With a newly-minted elite and an economic growth rate of over 10 percent, the environment has taken a backseat in China, the world’s most populous country. Growing pollution has led to unusable waterways, increased incidence of birth defects, and some of the dirtiest air on earth. It’s so nasty that there’s now a word for it: “smogpocalypse”.

With that said, China is not oblivious to its ecological impacts, and according to the Harvard Business Review “is taking this challenge much more seriously than others… doing things differently, making longer-term, sustained commitments that are much larger.” In 2010, China ranked as the world’s leading investor in low-carbon energy technology, which makes sense given national political leaders’ tendency to view clean energy as a great economic opportunity.

The following photographs prove that economic growth indeed comes at a cost, and one whose long-term effects remain unclear:

Boy Swimming In Algal Blooms
Pollution In China Jianhe River
Industrial Pollution
Algae Lake Hefei China
You Won’t Believe How Bad Pollution In China Has Become
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We also recommend that you check out these videos by Vice about the severity of pollution in China:

Thank you to National Geographic, Business Insider, CBS, and us for the images above.

Be sure to check out our other posts on photographs of life inside North Korea and the growing environmental crisis in China. And before you go, sign up for our newsletter and like All That Is Interesting on Facebook!

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