those conditions their whole lives. This creates serious health problems with women, children and the unborn babies. For a pregnant women to be breathing in this quality of air is basically like her smoking constantly throughout her pregnancy. This causes major health problems for future generations. This is all an effect from the combination of China’s extraordinary economic growth, rapid industrialization and urbanization but the blame is also shared with inadequate investment in basic water supply and treatment.
China is soon to become the world’s superpower. Although they have accomplished so much already, they soon have to face some serious problem. China’s main problem right now; environment protection. When compared to the United States, China’s environmental protection laws are about 200 years behind. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helps regulate any unethical action against the environment. EPA helps keep bodies of water, the air and soil free from any contaminants that may be harmful to any living creature. In China, they have not reached a stage where they feel it is necessary for a government agency to regulate the amount of pollutants that are released into the environment. There are still problems with dumping industrial and household waste in surface and drinking water (Moise 137).
China started out as the center of attention at during the pre-modern era. “The long list of major technological innovations achieved in China during the pre-modern period include redesigned ploughshares, hydraulic engineering, gunpowder, the tapping of natural gas, the compass, mechanical clocks, paper, printing, lavishly embroidered silk fabrics, and sophisticated metalworking techniques. The construction of vast irrigation systems consisting of hundreds of small canals enhanced the region’s agricultural productivity while at the same time providing for one of the best river transport systems in the world. The codification of law and the fixing of weights, measures and values of coinage fostered the expansion of trade and markets (Steger 588).” This would also bring along the famous Silk Road in China. The Silk Road linked the Chinese and the Roman Empires. The Chinese were big exporters from the beginning.
When you move into the industrial period, you see where China excels. As China kept exporting and making money, they used that money for to find the cheapest fuel to sustain their factories. China soon became the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal. Not only because it was cheap, but China had plenty of coal deposits ready to be mined in Eastern China (Moise 110). Immediately, the Chinese began a rapid industrialization movement and in the process was burning as much coal as the rest of the world combined. Coal is used to provide heating to households. Not only is...
Cited: Steger, Manfred B. Globalization: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Ebook (Kindle).
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