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      China must sharply improve environmental protection or it could face disaster following two decades of breakneck growth that have poisoned its air, water and soil, the country's top environmental official warned Saturday. The director of the State Environmental Protection Administration said that more than half of China's 21,000 chemical companies are near the Yangtze and Yellow rivers – drinking water for tens of millions of people – and accidents could lead to "disastrous consequences."

      "Facts have proved that prosperity at the expense of the environment is very superficial and very weak," Zhou Shengxian said at a news conference during the annual meeting of China's parliament. "It's only delaying disaster."

      China's cities are among the world's smoggiest and the government says its major rivers are badly polluted, leaving hundreds of millions of people without enough clean drinking water. Protests have erupted throughout the country over farmers' complaints that uncontrolled factory discharges are ruining crops and poisoning water…

      Regulator warns on China environment woes

        BEIJING, April 18 (Xinhua) — “We cannot just sit for discussions behind the closed door while the sandy weather has raged outside for more than ten days,” Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced at a national conference on environmental protection.

        “Besides climatic factors, it mirrors the critical environmental situation we are facing,” Wen said of Beijing being enveloped in yellow dust.

        While addressing the conference held from Monday to Tuesday, Wen said China should be on high alert to fight against worsening environmental pollution and ecological deterioration in some regions, and environmental protection should be given a higher priority in the drive for national modernization.

        The major targets of environmental protection during the recently ended tenth Five-Year Plan (2000-2005) were not achieved as scheduled, and new problems have emerged, he said.

        China had set a target of cutting discharges of sulphur dioxideby 10 percent in 2000-2005. It set the same target for reducing emissions of carbon monoxide, but only managed a 2 percent cut, according to the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA).

        “Lack of awareness, insufficient planning, and a weak legal framework can be blamed for the severe environmental pollution in the country,” Wen noted.

        The Premier has set out four priorities for current and future environmental protection. These include strengthening water conservation, controlling atmosphere and soil pollution, enhancingprotection of the national ecology, re-adjusting the economic structure and boosting the environmental technology and protectionindustry.

        SEPA [Stete Environmental Protection Agency] has reported 45 other pollution accidents in the two and ahalf months after the Songhua River spill last November which had threatened water supplies of four million residents in the city ofHarbin, capital of Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province.

        Another accident listed by the administration was a cadmium spill along the Beijiang River in South China’s Guangdong provincethat also threatened the local drinking and agricultural water supplies.

        Other major water pollution incidents included chemical spills along Northeast China’s Hun River, central China’s Hunan’s Xiangjiang River, and a diesel spill along the Yellow River in Henan Province, as well as an oil spill in Ganjiang River in central China’s Jiangxi Province.

        Wen ordered local governments on Monday to release information on energy consumption and pollutant emissions every six months, set plans to control emissions and step up environmental assessment of construction projects.

        Protective policies on the exploitation of resources should be carried out and legal and supervisory systems established, acknowledged Wen, who also urged localities to allocate more moneyand raise public awareness of environmental protection.

        Wen sets environment protection goals

          Worsening environmental problems are threatening social stability in China as aggrieved residents resort to protests to make their voices heard, a senior official said this week. Severe pollution prompted at least 510,000 public disputes last year, which "caused a great threat to social stability," said Zhou Shengxian, head of the State Environmental Protection Administration. "Mass incidents," such as protests related to environmental problems, have been rising at an average rate of 29 percent a year, Xinhua News Agency quoted him as saying. "If environmental protection continues to lag behind economic growth, [pollution] will get worse and will be harder to control," Xinhua quoted Mr. Zhou as telling a national conference on environmental protection Wednesday in Beijing. "Local officials … who fail to meet requirements will pay a price for turning a blind eye to the law," Mr. Zhou warned. His remarks highlighted the growing unease felt by senior Chinese officials at increasingly frequent environmental disasters….

          Environmental woes mar social stability


            more bleak news re China’s environment

            China’s pollution problems cost the country more than US$200 billion a year, a top official said Monday as he called for better legal protection for grass roots groups so they can help the government clean up the environment.

            Zhu Guangyao, deputy chief of the State Environmental Protection Agency, estimated that damage to China’s environment is costing the government roughly 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product. China’s GDP for 2005 was US$2.26 trillion.

            Despite government efforts, China’s environmental picture is not improving, but worsening, he said, and “allows for no optimism.”

            Zhu said environmental nongovernment organizations can play “important roles in promoting or pushing governments” to solve environmental problems.

