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  • Written by  Eins Yu

China Has to Pay the Price of Economic Success - Industrial Pollution

pollution in China
Photo: sina

Apart from the Tiananmen Square, nowadays, Beijing is also known for the fog-filled sky and choking air which gives people another perspective to view China’s economic success. The world is green-eyeing China’s fast-growing economy, though it is slowing down in 2015, however, China has to pay the cost of its unduly high-growth-rate industrial pollution.

The status quo of China’s industrial pollution

Air pollution

Chinese energy supply mainly relies on coal and 60% of its electricity is powered by coal in the factories. Emissions from coal-powered factories is one of the top contributors of air pollution in China. Smog days of national average numbered 35.9 in 2013, an increase of 18.3 over 2012 and the largest one since 1961. What’s worse, the PM250 is the fourth death cause behind non-natural death of Chinese in 2013 according to Southern Weekly.

Water pollution

Water pollution is an important and urgent issue in China. It is estimated that 70% of Chinese lakes and rivers are polluted and 90% of their groundwater is contaminated, which are alarming numbers. It is yet an all-too-true fact that most of the water waste is discharged from factories.

The attitudes of factories towards pollution

In order to project a good image and avoid the punishment from environmental department, most factories pledge to reduce pollution. However, they are keener on energy efficiency, which can cut their costs and they pay more attention to that their final products can meet international standards rather than their discharged waste is up to the environmental standard. The former can earn money but the latter just waste money in their eyes. Most their attitudes towards pollution are short-sighted without a long-term plan of handling pollution.

The general measures taken by Chinese government

Chinese government is shifting the idea from “treatment after pollution” to “putting the prevention on the first place”. The government wants China’s economy to become greener.

1In the latest Report on the Work of the Government, it said shutting down outdated production facilities, which refer to heavy pollution producers, is one of the central tasks for the 2015.

2Chinese government also channels more efforts into developing clean energy and intensifying their support to enterprise adopting clean energy.

3Heavy crackdown is launched to punish violations and stiff regulations are carried out at all levels to curb the pollution among factories.

If you come across some environmental regulations in Chinese factories, the following explanations can help you well understand the various types of regulations and standards in China:

  • GB - mandatory national standards;
  • GB/T - recommended national standards;
  • HJ - environmental standards;
  • HJ/T - recommended environmental standards;
  • BJ (Beijing) and SH (Shanghai) are examples of local standards.
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