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Environmental Issues of China

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  1. Environmental Issues of China

  2. EnvironmentalIssues in East Asia(Fig. 11.2) Globalization & Diversity: Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff

  3. Chinas environmental problems are among the most severe of any major country and are getting worse: Air pollution Land Degradation Cropland losses Desertification Disappearing wetlands Grassland degradation Soil erosion Overgrazing Salinization Water pollution and shortage Freshwater Groundwater depletion Oceans Loss of biodiversity – increase in invasive species Environmental Consequences

  4. Deforestation • Other East Asian Environmental Problems • Forests and Deforestation • Little conservation of forests in China; much more in Japan • Reforestation programs have been unsuccessful • Substantial forests found in the far north and along Tibetan border • China may need to import wood products for development Globalization & Diversity: Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff

  5. Deforestation • China’s natural forests have been declining over the last 50 years • Deserts are forming quickly due to this • A desert in China will bury an area the size of New Jersey every five years • Since 1949, the area that was covered by trees in China was about 14.4 million Mha • A few years ago, the forested area in China was only .7 Mha • Lumber production has grown to accommodate the demands for the growing population to make furniture • Despite a logging ban passed in 1999, the damage has already been done • China suffers from soil erosion and flooding

  6. Impacts: 2/3 of China’s Forests Lost, Leading to Floods and Deserts Image Sources: The Guardian, BBC News, True Health.

  7. Impacts: 25% of China’s Land Becoming Desert Image Sourcse: BBC News, New York Times, World Bank.

  8. Desertification • This is common in China • During 2003, China’s EPA reported that the Gobi Desert had grown by 52, 400 km • About 900 square miles of land each year become desert in China • This is due to drought, overgrazing, incorrect use of ground water, and logging • Due to this, dust storms and sandstorms are more common • Expanding deserts cause China to lose about 1 million acres of land each year

  9. Desertification • Every time the desert grows by 2,500 km, China loses about 2 to 3 billion dollars annually • In 2001, a new law was passed to try to control desertification • It asked that land occupants plant trees in areas where deforestation had already occurred • And this has begun to slowly help

  10. Over grazing- increase in number of goat, sheep and cattle Increasing desertification, the Gobi desert expanded by 52,400 km2 from 1994 to 1999 Winter storms create enormous dust storms affecting Korea and Japan

  11. Water Shortage • Unevenly distributed North only 1/3 of South • 100 cities suffer from severe shortages, halting industrial production. 300 cities out of Chinas 617 Cities suffer from shortage • 2/3 from groundwater mining – salt water intrusion in coastal areas and subsidence in some cities • World’s worst cessation of river flows. Yellow river stopped flowing during 20 of the years 1972-1997 • Number of days without flow up from 90 in 1980 to 230 in 1997

  12. Competition rural urban intensifying: Residential use incr. from 31 to 134 bil. tons from 1995 to 2003 while industrial use Incr. from 52 to 269 bil. ton Farmers can not compete economically 1000 ton of water in agriculture = $200 while in industry it = $14,000 of profit. Virtual water? Water shortage The farmer holds a small irrigator used to lift water out of a canal using small buckets

  13. Impacts: Water - Shortage and Pollution • More than 100 of China's 660 cities face extreme water shortages. • China supports 21% of the world's population with just 7% of its water supplies. Image Sourcse: CNN. • Nearly 90% of China's cities and 75% of its lakes are impacted by water pollution. • Coastal waters suffer from urban run-off, red tides, and biodiversity loss.

  14. Water Shortage & Pollution • Hard to meet the water needs of the rising population, especially when such large numbers of people are concentrated in the cities, further straining water supplies. • “This water shortage prevents the river from flushing its heavy load of pollutants into the Yellow Sea. At the same time, the quantity of wastewater dumped into the river from nonindustry sources has increased, resulting in ever-deteriorating conditions” (Karasov 2002). • Some areas are categorized as not even fit to be touched by people (Karasov 2002).

