No doubt, China has emerged on the international scene as the fastest growing economy but at the cost of environment. China’s booming economy is driving a rapid rise in water and air pollution.
An index assessing air pollution from southern Daxing County read over 850 particles of particulate matter per square meter, eight times the norm. The picture was quite the same for last year, nearly 2/3rd of Chinese cities suffered from air pollution and had no centralized sewage management system and 187 were without garbage disposal plants. The ratio of quality water in the major urban areas, either for drinking or industrial use, had dropped by 7.24 percent
Only 37.6 percent of 585 cities surveyed were fortunate having clean and healthy air quality, but the figure is down 7.3 percentage points from 2005.
More than 100 of China’s 660 cities face extreme water shortages.
High-level carbon emissions, mining, exploitation of forests on a large scale, burning of crops, are only a few factors resulting in pollution of such an extent in the country. Rising levels of acid rain from industrial pollution threaten Chinese cities.
Water shortage has been a constant worry for China for centuries. Limited water resources are threatened by pollution, and water safety in cities is facing severe challenges. Problems have worsened as the population swelled and largely unregulated factories dumped toxic pollutants into rivers and lakes. Moreover, the sewage treatment plants in many cities are out of order, mixing with drinking water making it unfit for consumption. 90 % of the cities and 75% lakes suffer from some degree of water pollution.
Conflicts over water supplies have led to violent clashes.
The government has imposed strict air and water quality standards and restricted logging, and forcing paper mills and other heavily polluting industries to close, but such efforts haven’t borne many fruits. It has planned to treat at least 70 percent of sewage and 60 percent of garbage by 2010. The government is constructing a US$60 billion network of canals meant to move vast amounts of water from China’s wetter south to Beijing and other parts of the arid north, but the project is destined to complete in 60 years.
By 2030, China’s problems are expected to double as the population is projected to reach 1.6 billion.