            He acknowledged that some local officials were not implementing the the central government’s guidelines very well.

            Zhu said implementing the central government’s guidelines would also be a challenge for local officials who are accustomed to being judged on growth above all else and are fearful of the economic impact of tighter environmental controls. ….

            Pollution costs China US$200 billion every year

            see also, on People’s Daily online:
            Full text: Environmental Protection in China (1996-2005)



              美聯社撰稿人特倫斯·謝(TERENCE CHEA) 加州塔馬爾佩斯山州立公園(美聯社)——在俯瞰太平洋的山頂上,史蒂文·克里夫(Steven Cliff) 收集了千里之外正在發生的工業革命的證據。克里夫在舊金山北部的空氣監測站收集到的微小空氣顆粒,是從中國和其他亞洲國家的燃煤發電廠、冶煉廠、沙塵暴和柴油卡車飄過海洋的。研究人員表示,中國經濟高速成長對環境的影響遠遠超出了其國界。他們擔心,隨著中國消耗更多的化石燃料來滿足其能源需求旺盛的經濟,美國可能會看到跨太平洋污染急劇增加,這可能會影響人類健康,惡化空氣品質並改變氣候模式。 ……美國環保署估計,在某些日子裡,洛杉磯上空近 25% 的顆粒物可以追溯到中國。一些專家預測,有一天,中國可能佔加州空氣污染總量的三分之一。 ……自然資源保護委員會中國清潔能源計畫負責人芭芭拉·菲納莫爾表示,如果目前的趨勢持續下去,中國將在未來十年超過美國,成為世界上最大的溫室氣體排放國。該計畫正在幫助中國提高能源效率。菲納莫爾表示:“中國驚人的經濟成長是一顆環境定時炸彈,除非引爆,否則無論其他國家取得怎樣的進步,整個地球都將受到震動。”就連中國環境官員也警告說,如果中國不限制能源使用和排放,未來15年污染水平可能會翻兩番。北京計畫在未來五年內花費$1620億元用於環境治理,但中國的污染問題規模龐大。 ……中國自然資源保護委員會的菲納莫爾表示,中國面臨的環境挑戰令人畏懼,但該國正在採取行動減少能源使用和空氣污染。她說,北京製定了雄心勃勃的目標,以提高能源效率、燃油經濟性標準以及風能和太陽能等再生能源的使用。菲納莫爾說:“中國有巨大的機會來減少空氣中的污染量。”


                The State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) has finally found the culprit behind blood poisoning that has caused 179 villagers to be hospitalized in Northwest China’s Gansu Province.

                The lead smelter in the vicinity of the victimized village in Huixian county has had its production license revoked, and the SEPA has promised that the culprit and the local watchdog will both be punished.

                Further investigations will be conducted on the contaminated soil around the plant, and the Ministry of Health has joined hands with the local health department in treating the poisoned villagers.

                What has happened to this plant and the villagers is a repetition of the mode of economic growth at the expense of the environment in most parts of the eastern region.

                This suggests that the development of the west, at least in some places, is facing the same imperative choice between the environment and economic growth.

                The too-painful lesson is that the villagers and decision-makers were too blinded by immediate gains to have a far-reaching vision about the impact of environmental pollution.

                A local official was quoted as saying that most of the industrial projects attracted to the county have environmental problems. It was almost impossible to lure high-tech projects to such a poor county.

                It seems that those poor localities in the west must choose between a clean environment and economic growth. Do they have another way out? We need an answer to this question for the development of the western region.

                Clean environment or economic growth

                  A report released paints a damning picture of China’s “deteriorating environmental conditions” and suggests 51 initiatives that could be implemented to improve the situation.

                  The report, published by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development with the approval of the Chinese government, says China has not done enough to prevent pollution of its land, water and air.

                  China’s environment ‘deteriorating’

                  Report summary (pdf) available at:
                  OECD > Information by Country > China > Country Surveys/Reviews/Guides


                    It’s been quite some years since 壞地球 by Vaclav Smil was published – in 1980s. Painted a grim picture of China’s environment. At the time, Chinese officials said Smil was wrong; but since then, has been official recognition of worsening environment. Now, as this thread shows, things are increasingly serious: even as China’s economy booms, its environment goes downhill. (Tho yes, there are a few bright spots.)

                    From article just in 中國日報:

                    The environment situation in the country is reaching a “critical point,” the head of the environmental watchdog said over the weekend.

                    “More and more environmental problems are beginning to pop up,” Zhou Shengxian, director of the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA), told the annual meeting of the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development (CCICED).

