Pollution Impacts on China’s Environment

Pollution Impacts on China’s Environment


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Pollution Impacts on China’s Environment

Pollution is one of the major environmental challenges faced by many countries around the world today. According to Liu and Lin (2019), environmental pollution is a process that involves introduction of harmful waste materials which cause extreme changes into the natural environment. The contamination of the natural environment is a considered a major global challenge that disturbs the ecosystem balance affecting individuals’ normal lifestyle by affecting water sources and air used for consumption. The increase in the rate of modernization and development through science and technology is one of the factors responsible for the peak in environmental pollution in countries such as China. As a result, this has led to an increased rate of environmental impacts such as global warming and increased human illnesses among its population.

Considered one of the largest developing nations in the world, China has been able to achieve what is termed as rapid economic growth, averaging a yearly GDP (Gross Domestic product) growth rate of approximately 10% over last two decades. Despite the impressive rate of growth and development over the years, China’s success comes with the cost of environmental deterioration as a result of increased environmental pollution. Shaul and Lower (2015) also indicate that, the extensive air pollution in China’s major cities has been the result of an increased rate of economic development over the past few decades. According to Liu and Lin (2019), many products and activities that make human life needs possible are responsible for increased pollution around the world. Based on this, it is therefore clear that widespread pollution around the world and especially in China is a result of human activities that are carried out to satisfy human need.

In addition to the above, Shaul and Lower (2015) found that some of the causes of widespread environmental pollution in Beijing, China can be as a result of various factors such as the increased number of motorized vehicles, population growth, litter from various manufacturing companies, and most importantly the enormous economic boom. With an increase in the wealth of individuals as a result of enormous economic boom, many people become more cable of owning motor vehicles which contribute to approximately 70 percent of air pollution in China. In addition, the burning of coal among numerous factories that rely on inefficient and outdated technologies in the environs of Beijing is another factor that has contributed to air pollution in China.

In a report by Gardner (2018), it is established that there are a variety of impacts and consequences associated with the environmental pollution in China, for instance, air pollution, which is a major form of environmental pollution in Beijing, China, has resulted to increased level of harmful and dangerous emissions that have led to the cancellation of hundreds of incoming and outgoing flights and frequent closure of roads due to cases of low visibility caused by thick smog which frequently surround the entire city. As a result, this affects the cash inflows that could be used by the Chinese government in environmental development such as the building of an environmentally friendly society. It is important to note that China’s economic progress and development can be in one way or another, the foundation to a friendly environment.

The constant activities that result to environmental pollution in China are also responsible for the increased human illnesses, one of the most worrying effects in China’s population (Dong 2017). Some of the pollutants such as gases released from manufacturing industries causes respiratory problems and various forms of allergies ranging from cancer, coughs, asthma, and emphysema. Inhalation of these harmful toxic agents immediately and slowly affects the lungs and other major organs that form the respiratory system. According to Shaul and Lower (2015) findings, biomass fuel and coal which are known to produce indoor air pollution are still some of the major and widely used stoves in the rural areas of China. The use of these solid fuels however has been associated with adverse human health effects ranging from lung cancer and chronic pulmonary disease. In addition, the use of these solid fuels in a number of Chinese households in China has been proven and identified to be the cause of roughly 420,000 premature deaths yearly.

Being one of the major manufacturing countries in the world, China has become the world’s leading emitter of mercury and greenhouse gases such as sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide. These gases which are emitted by boilers, power plants and industries are issued into the earth atmosphere where they accumulate and react with water forming sulphuric and nitric acid which results into acid rain. In addition, the acid rains also weaken vegetation such as tress causing air pollution which harms humans. Gardner (2018) also indicates that acid rain which is a form soil of pollution also cause extreme damages to the earth surface. Contaminated water from the acid rain seeps into the ground, causing changes to the soil composition directly affecting agriculture in regions such as the North-Eastern regions, Northern China Plans, and the lower regions of Yangtze plain where rice and wheat irrigation is common. Additionally, these effects also changes crop cycles and the composition of food that individuals depend on.

Human activities in China such as agriculture have resulted to the increased levels of phosphorus and nitrogen in the environment. In water sources such a rivers and lakes, this overabundance or increase of nutrients can lead to the excessive growth and development of algae and phytoplankton which have devastating effects. According to Dong (2017), the growth of toxic algae-blooms in water bodies produces deadly toxins that kill sea birds, marine mammals, fish, and harm humans. When these algae and other organism are allowed to grow due to excessive use of agricultural nutrients, they usually suck up oxygen during decomposition creating a dead zone where aquatic animals cannot live.

In conclusion, environmental pollution is one of the challenges affecting many countries today including China. Despite having a rapid growing and developing economy, China’s success is coming with a devastating cost of continuing environmental pollution and degradation. With increased emission of gases from manufacturing industries, China has also experienced increased human illnesses such as respiratory and cardiovascular diseases among its population.


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Liu, K., & Lin, B. (2019). Research on influencing factors of environmental pollution in China:

A spatial econometric analysis. Journal of cleaner production, 206, 356-364.

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Shaul, T. R., & Lower, B. H. (2015). 4.2 Causes and Consequences of Air Pollution in Beijing,

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