Friday, March 26, 2010

China's Pollution Is Our Pollution

A friend of mine sent this link:
Amazing Pictures, Pollution In China

Another friend said of it:
"We’ve just moved our polluting ways to another country. We let other countries manufacture products cheaply and buy them up.

In the past we were just as bad. The Cuyahoga River in Ohio caught fire a number of times. It was known as the river that "oozes rather than flows" and in which a person "does not drown but decays." Do you think the US would consider sanctions against China to clean up? Not bloody likely."
He makes a good point.

The photos in this link are chilling. What further impressed me was how recent they were. Many are from just last year.

Here's a photo of our Cuyahoga River on fire, from the EPA's site. This photo was taken on November 3, 1952. When asked why there were no photos of the famous 1969 Cuyahoga fire, the EPA said:
"Rivers catching fire was not that rare an occurrence in the United States in the 20th century. (Chicago River, IL (1899), Passaic River, NY (1918), Buffalo River, NY (1968))."
Sewage, industrial and agricultural waste, water and air pollution ... these are becoming an increasing problem as more people populate the planet, and as more nations become developed.

I'm reading "The Post-American World" by Fareed Zakaria. He discusses the explosive growth in developing countries such as India and China, ofttimes at the expense of the environment. Here's an excerpt:
"Demand for electricity is projected to rise over 4% a year for decades. And that electricity will come mostly from the dirtiest fuel available -- coal. Coal is cheap and plentiful, so the world relies on it to produce most of its electricity.

To understand the impact on global warming, consider this fact. Between 2006 and 2012, China and India will build 800 new coal-fired power plants -- with combined CO2 emissions five times the total savings of the Kyoto accords."
As developing nations grow more powerful and globally influential, it becomes challenging to find agreement on global issues such as how to cope with Iran's nuclear ambitions and how to protect the environment. This was evident at the global warming talks in Copenhagen a few months ago, where Chinese officials resisted even meeting with Obama and Sectretary of State Clinton.

But agreement we will have to find because the world is no longer a collection of local, isolated societies. (e.g. The FDA's 2007 Food Protection Plan stated that 60% of our fresh fruits and vegetables were imported. Only 1% were inspected.)
Caption accompanying top photograph: "A Large amount of the chemical wastewater discharged into Yangtze River from Zhenjiang Titanium mill every day. Less than 1,000 meters away downstream is where the water department of Danyang City gets its water from. June 10, 2009"


virginia said...

Click on the link - incredible photos. Below is my favorite comment:

"So this is what it takes for us to get cheaper goods at Walmart? So how does this work in terms of me being able to sleep tonight. Do I just pretend this was a Photoshop contest or what?"

Bix said...

That was a great comment.

what is pollution said...

This is so tragic. As we are discussing these issues in far away western countries, people, real people, are paying the price. We dump all of our industrial pollution to the east, along with all the diseases that go with it.