                    “In some places, environmental problems have affected people’s health and social stability; and damaged our international image.”

                    More than half of the country’s rivers are severely polluted, and about a third of the territory affected by acid rain, Zhou noted.


                    Also, signs that China has been stung by recent criticism of its impacts on environment within and outside the country:
                    The Western media have neglected the positive impact China has on the environment outside the country, according to a report released by a high-profile think tank.

                    The report “Review and Perspective of the Environment and Development of China” was presented by a special task force of the China Council for International Co-operation on Environment and Development (CCICED) at its annual meeting over the weekend. The task force consists of leading experts from home and abroad on global environmental and affiliated sectors.

                    “Too much stress on the negative environmental externality will limit China’s rights to development,” the report said.
                    Green impact ‘ignored by media’


                      Business comment article in UK’s Independent covers pollution in China. Includes:

                      Environmental lobbyists have long castigated Americans as the planet’s “filthy rich”, but it is time we turned our attention to the East. You may be surprised to learn that China emitted more CO2 last year than the whole of Europe, and at current rates will overtake the US as the planet’s main polluter within two years. Already, 16 of the world’s top 20 most polluted cities are in China.

                      Nearly 80 per cent of its river water is now considered polluted. It was highly symbolic when a recent expedition to save the Yangtse dolphin (a beautiful creature, once considered a god in China) reported a few weeks ago that it was too late. None could be found.

                      The pollution clouds from China blow across Korea and Japan and are even thought to be reaching the US. If viewed from space, vast sulphurous clouds blank out where Beijing and Shanghai should be on the planet.

                      A Shanghai steel trader met me as I landed in China with the words “welcome to the future”. His beaming face portrayed the boundless optimism that is propelling China forwards. But if this future is one of poisoned water and smog-filled skies – forget it. It won’t work.

                      Wake up and smell the carbon.

                      Expert View: Message to China… wake up and smell the carbon

                      – Trouble is, it seems the national government has – albeit belatedly – woken up to China’s pollution problems, but isn’t powerful enough to solve the problem, including as local officials are too often greedy and corrupt, evidently quite happy to ignore pollution while the dollars flow in.
                      Even in Hong Kong, chief exec Donald Tsang has asserted that air pollution isn’t a major health issue; HK air isn’t as clean as the arctic’s, but not too bad he has claimed.
                      As I write this, the visibility in HK is a few hundred metres, thanks to severe smog as a cold front trundles our way.




                        摘自 7 月 2 日英國《金融時報》:






                        該報告缺少該研究項目的調查結果,即中國城市的高空氣污染水平每年導致 350,000-400,000 人過早死亡。據顧問稱,每年還有 30 萬人因暴露在室內空氣品質差而過早死亡,但報告中幾乎沒有討論這個問題,因為它不屬於資助這項研究的中國部會的管轄範圍。

                        另有 6 萬多人過早死亡是由於水質不佳(主要發生在農村),導致嚴重腹瀉、胃癌、肝癌和膀胱癌。








                        貼文編輯:Martin,發佈於:2007/07/06 11:47






                          公共衛生狀況岌岌可危。衛生部表示,污染已使癌症成為中國的首要死因。每年,光是環境空氣污染就導致數十萬人死亡。近 5 億人無法取得安全飲用水。

                          中國的城市似乎常被一層有毒的灰色裹屍布包裹著。該國 5.6 億城市居民中只有 1% 呼吸歐盟認為安全的空氣。北京正在瘋狂地尋找一個神奇的公式,即氣象救星,為2008年奧運淨化天空。





                          今年第二季度,經濟以 11.9% 的驚人速度擴張,為十年來最快。國家驅動的投資項目、國家支持的重工業和蓬勃發展的出口部門引領了這一趨勢。中國的煤炭消耗量比前一年增加了 18%。






                            伊莉莎白‧C‧經濟 (Elizabeth C. Economy) 是美國外交關係委員會 CV Starr 高級研究員兼亞洲研究主任,也是《黑河:中國未來面臨的環境挑戰》一書的作者。


                            中國已成為空氣和水污染以及土地退化問題的世界領導者,也是非法木材貿易、海洋污染和氣候變遷等一些世界上最棘手的全球環境問題的最大罪魁禍首。隨著中國污染問題的加劇,其經濟、公共衛生、社會穩定和國際聲譽面臨的風險也隨之增加。正如中國國家環境保護總局 (SEPA) 副局長潘岳在 2005 年警告的那樣,“由於環境已跟不上步伐,[經濟]奇蹟很快就會結束。”



