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Examine environmental challenges facing China (25 marks)
Introduction Environmental article: The relationship between the environment and
economic growth is complex and poses something of a conundrum. As a country develops,
it uses more energy and mineral resources to support manufacturing. More offices,
transport, houses and water all use further natural resources. Most human activity,
domestic and industrial, produces waste which has to be disposed of and which in turn
affects the environment.
China's policy of economic growth at all costs has had significant effect on its
environment in the form of depleting resources, air and water pollution, soil
degradation and waste. It is the poorest nationals who are most dependant on
natural resources such as water and land.
Economic growth at the risk of the environment, with this money can help the
environment. `At all costs'.
Since the open door policy, development has moved towards economic growth at
all costs. In 1999, Deng made it clear that communities should take environmental
risks to speed up economic growth. Environmental cost damages GDP growth.
China's approach to the environment is to manipulate land and nature to suit
demands of economic growth. China uses engineering on a huge scale to solve its
resource problems. The government is convinced projects such as the three
gorges dam will deliver sustainable solutions required.
However, China is always looking at the economy versus the environmental
impacts as Deng stated when he first took over that economic growth would be
completed at all costs.
Waste disposal increasingly affects rural and urban China and the national
government has taken steps to begin to deal with the issues. China has banned
free bags in shops and the Olympic games made pollution control a high priority.
Rural: Agricultural runoff, consumer waste and illegal dumping of industrial
waste are all problems. More concentrated animal feed, pesticides and effluent are
now washed to rivers.
TVEs create substantial volumes of untreated waste. E.g. silicon tetrachloride
dumped as a biproduct is poisonous to crops. Yangtze river is one of the most
polluted rivers in the world possibly why the yellow dolphin has died out.
In China, there is a lack of understanding as to how to treat waste and there is
little money for waste disposal infrastructure and maintenance.
Urban: Sewage and waste disposal and sewage treatment is no longer subsided by
the Chinese government. As people become more educated they develop a NIMBY
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Air pollution has a significant impact on public health in China. Sulphur dioxide
levels are the highest in the world. The main sources of air pollution are power
plants and household fuels. Coal and industrial boilers use huge amount of natural
The exponential rise in car ownership also contributes to poor air quality.
Everyone is affected by the lack of sunlight and erratic weather which affects
farming. Regional variations in pollution generation occurs.…read more
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Dongtan is situated at the mouth of the Yangtze River and provides a model for the
futuristic Chinese ecocities.
Investment of US$1.3 billion, Dongtan will occupy a space of 86km^2 and have a
population of 500,000 by 2050. It will be carbon neutral with an ecological
footprint negligible compared to that of Beijing. There will be zero waste and
energy comes from renewable sources such as wind and biofuels.
Green building technologies will reduce the demand for energy to heat and cool