Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Latest report published by State Council, China's Cabinet says the environmental condition is worsening

Written by: S.M.Mehdi Hassan
China is paying a heavy price for its rapid industrialization. Environmental degradation is becoming serious day by day in China. At present, China is loosing more than 200 billion dollar a year due to environmental problems and it is causing 10% of China’s total Gross Domestic Product. In 2005 China’s GDP was 2.26 trillion.
On last Monday, at a press conference Zhu Guangyao, Deputy Director, State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), released the second White paper on China’s Environmental protection. The paper titled "Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005)" was published by the State Council, China's Cabinet. Surprisingly, the day the report was released (5th June) was also the World Environment Day. Below is given some of the main points mentioned in the report:
· Due to environmental degradation the total loss of GDP accounts for 10%.
· According to the report the conflict between environmentalists and developers is at its peak.
· Resource shortage, fragile ecological environment and inadequate environmental capacity are effecting China’s economic growth in a negative way. The paper mentioned the condition of environmental protection as “Grave.”
· Water, land and soil pollution have become serious and government will mobilize all forces available to solve the problems that are causing serious harm to people’s health.
· 60% of the country's territory is considered ecologically fragile. About 90% of the country's grasslands are facing degradation and desertification. Vast wetlands are withering and shrinking because of farming and industrialization.
This shows how serious the condition has become. According to Zhu Guangyao the figure given in the report (10%) is not accurate because of the difficulty in conducting research. It may be more but it will give people a rough idea.
In the conference Zhu said that despite the efforts of five hundred thousand officials around the country including public and private; China’s environmental picture is worsening. There is no room for optimism. Reluctance and indifference of the local corrupted officials are also contributing to the environmental degradation. Even these officials sometimes work against government rules.
Chinese Government never admitted the country’s problems but it changed its tone after two incidents that took place early this year—First, Premier Wen Jiabao’s confession about the failure of the government to reach the environmental protection target in the last five years. Second, the worst sand storm in Beijing. “Yellow dust turned the smoggy air even murkier. The trickle of rain that fell this spring became mud as it splashed onto umbrellas and windows.”
China’s rapid growth started since 1978 and since it is continuing till now. On the contrary, the country did not give enough effort to stop the environmental degradation caused by rapid industrialization. Now many private environmental organizations are trying to blow the whistle and often they are silenced by the corrupted local officials.

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