                            戈壁沙漠現在吞沒了中國西部和北部的大部分地區,每年擴大約 1,900 平方英里;一些報導稱,儘管北京積極進行植樹造林工作,但全國四分之一的面積現在仍是沙漠。

                            正如全國人大顧問劉全峰所說,“流入渤海的河流幾乎沒有一條是乾淨的。”中國每年向渤海排放約28億噸污染水,目前渤海底部淤泥中的重金屬含量高達中國官方安全標準的2,000倍。 ……東海是世界上最大的漁場之一,目前該海域 80% 以上的海域不適合捕魚,而 2000 年則為 53%。

                            中國已經是世界上最大的非法採伐木材進口國:據報道,估計其進口木材中有 50% 是非法的。





                            From new report on future of the world:

                            China is expected to become the world’s biggest polluter and largest importer of natural resources.

                            U.S. power, influence will decline in future, report says


                            China is the king of coal. It is the world’s biggest producer and consumer but this reliance on coal is costing the country dear. For the first time top Chinese economists have calculated just how much this love affair with coal is costing the nation.

                            Last year environmental and social costs associated with China’s use of coal came to RMB1.7 trillion – that’s about 7.1 percent of the nation’s GDP for the same year.

                            This staggering amount was calculated by China’s top economists  in The True Cost of Coal, a new report commissioned by Greenpeace, the Energy Foundation and WWF.

                            China’s coal crisis [you can download report via this link]


                            Warnings and evidence of environmental disaster continue emerging; yet real action to reverse declines remains lacking. [Not that the planet as a whole is in great state by any means; China just more rapacious in devouring its environment than many a country.] For instance:

                            Environment Minister Zhou Shengxian said conflict between development and nature had never been so serious.

                            He said if China meant to quadruple the size of its economy over 20 years without more damage, it would have to become more efficient in resource use.

                            Otherwise, he said, there would be a painful price to pay.

                            China pollution 'threatens growth'


                            "The ecological situation is terrible," admits Xu Jun of the Ministry of Science and Technology. More than a quarter of China's grasslands, for instance, have been lost to farming and mining activities in the past decade, and 90% of the country's remaining 4 million square kilometres of grassland is in poor health. The grassland loss contributes to problems such as water shortages and sandstorms.

                            Coastal areas are under even greater pressure — from pollution, drainage and development. "Of all ecosystems, wetlands are the worst hit," says Yu Xiubo, an ecologist at the Beijing-based Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, part of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

                            China faces up to 'terrible' state of its ecosystems



                            See this page on NASA site for image of east China covered by haze thanks to particulates in the air:

                            Winter haze blankets China


                            From results of a Gallup poll:

                            Fifty-seven percent of Chinese adults surveyed in 2011 — before the country's economic slowdown grabbed headlines — prioritized protecting the environment, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. About one in five believed economic growth is more important. Chinese attitudes are typical of those in other emerging-market economies, where residents sided with the environment over the economy in earlier surveys.

                            More Environmental Challenges Lie in Urban Areas

                            More than three in four (77%) Chinese are satisfied with current efforts to preserve the environment. Residents living in the urban areas, the hub of much of China's industrial activity, however, are significantly less satisfied than their rural counterparts with these efforts, as well as the quality of the air and water where they live. With good reason: The World Health Organization finds air pollution in Shanghai and Beijing is double or even triple the severity it is in London or Los Angeles. Further, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection finds groundwater at 57% of its monitoring sites in cities is polluted or extremely polluted.


                            China still lags behind developed countries in terms of efforts to protect the environment. At the same time, it is investing heavily in new energy sources and low-carbon technologies that could satisfy the substantial power demand from rapid urbanization while protecting the environment and reducing overreliance on coal.

                            Without aggressive strategies to combat pollution, China's environmental problems will likely only worsen as its urban areas continue to expand. Comprehensive urbanization policies that focus on conservation and the efficient use of natural resources such as energy, air, water, and land will be necessary to ensure the sustainability and quality of these resources in the future. On a regional level, cities such as Qingdao, Tianjin, and Shenyang are emerging as role models for urban economic and environmental development. They have all have shown leadership in developing best practices in successful green urban planning.

                            Majority of Chinese Prioritize Environment Over Economy





                            Back in 1984, Vaclav Smil warned of China's environmental troubles (much of which then "secret"; and most of which promptly denied, later acknowledged) in book titled 壞地球.

