Environmental hazards in China

Posted on Apr 8 2013 - 8:46pm by Wanfei Wu

Recently, the Shanghai and Beijing water pollution has drawn attention from all over the world. The rapid economic growth of China is impressive, but the environment hazards are shocking.
China’s pollution growth has been a serious issue for decades, especially in recent years. The big lake in my hometown (Kunming, Yunnan Province, China) has been polluted by the factories around it for more than 20 years.

The pollution of the lake was notorious across the country. Our government spent a lot of money to improve it but didn’t close the factories. Therefore, billions of dollars and a lot of people’s efforts in cleaning it were spent in vain.
The lake is the water source for Kunming’s residents and factories. But when you drive past it, there is a horrible smell and the water looks like green oil paint. It was the largest plateau freshwater lake in China.

It was called “the plateau pearl” proudly by our people.
Before the 1970s, the size of the lake was much bigger than it is currently.

The campaign of reclaiming land from the lake ruined the beautiful lake and the nice climate of Kunming. It was an irreversible disaster.
The lake pollution is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more environmental pollutions and hazards at work.
The soil contamination of heavy metal caused the people in the area to have a variety of weird diseases. The air pollution is serious in northern China. Sandstorms in winter and spring take place frequently. The blue sky becomes yellow.

The percentage of respiratory disease is becoming higher and higher due to all kinds of air pollution.

The water pollution from the factories and from residents dumping waste has destroyed a great number of rivers and lakes.
China paid too much attention to the economic development and overlooked the environmental problems.

Even though the government has realized the seriousness of the environmental disruption and has begun to put money and efforts into rescuing our environment, the destruction is faster than the recovery.
It’s a tragedy, and we will continue to pay the price.
The pollution of our environment has had a negative influence on a lot of people’s health, even their lives. More than that, not only does the current generation have to pay the price, but the later generations will be affected as well.
We didn’t learn the painful lessons from other countries’ industry development, so we sacrificed our environment and ignored the needs for its protection.

Regretfully, we repeat, even expand, the mistakes. Our undoing is valuing our economic prosperity to a degree that it has allowed us to sustain environmental destruction.
How can we deal with these situations? What will be left for the coming generations?
If China does not acknowledge and answer these questions, it will face even greater trouble in the future.

Wanfei Wu is a second-year graduate integrated marketing communications student from Yunnan Province, China. Follow her on Twitter @WanfeiWu.