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China faces many environmental problems. Her problems result from her economic priorities. There is little regard in China for either the environment or for the harm this causes to humans.
The changes that could be put in place sound straightforward. Change from carbon-based fossil fuels to renewable energy sources. Stop polluting the environment. Stop deforestation and have a reforestation programme. Stop importing waste from other countries. Find better ways to get rid of waste as well as reusing and recycling. All the answers are readily available in most environmental science textbooks.
But, we in the West don't always adopt these environmentally-friendly processes. This is because to put such measures in place requires political will. This is lacking in most industrial economies. In China the central government wants China to be a major economic power both in its own region and worldwide. To achieve this at the lowest cost means that environmental issues are set aside and the focus is placed on industrial development. All the solutions to environmental problems do not come without a cost. In its efforts to build up its economy China does not want the costs of protecting and cleaning up the environment.
We in the West also lack the political will. Despite the fact we are democracies unlike China, here industry is a powerful lobby. Industry works hard to minimise any legislated for requirements to protect the environment because industry does not want those costs.
In the study of the environment and looking at means of protecting it does require us to look at politics and economics and how they impacted on decisions regarding the environment.
The main environmental concerns of China are
- Air pollution
- Water pollution
- Loss of biodiversity
- Population growth
The main culprit here is China's disregard for environmental regulation in order to maintain its economic growth rate. The key cause of pollution is the coal-fired power plants, which account for 47% of world's coal demand.
One of the steps would to use more renewable energy options, e.g. solar power, wind energy or an alternative energy source like nuclear power.
Release of contaminants by the industry into surface or groundwater has to be stopped.
Afforestation has to be practiced to protect arable land and prevent dust storms and soil erosion.
Biodiversity needs to be protected by a ban on poaching and caring for the species.
The more troublesome aspect would be control of population growth and ensuring sustainable development.
Stricter environmental regulations and their implementation will help as well.
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