                            How apt the title now seems, given report in the Guardian that includes:


                            Nowhere is the global push to restore degraded land likely to be more important, complex and expensive than in 中國, where vast swaths of the soil are contaminated by arsenic and heavy metals from mines and factories.

                            Scientists told the Guardian that this is likely to prove a bigger long-term problem than air and water pollution, with potentially dire consequences for food production and human health.

                            Zhou Jianmin, director of the China Soil Association, estimated that one-tenth of China's farmland was affected. "The country, the government and the public should realise how serious the soil pollution is," he said. "More areas are being affected, the degree of contamination is intensifying and the range of toxins is increasing."

                            Other estimates of soil pollution range as high as 40%, but an official risk assessment is unlikely to be made public for several years.

                            Unlike in Europe where persistent organic pollutants are the main concern, Chen said China's worst soil contamination is from arsenic, which is released during the mining of copper, gold and other minerals. Roughly 70% of the world's arsenic is found in China – and it is increasingly coming to the surface with horrendous consequences.

                            Calls for a clean-up of the land are slowly gaining prominence. Huang Hongxiang, a researcher from the Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, warned earlier this year that China needed to widen its focus from production volumes.

                            "If we don't improve the quality of farmland, but only depend on increasing investment and improving technology, then – regardless of whatever super rice, super wheat and other super quality crops we come up with – it will be difficult to guarantee the sustainable development of our nation's agriculture」。

                            The clean-up begins on China's dirty secret – soil pollution




                            Excellent, lengthy article by Jonathan Watts, reflecting on his nine years' reporting from China includes:

                            The mix of communist politics and capitalist economics appeared to have created a system designed to exploit people and the environment like never before.

                            This has been a decade of cement and steel, a time when economic development has pushed into the most remote corners of China with a series of prestige projects

                            This has been an era of protest in China. The government stopped releasing figures a few years ago, but academics with access to internal documents say there are tens of thousands of demonstrations each year. The reasons are manifold – land grabs, ethnic unrest, factory layoffs, corruption cases and territorial disputes. But I have come to believe the fundamental cause is ecological stress: foul air, filthy water, growing pressure on the soil and an ever more desperate quest for resources that is pushing development into remote mountains, deserts and forests that were a last hold-out for bio and ethnic diversity.

                            This is not primarily China's fault. It is a historical, global trend. China is merely roaring along the same unsustainable path set by the developed world, but on a bigger scale, a faster speed and at a period in human history when there is much less ecological room for manoeuvre. The wealthy portion of the world has been exporting environmental stress for centuries. Outsourcing energy-intensive industries and resource extraction have put many problems out of sight and out of mind for western consumers. But they cannot be ignored in China.

                            The worst problems are found in the countryside: "cancer villages", toxic spills, pitched battles to block a toxic chemical factory, health hazards from air pollution and water and the rapid depletion of aquifers under the north China plain – the country's bread-basket.

                            The implications are global. China has become the biggest greenhouse-gas emitter on the planet. This year, it will probably account for half the coal burned in the world. The number of cars on China's roads has increased fourfold since 2003, driving up demand for oil. Meanwhile, there is less and less space and respect for other species. For me, the most profound story of this period was the demise of the baiji – a Yangtze river dolphin that had been on earth for 20m years but was declared extinct in 2006 as a result of river traffic, pollution, reckless fishing and massive damming.

                            I switched my focus to environment reporting. It was not just the charismatic megafauna and the smog, though the concern about air quality never went away. It is really not funny to send your children off to school on days of high pollution with a cheery "Try not to breathe too much", knowing they will probably be kept in at break-times because the air outside is hazardous.

                            As I have noted at greater length elsewhere, I had come to fear that China may be where the 200-odd-year-old carbon-fuelled capital-driven model of economic development runs into an ecological wall. Britain, where it started, and China may be bookends on a period of global expansion that has never been seen before and may never be repeated again.

                            Developed nations have been outsourcing their environmental stress to other countries and future generations for more than two centuries. China is trying to do the same as it looks overseas for food, fuel and minerals to satisfy the rising demand of its cities and factories. This has been extremely good news for economies in Africa, Mongolia, Australia and South AmericaI sympathise with China. It is doing what imperial, dominant powers have done for more than two centuries, but it is harder for China because the planet is running short of land and time.

                             In the future, I believe the most important political division will not be between left and right, but between conservers and consumers. The old battle of "equality versus competition" in the allocation of the resource pie will become secondary to maintaining the pie itself.

