Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Environmentalism in China: a snapshot

Fish kill due to pollution, Wuhan, Hubei province.
The Chinese economy has grown approximately 5000% in 27 years; however, this growth has led to severe contamination of its rivers, estuaries, air and soil. In the last 2/3 of that period, governmental investment in environmental research and technological improvements has increased approximately 3000%. Xinhua, the Chinese government’s official news agency, admits that 46% of the country’s approximately 700 rivers and more than 90% of city water systems are contaminated.

95,000 government-supported Chinese researchers are searching for solutions. See full text of the editorial "Environmental science and research in China: a snapshot of the current state" by Eddy Y. Zeng and Shu Tao in Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (ET&C) 27.1 (Jan 2008) Special Edition on the effects of chemicals in the Chinese environment.
cyanobacteria, Taihu Lake, Jiangsu Province
So are Chinese environmental groups. They are "more diverse and numerous than many people realise,” says Shawn Shieh, a professor at Marist College, in Poughkeepsie, New York, who is writing a book on them. “But despite all the activity, a lot of them are fragile and want to stay beneath the radar.”

See also
BBC video of UNEP head Achim Steiner, on China's environmental challenge; more BBC coverage.
Greenpeace China anti-pollution campaigns
China Environmental News Digest
Pacific Environment
Shawn Sieh's blog When in China; Sieh and Jonathan Schwartz, eds. The State and NGO Responses to Social Welfare Needs in China (Routledge, forthcoming)
Mongabay environmental news from China

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