  15. Water Pollution • Mainland China has only a per-capita share of 2700 cubic meters per annum, ¼ of the world's average. 2/3 of China's 660 largest cities face water deficits. • Beijing is among the cities most affected. • "Surface water pollution across the country is still relatively grave … 59.9 percent of rivers were grade 3 or better, 23.7 percent of rivers were grade 4 or 5 and 16.4 percent failed to meet any grade standard. (China State of the Environment 2010)

  16. Pollution • Other East Asian Environmental Problems (cont.) • Mounting Pollution • China’s development causing water pollution, toxic waste dumping, and air pollution from the burning of high sulfur coal • Japan, Taiwan, South Korea have implemented stringent pollution controls and established pollution-generating industries outside of their countries to reduce pollution • Environmental Issues in Japan • Japan has a relatively clean environment • Environmental restrictions, cleanup and pollution exporting • Pollution exporting: Location of their dirtier factories elsewhere in the world Globalization & Diversity: Rowntree, Lewis, Price, Wyckoff

  17. Second most severe env. health problem • Sewage, agricultural and industrial waste contaminates water supplies and cause many deceases • Much surface and groundwater is declared heavily polluted by heavy metals incl. lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic and fluorides. • China’s per capita water availability only ¼ of world average - shortage Water pollution Arsenic contaminated water Skeletal fluorosis

  18. Water Pollution • Due to China’s population being over one billion, their water supply is slowly disappearing. • Their water is also being contaminated by the industrial growth with benzene which causes cancer. • For example, on November 24, 2005, there was an explosion at a chemical plant in northeastern China. • It spilled 100 tons of benzene in the Songhua River. • Due to this, the city of Harbin was forced to shut its water supply to 3.8 million people for a week.

  19. Water Pollution • More than 700 mio people consume drinking water contaminated with levels of animal and human excreta that exceed maximum permissible levels by as much as 86% in rural areas and 28% in urban areas • By 1996 only 5% of industrial and 17% of domestic waste received any treatment before being discharged in rivers, lakes, oceans etc. However these percentages are increasing • Also dramatic increase in fresh water aquaculture

  20. China’s Polluted Water (Picture) • http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200708/r171792_646585.jpg

  21. The Polluted Yellow River!

  22. Migrant worker, shoveling extremely polluted water and mud from a nearly dried river. (Johnson,Tim.China's Environmental Woes are so Large They've Begun to Generate Social Instability. http://earthhopenetwork.net/economic_boom_batters_chinas_climate.htm)

  23. Water Pollution • Substances such as cadmium, lead, DDT, coliform bacteria, and arsenic have been found in the rivers (Some Polluted Outlets… 2004). • “The decline in water conditions across China is directly related to China's population growth, strong economic growth, and uncontrolled urbanization and semiurbanization” (Karasov 2002). • In 1996, governmental officials in the country reported that 40% of the sections of the Huang and Yangtze rivers near major cities did not even fulfill the minimum standards of water quality (Environmental Health Perspectives 2002).

  24. Water Pollution: Waste Water • Waste water is when raw sewage is dumped into the rivers and carries water-borne diseases like typhoid, cholera, dysentery and hepatitis • This leads to health epidemics and deaths • It also contaminates farmland due to irrgation.

  25. Cancer mortality from water pollution - TVE • Increase in cancer mortality over time in control area, polluted and most polluted townships • Show that increased pollution results in increased mortality • steady increase in cancer mortality over time in polluted areas Liver and stomach cancer deaths doubled since the 1970s. China has Highest liver cancer dead rate in the world

  26. Cancer mortality and birth defects – changes to agriculture Impact of new practice of using industrial wastewater for irrigation 70 km long canal build in 1960, daily received 400,000 m3 of untreated wastewater from coalmines and petrochemical, power and chemical plants – increasing cancer mortality and birth defect

  27. Ocean pollution

  28. Air Pollutants • Sulfates • Sulfur dioxide---China is the world’s leading source of---respiratory and cardiovascular disease and acid rain---25.5 million tons each year • Ozone • Black carbon---produced by cars, stoves, factories and crop burning • Desert dust--from sand and dust storms in the Gobi Desert • Mercury

  29. Air pollution • Most severe env. health problem • 3 out of 4 city dwellers live below Chinas air-quality standards • Acid rain fell on a quarter of cities for more than 60% of rainy days • High mortality rate from lung disease, • High rate of lung cancer because of smoking Iron, steel and chemical factories spew sot, fly ash and sulfur dioxide into the air Pollutant trapped in the valley and within the walls of the city. 2 million people live Taiyuan – Shansi Province

  30. Air Pollution Photograph: Guang Niu/Getty Images "Overall urban air quality is good with relatively heavy pollution in some cities. Among 471 cities, 3.6 percent met grade 1 air quality standard, 79.2 percent met grade 2, 15.5 percent met grade 3 and 1.7 percent failed to met grade 3." Interpretation: Almost one in five cities still fails to meet the low passing grade set by the government on an annual basis.

