State of the Environment

The local environment, in China. You’ve heard about the smog, but just how bad is it?

  • Surface water pollution is “relatively grave,” with 16.7% of rivers failing to meet any sort of grade standard–meaning the water is completely unfit for use (including in agricultural irrigation). And 42.3% of rivers are affected by eutrophication, a process where phytoplankton deplete oxygen from the water.
  • Approximately one in five cities doesn’t meet China’s urban air quality standards, which are lower than those recommended by the World Health Organization. Acid rain was observed in over 50% of the country’s cities.
  • 22% of the country’s 2,588 nature reserves are damaged in some way, mainly because as “economic development and industrialisation have gained momentum, unreasonable activities have weakened the function and value of those reserves.” In other words, the country is just too crowded.
  • Heavy metal pollution is a growing (but still small) problem, with 14 reported cases last year and seven this year.

Something to remember in between all the talk about China being our biggest competitor. Point being: competitor for what?

Another thing, all this is from a report released by the Chinese government. It’s not like they’re being coy about it. Maybe we shouldn’t be, either.