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In just one decade and a half, China has transformed itself from a dormant, introspective giant into a dynamic

powerhouse of major potential significance to the world economy. People's Republic of China (PRC) is the world's most-populous country, with a population of over 1.3 billion. The East Asian state covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometers, considering its population and land mass, no country in history has emerged as a major industrial power without creating a legacy of environmental damage that can take decades and big dollops of public wealth to undo. Chinas problem has become the worlds problem. Sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides spewed by Chinas coal-fired power plants fall as acid rain on Seoul, South Korea, and Tokyo. Much of the particulate pollution over Los Angeles originates in China, according to the Journal of Geophysical Research (Journal of Geophysical Research). Major problems encountered are: Water: China suffers from the twin problems of water shortage and water pollution. About onethird of China's population lacks access to clean drinking water. Its per-capita water supply falls at around a quarter of the global average. Some 70 percent of the country's rivers and lakes are polluted, with roughly two hundred million tons of sewage and industrial waste pouring into Chinese waterways in 2004 ("Swimming in Poison: A hazardous chemical cocktail found in Yangtze River Fish". Greenpeace China. 2010-08-26.) Greenhouse gases. In 2008, China surpassed the United States as the largest global emitter of greenhouse gases by volume (Air Pollution in China. A flash animation assessing air degree of pollution in China). (On a per capita basis, however, Americans emit five times as much greenhouse gas as Chinese.) The increase in China's emissions is primarily due to the country's reliance on coal, which accounts for over two-thirds of its energy consumption. It contributes to sulfur dioxide emissions causing acid rain, which falls on over 30 percent of the country (Air Pollution in China. A flash animation assessing air degree of pollution in China). In comparism to the United States, Greenhouse gas emissions in the US dropped to their lowest level in 15 years in 2009 as the impact of the financial crisis led to decreases in fuel and electricity consumption. The United States has since then lunched several programs to ensure its emission rate stays low. Recycling is one way the United States has handled the issues of pollution, A number of states, have passed laws that establish deposits or refund values on beverage containers while other jurisdictions rely on recycling goals or landfill bans of recyclable materials. Some cities also,

have created laws that enforce fines upon citizens who throw away certain recyclable materials. There are also voluntary programs and educational programs to increase recycling where it is not mandated by law. The United States has enacted extensive federal legislation to fight water pollution. Laws include the Federal Water Pollution Control Act (1972), the Marine Protection, Research, and Sanctuaries Act (1972), the Safe Drinking Water Act (1974), and the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act, as amended in 1988. In the United States in 1996, nearly $10 billion was spent on water and wastewater treatment alone. International cooperation is being promoted by the Inter-Governmental Maritime Consultive Organization (IMCO), a UN agency. Limitation of ocean dumping was proposed at the 80-nation London Conference of 1972, and in the same year 12 European nations meeting in Oslo adopted rules to regulate dumping in the North Atlantic. An international ban on ocean dumping in 1988 set further restrictions. The United States has gone the extra mile to ensure strict enforcement of these laws, In addition, numerous manufacturing plants pour off undiluted corrosives, poisons, and other noxious byproducts. The construction industry discharges slurries of gypsum, cement, abrasives, metals, and poisonous solvents. Towns and municipalities are also major sources of water pollution. In many public water systems, pollution exceeds safe levels. One reason for this is that much groundwater has been contaminated by wastes pumped underground for disposal or by seepage from surface water. When contamination reaches underground water tables, it is difficult to correct and spreads over wide areas. In addition, many U.S. communities discharge untreated or only partially treated sewage into the waterways, threatening the health of their own and neighboring populations. Rain drainage is another major polluting agent in the United States because it carries such substances as highway debris (including oil and chemicals from automobile exhausts), sediments from highway and building construction, and acids and radioactive wastes from mining operations into freshwater systems as well as into the ocean. Also transported by rain runoff and by irrigation return-flow are animal wastes from farms and feedlots, a widespread source of pollutants impairing rivers and streams, groundwater, and even some coastal waters. Antibiotics, hormones, and other chemicals used to raise livestock are components of such animal wastes. Pesticide and fertilizer residues from farms also contribute to water pollution via rain drainage.

Chinas leaders recognize that they must change course. They are vowing to overhaul the growth-first philosophy of the Deng Xiaoping era and embrace a new model that allows for steady growth while protecting the environment. The government has numerical targets for reducing emissions and conserving energy. Export subsidies for polluting industries have been phased out. Different campaigns have been started to close illegal coal mines and shutter some heavily polluting factories. Major initiatives are under way to develop clean energy sources like solar and wind power. And environmental regulation in Beijing, Shanghai and other leading cities has been tightened ahead of the 2008 Olympics. Yet most of the governments targets for energy efficiency, as well as improving air and water quality, have gone unmet. And there are ample signs that the leadership is either unwilling or unable to make fundamental changes.

Indeed, Britain, the United States and Japan polluted their way to prosperity and worried about environmental damage only after their economies matured and their urban middle classes demanded blue skies and safe drinking water. But China is more like a teenage smoker with emphysema. The costs of pollution have mounted well before it is ready to curtail economic development. But the price of business as usual including the predicted effects of global warming on China itself strikes many of its own experts and some senior officials as intolerably high. Typically, industrial countries deal with green problems when they are rich, said Ren Yong, a climate expert at the Center for Environment and Economy in Beijing. We have to deal with them while we are still poor. There is no model for us to follow.

China in the 21st Century, Long-Term Global Implications by Wolfgand Michalski, Riel Miller and Barrie Stevens Journal of Geophysical Research "Swimming in Poison: A hazardous chemical cocktail found in Yangtze River Fish". Greenpeace China. 2010-08-26. Air Pollution in China. A flash animation assessing air degree of pollution in China TIME, The World's Most Polluted Cities "Lead Poisoning in China: The Hidden Scourge". New York Times. 2011-06-15