You Won’t Believe How Bad Pollution In China Has Become

August 27, 2014

With a newly-minted elite and an economic growth rate of over 10%, 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:

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Boy Swimming In Algal Blooms

A boy swims in dense algal blooms in Qingdao, which are caused by excessive agricultural runoff and lead to 'dead zones' that become inhospitable for both flora and fauna.

Pollution In China Jianhe River

A journalist takes a sample of the Jianhe River, which has become red from chemical plants illegally dumping untreated waste water directly into a local stream.

Industrial Pollution

Scientists recently warned that air pollution in China has become so severe that it could lead to the equivalent of a nuclear winter across the country.

Algae Lake Hefei China

Pressure on local resources has created a country-wide issue with clean water. Here, a lake in Hefei contains a sizable surface layer of pollutants and algae.

Oil Spill In China

In 2010, a blast in an oil storage facility in Dalian led to over 400 million gallons of oil being spilled. For comparison's sake, that's over four times the size of the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Pollution In China Smog

On January 12, 2013, air quality index levels in Beijing were so hazardous that they were beyond existing measurement.

Water Pollution In China

Residents look at the heavily polluted river that cuts through the city of Zhugao in Sichuan province.

Pollution in China Oil Spill

As China's demand for energy has soared, the incidence of oil spills and gas-related pollution will only increase

Pollution In China Beijing Air Pollution

Air pollution has become so problematic that school and work closures due to smog are a regular occurrence in major cities.

Swimming In A Polluted Lake

Trash collection and disposal is more of a luxury than a fact of life. In rural areas, local bodies of water act as the de facto location for garbage disposal.

Pollution In China Industrial Waste

China burns around half the world's coal, reaching 3.8 billion tons in 2011

Pollution In China Photographs

According to Greenpeace, Beijing experienced 2,589 deaths and a loss of US$328 million in 2012 because of PM2.5 pollution.

China Environment Kid Playing With Electronics

Over the last decade, China has become a global dumping ground for the world's discarded electronics. Above, a boy sits in a pile of waste at a scrapping ground.

Buildings Covered In Smog

From Wired: By 2030, China’s carbon dioxide emissions could equal the entire world’s CO2 production today, if the country’s carbon usage keeps pace with its economic growth.

Man In Oil Slude In Liaonin Province

A fisherman wades through the oil spill in Dalian.

Jiaxing City

Three quarters of Chinese cite environmental problems as a national security threat, according to a 2009 study by the Lowy Institute for International Policy and the MacArthur Foundation

Smog In Beijing

According to the World Bank, China is home to 20 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities.

Dead Fish From Pollution

A local man collects fish that have died from exposure to water pollution.

Green Water

Two thirds of China’s cities don’t meet the country’s own air emissions standards.

China Pollution

From The New York Times: Only 1% of China’s 560 million urban residents breathe air that is deemed safe by European Union standards.

Fuyuan China

A young boy drinks water from a stream filled with refuse in Fuyuan, China.

Fishing In Polluted Water

Every year, 750,000 Chinese die prematurely from pollution.

Dead Fish

In 2007, Chinese officials announced that over one third of fish species native to the Yellow River are now extinct because of damming or pollution.

Barges In Polluted River

According to the Asia Water Project, 90% of China’s urban groundwater is contaminated.

Chinese Pollution Fish

By its own governmental projections, China will have exploited all of the country’s available water supplies by 2030

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This Map Helps Explain China’s Pollution Problem

July 10, 2014

Population Density China

China is home to one-fifth of the world’s population, as well as one of the starkest divides between the rural and urban. As evidenced by this map, when split roughly in half, 94% of people live in the more urbane cities in the east, while a much smaller percentage of people (6%) lives in the west. Such high numbers in cities can go a long way in explaining the issues the country faces when it comes to pollution.

Chineasy, Breaking Down The Great Wall Of Language

March 16, 2014
Fire

Source: Chineasy

Whether we’re on vacation or venturing to far flung islands in search of adventure and cultural enlightenment, language barriers can put more of a damper on a trip than inclement weather. To many who use Latin-based alphabets in their daily linguistic exchanges, the Chinese language often presents itself as a formidable challenge. Recognizing that, one pioneering London-based language teacher is attempting to, as she puts it, break down the great wall of language that divides the East and West.

Jade

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Moon

Source: Chineasy

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Spectacular Ice Sculptures from the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival

January 29, 2014

While spring, summer and fall have their upsides, there’s no better time of year than winter. Overflowing mugs of eggnog and warm evenings by the fire are just the start–the season is full of family, warmth and an extra couple of days off of work. Winter also marks the start of the Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, which officially launches each January in Harbin, China, and is home to some of the world’s most breathtaking ice sculptures.

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China’s Digital Landscape

December 14, 2013

Despite–or perhaps even because–of governmental censorship of the internet, China’s digital landscape is vast, abundant and growing. So much so that Tencent, a host site for everything from gaming to messaging, is the third largest internet entity in the world. What’s more, it has no Western counterpart.

The Incredible Chinese Pollution Problem

November 28, 2013

Imagine a place where the word “sky” doesn’t conjure the color blue but an ashy grey. No, such a place isn’t in another planet or the set of a dystopian sci-fi film. That place is present-day China, a country now living and breathing the harsh effects of dogged industrialization. In northern China, the heavy use of coal coupled with the ever-increasing population has led to an alarmingly extreme case of air pollution. It’s so extreme, in fact, that a person’s life expectancy in northern China is a full five years shorter than someone residing in southern China. As the size of the middle class continues to balloon, there is an insatiable need for cheap and easy energy. Quickly turning to oil and gasoline for fuel and coal for heat, the Chinese love affair with fossil fuels has plunged an astounding amount of people into an atmosphere ripe with danger.

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