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China: Unsustainable Growth

December 21, 2013
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If the Chinese Government or the People’s Bank of China (“PBoC”) cannot slow the growth of Chinese economy, then the pollution caused by the expansive growth surely will. China is being strangled by a dark haze of smog and pollution caused by industrial expansion that is impacting the health of its society. Overall life expectancy is being impacted by the Government’s race to grow and action must be taken.

The South China Morning Post (“SCMP”) reported that choking, toxic smog has spread across China and now overhangs coastal cities and cities  inland. The smog that normally encompasses China’s major cities, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou has expanded inland to  cities in central and western provinces as well as in the north of the country. Additionally, three cities in coastal Shandong province were also shrouded by smog yesterday.

Cities in the west, not known to experience such environmental vagaries, including holiday tourist centers such as Lhasa and Xian have been heavily covered in smog or dust for the last two to three days. Extremely poor air quality readings have been off the chart recently measured. PM10 particles, these are the larger air particles, up to 10 microns in diameter, were blamed for the intolerable conditions.

smog - Potala Palace, LhasaIn Lhasa, the Potala Palace,  as well as the nearby snow-covered mountains, the smog blanketed the area. Lhasa is the city considered to have the cleanest air in China. Lhasa is 3,700 meters above sealevel and not accustomed to such pollution. The smog even disrupted flights at the city’s airport.  On the Chinese Twitter equivalent, Weibo, someone asked, “Even Lhasa, the sacred city known for its crystal clear sky, succumbs to haze now. Are we losing the last piece of ‘pure land'”?

The pollution and smog is the result of China’s expansive and massive growth over the past decade. Other major cities inland have also been affected. It was noted that Xian and Baoji in Shaanxi, and Liaocheng, Dezhou and Jining in Shandong were also among the worst affected cities impacted by this polluted haze yesterday.

The smog that has spread across China is impacting the health and well-being of its citizens. Pollution readings in each of the areas encompassed by the smog have gone off the charts. China’s smog problem has become persistent and appears to be getting worse. A new term was coined this year when Beijing and several other cities experienced severe smog and pollution readings, “airpocalypse”.

The SCMP quoted Li Bo , a Senior Adviser at Friends of Nature, a mainland environmental organization stating “This is alarming. This shows China’s unsustainable growth mode is taking its toll across the whole country”.

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