China has developed a reputation as one of the world’s leading producers of the pollutants which contribute to Global Warming.
It is also a leading producer of manufactured goods which are exported to North and South America, Europe, and Africa, and the factories which produce these goods are not the most eco-friendly on Earth.
Rapid development of industry in southern China over the past thirty years has resulted in the emergence of hundreds of thousands of factories.
The air pollution in China was rated at “high” for 70% of the time, earlier this year. A “high” rating means that long-term exposure can damage health.
Hong Kong’s skyline has become notoriously shrouded in pollution, to the point that tourists are complaining as they can’t get a good photograph. Hong Kong’s pollution is apparently locally produced.
Chinese government officials recently reported that they would be taking measures to address this issue, and implement green energy solutions, such as solar power, wind power, and even energy produced by combusting waste matter.
Officials have said they would be tightening control and anti-pollution regulations. Hong Kong and China agreed to spend 12 million to clean up industry over the next give years. Some said they will meet green emission targets within the next two years.
The Eco-Expo Asia, is a leading international trade fair in Hong Kong, centered around the environmental protection industry. The fair showcases the latest solutions, innovations, products and services in the environmental industry. Eco Expo Asia 2008 took place in late October.
The Financial Crisis, China, and Alternative Energy
The Financial crisis has had a heavy impact on China. As the West is buying less, the Chinese are selling less, and this puts a heavy strain on factories and on Chinese jobs.
According to the Washington Post China appears to be pulling back from its aims environmental protection. It creates more toxic waste than the United States, it has created black clouds that can be seen from thousands of miles away, and it has poisoned its rivers with everything from red die, to arsenic, to acid.
The Chinese Premier, Wen Jiabao, had promised to shift its economies dependence on environmentally harmful factories and industries. But with the current economic situation, and the amount of money that would be required in order to mend China’s polluting habits. Making a significant change also meant enforcing environmental regulations and closing companies down which didn’t meet them, leaving millions of workers without jobs.
At the same time, the news in the West indicates that Alternative Energy could become part of the solution to our economy. The field of solar energy has one of the fastest growing job markets, with new jobs in solar installations and other alternative energy related jobs opening up every day.
No doubt, China could do the same. The transition will be tricky because they’ve mired themselves so far into the mud – and an unhealthy mud, at that.