  31. China – Air Pollution • 16 of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China.

  32. Air Pollution • In Nov 2010, China’s EPA published a report that said 1/3 of 113 cities had failed to meet the national air standards • According to the Chinese government, 1/5 of China’s urban population breathe heavily polluted air • Many places smell like high-sulfur coal and leaded gasoline

  33. Impacts: Air Pollution • Nearly 30% of respiratory disease in China is attributed to air pollution. • 500 major cities in China exceed safe air quality levels. • Acid rain affects more than 30% of the country. Image Source: Stephanie B. Ohshita, 2005. • Over 75% of China’s SO2 pollution, acid rain, and CO2 emissions come from coal combustion.

  34. Air Pollution • Smog is so bad in Beijing and Shanghai that the airports are often shut down due to poor visibility • This just happened on January 29, 2013 • In January 2012, more than 150 flights to and from Beijing were canceled due to smog • Highways have been closed due to smog • The air quality in Beijing is 16 times worse than NYC • Sometimes you cannot see the building a few blocks away • A blue sky is rare • In Shanghai, you often cannot see the street from the 5th floor window

  35. Air Pollution • Only 1% of China’s 560 million city dwellers are considered safe by the World Bank • From space, astronauts can see the smog over China

  36. China –Air Pollution Causes • fossil fuels: • Coal • For industry and heating homes. • Coal is cheap but pollutes the air. • Factories • Vehicles

  37. Lack of Industrial Controls • Great economic development during the 1980s led to increased pollution. • Demand has risen over time in China and industries have met this with increased output. They have not added any controls to the air released from smokestacks, though. • By 2020, China’s carbon dioxide emissions will surpass the U.S., and the United States and China “would contribute more to global warming than all other nations combined.” Statistics in this slide are from China Revs Up 2004 unless otherwise labeled.

  38. Air Pollution • Now nine out of the ten cities said to have the most serious air pollution in the world are located in China (Schmidt 2002). • Urban haze fills the air with the appearance of fog. • Ding Yihui, of the China National Climate Center, explains “This smog is mainly smoke though, not fog which would be comprised of water vapor. • In the large cities of China, substances such as lead, sulfur, carbon monoxide and tiny particles of dust are in the air. • Respiratory diseases cause ten times as many fatalities as in the United States. Statistics in this slide are from China Revs Up 2004 unless otherwise labeled.

  39. China has the most deaths from urban air pollution in the world. (Worldwatch Institute. Coal, China, and India: A Deadly Combination for Air Pollution?, http://www.worldwatch.org/features/vsow/2005/12/14)

  40. A picture of downtown Hangzhou, China hazy with smog (Skiba, Tom. Smog in downtown Hangzhou China, http://cai.blogware.com/blog/Photos/China/_archives/2005/4/27/625887.htm)

  41. Effects of Air Pollution • Evan Osnos lived in Beijing and in The New Yorker he wrote, • “After four years in Beijing, I have learned how to gauge the pollution before I open the curtains; by dawn on the smoggiest days, the lungs ache. “ • The US Embassy in Beijing installed an air monitor on its roof and every hour on Twitter it posts the score from 1 being the cleanest to 500 the dirtiest • It is normally around 500 and public health notices are constantly posted that you should avoid all physical activity outside. • The only time any American city ever reached 300 was in the midst of a forest fire

  42. China - Effects of Air Pollution • up to 656,000 premature deaths each year • Crop damage • Climate change • Only 1% of people in cities breathe safe air

  43. Effects of Air Pollution • Different colored smog • Gray comes from iron deposits blown from steel mills • White comes from the chemical factories • Black comes form the coal mines and plants

  44. Effects of Air Pollution • China has the world’s highest number of deaths attributed to air pollution • In 2007, the WHO estimated that 656,000 Chinese died prematurely due to indoor and outdoor air pollution • Air pollution causes premature babies, low-birth weight babies, and depresses lung functions in healthy people • Lung cancer is the number one cause of death in China • Asthma is on the rise • Reduced crop production because the smog blocks sunlight over 2/3 of eastern China where rice and wheat are harvested