                            China: witnessing the birth of a superpower



                            from Greenpeace:

                            Study on premature deaths reveals health impact of PM2.5 in China

                            Greenpeace calls for capping regional coal consumption

                            December 18, Beijing – An estimated 8,572 premature deaths occurred in four major Chinese cities in 2012, due to high levels of PM2.5 pollution, a joint study by Greenpeace East Asia and Peking University’s School of Public Health has concluded. The report also estimates PM2.5 pollution caused the cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Beijing to suffer a combined total of US$1.08 billion in economic losses over the past year. Greenpeace is calling for an urgent policy adjustment, including capping regional coal consumption, De-NOx retrofiting for existing coal-fired power plants, and shutting down inefficient coal-fired industrial boilers.



                            From Daily Telegraph, Jan 2013:

                            ProfessorQuGeping–whobecamethefirstdirectorof China'senvironmental protection agency in 1987 – told Hong Kong's South China Morning Post that greater accountability was needed for Beijing to win its war on pollution.

                            "I've always felt ill at ease whenever I was recognised for my contribution to China's environmental protection, because the country now faces so many environmental problems," Prof Qu said. "But looking back, there was not much more I could have achieved as an individual. Without actions from the whole government and without changing the system, nothing could be done.

                            "I would not call the past 40 years' efforts of environmental protection a total failure," added Prof. Qu, who is now 83 and has received a number of prizes for his work. "But I have to admit that governments have done far from enough to rein in the wild pursuit of economic growth and failed to avoid some of the worst pollution scenarios we, as policymakers, had predicted."

                            Speaking to the South China Morning Post, Prof. Qu blamed a lack of government accountability for China's current environmental predicament.

                            Asked why Beijing's attempts to reconcile rapid economic growth with environmental protection had not been effective, Prof Qu replied: "I think it is because there was no supervision of governments." "It is because the power is still above the law."


                            From article in the Economist:

                            If China were simply following the path of rich countries from poverty through pollution to fresh air, there would be little to worry about (unless you lived in one of those hellish cities). But the parallels fall apart, for two reasons. One is time. When Britain’s industrial engine was gaining speed, levels of CO2 in the atmosphere were the same as they had been for millennia. Now they are half as high again, and not far off 450 parts per million, which most scientists think is the danger level. The other is place. China is so vast and its economy is growing so rapidly that its effect on the world is far greater than that of any other single country.

                            Dragon breath

                            The muck that spews from Chinese factories most immediately affects those unlucky enough to live nearby. In January 2013 the air of Beijing hit a level of toxicity 40 times above what the World Health Organisation deems safe. A tenth of the country’s farmland is poisoned with chemicals and heavy metals. Half of China’s urban water supplies are unfit even to wash in, let alone drink. In the northern half of the country air pollution lops five-and-a-half years off the average life.

                            Can China clean up fast enough?

                            The world’s biggest polluter is going green, but it needs to speed up the transition



                            As I write, there is serious smog over Hong Kong.

                            But even worse further north in China; newspaper photos have shown Shanghai, say, where looks more like heavy fog than murky smog.

                            NASA has picked smog over China as an image of the day:



                            News item in South China Morning Post includes:


                            Worsening smog on the mainland is blocking natural light and could spell disaster for agriculture, scientists have warned.

                            He Dongxian, an associate professor with China Agricultural University's College of Water Resources and Civil Engineering, said an experiment in Beijing over recent months showed a drastic slowdown in the photosynthesis process, which allows plants to thrive.

                            Applied on a larger scale, such a slowdown could affect agriculture, which contributes 10 per cent to GDP. Farm output was likely to be affected by serious air pollution in winter and spring, with the prices of agricultural products expected to rise.

                            Agriculture feels the choke as China smog starts to foster disastrous conditions



                            From Business Week:


                            Air pollution led to genetic changes that may have sapped learning skills in children whose mothers were exposed to a Chinese coal-fired power plant before it was shuttered a decade ago, researchers found.

                            Babies born in the southwestern Tongliang county just before the plant was shut in 2004 had significantly lower levels of a protein crucial to brain development in their cord blood than those conceived later, a March 19 report in the Plos One journal said. They also had poorer learning and memory skills when tested at age two, the study by Columbia University and Chongqing Medical University found.

                            “I wasn’t anticipating such a clear difference when we compared the first and second cohorts, and this shows how much of an impact effective policies can have on local populations,” said Columbia’s Deliang Tang, lead author of the report…

                            Air Pollution May Cause Genetic Harm in Kids, China Study Finds


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