From the of off-the-charts levels of air pollutants recently recorded in Beijing, to massive fish die offs and waste chemicals being dumped directly into its main waterways, China has quickly been gaining the well earned reputation as the world’s worst polluter. These hard to stomach images from Reuters show a land drastically changed in the country’s last decades of massive growth; a hard earned payment to become the product producing powerhouse that it is today.
It’s not simply a problem for China either. The country is currently the worlds number one producer of carbon dioxide pollution and, because the worlds atmosphere has no walls, that pollution is now effecting much of the planet in the form of additional airborne particulates and smog. “It’s no longer just their problem; it’s our problem,” Kim Prather of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego told CBS News in December. (article continues below)
Above: A man smokes at a pond filled with dead fish on the outskirts of Wuhan. (Reuters)
Below: Labourer works at waste residue dump site of a chemical plant in Xiangfan. (Reuters)
So how do we combat this global and growing problem? One of the simplest ways is with our wallets. The more we, as a consumer society, can purchase goods either ethically produced and/or not from China, the more it will send a strong message to the companies that sell these goods. It says that we want change… and it’s already happening:
My family has run an animal feed store for the past decade. In that time a lot has changed about how people are shopping and it’s not unusual these days that people ask whether their products are coming from China. Reasons for asking vary: some people are worried about the health of their pets, others want to financially support countries other than China, some are concerned about how workers are being treated there and some are worried about supporting a country that is doing so much pollution. My family has taken notice, and though the markup is less and often the price is higher, they’ve started selling a lot more products produced elsewhere, often the US. Those customers are making a choice that effects not only how the store itself operates, but also how the venders who supply the store decide to get their products. It really says something when customers are happy to pay twice the price for a product they feel good about buying.
Industrial sewage from a textile dyeing factory is drained from a pipe into the Yangtze River in Yichang. (Reuters)
Labourers work to drain sewage water from a leaked sewage tank at a copper mine in Shanghang, Fujian province. (Reuters)
Chinese worker cleans oil residue in Daqing. (Reuters)
A general view shows a coal-burning power station at night in Xiangfan. (Reuters)
The area polluted by toxic acid fluid after a chemical plant exploded is seen in Yanshi. (Reuters)
Pipes coming from a rare earth smelting plant spew polluted water into a vast tailings dam near Xinguang Village. (Reuters)
A worker cleans algae at the Dianchi Lake in Kunming. (Reuters)
Fishermen load bags of dead fish onto a forklift at the Mian Hua Tan reservoir in Yongding county. (Reuters)
Via: Design You Trust