The environment is a general classification, which at its greatest incorporates basically everything in our lives. Environmental issues are the harmful effects of human activity on the biophysical environment. Environmental problems in China are at a critical level and they are getting worse. Rapid Development has transformed huge swaths of the country into environmental wastelands and China’s national carbon dioxide emissions are among the highest in the world and are increasing annually.
Some of the major environmental issues faced by China were air pollution, water pollution and desertification. A very uncommon fact is that Chinese cities are among the most air polluted in the world. China consumes almost as much coal annually as all other countries combined, and coal burning in the country is the biggest source of both air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions making it the leading cause of climate change. During the 1990s, the number of vehicles on the streets expanded quickly, particularly in medium-sized and large urban areas. In Beijing, the number of vehicles expanded by a factor of 4, from 0.5 million out of 1990 to 2 million in 2002. Furthermore, the outflow factor (the measure of contamination discharged by one vehicle) in China is a lot higher than in developed nations, since China had settled for the easiest option for autos. Along these lines, the intense rise in the quantity of vehicles and fast advancement of investments in urban areas has prompted deteriorating air quality (Xie et al., 2000, 2003; Zhang et al., 1999), especially higher convergences of nitrogen oxides (NOx) (Wang et al., 2001) and particulates (Hu et al., 2002a,b; Kan and Chen, 2004; Song et al., 2002). Large amounts of ozone fixation were habitually seen in the mid-year and fall in a few major urban communities (Ma, 2000; Tang et al., 1989, 1995; Wang et al., 2003; Zhang et al., 1998), and evidently in urban territories keeps on breaking down (Song et al., 2003a). The level of water pollution in China is as bad as air pollution as China experiences the twin issues of water deficiency and water contamination. Discharge of various industrial chemicals into the water bodies worsens the issue. Around 33% of China's populace needs access to clean drinking water. Its per-capita water supply falls at around a fourth of the worldwide normal. An increasing population and fast monetary development, along with careless environmental oversight, have expanded water request and contamination. Besides the industrial waste, most of the pollutants come from agricultural waste including fertilizers, pesticides and animal waste. One of the biggest examples in China for water pollution is the Yellow River. It is known as the Yellow River in light of the fact that tremendous measures of loess residue turn the water that shading. Such an extensive amount this mineral-rich soil winds up in the Yellow River that it can fill the riverbed and therefore change the stream's course. During heavy rains or during silt blockage, the river can jump its banks and spread and destruction all over central China. Along with air and water pollution, China faces the issues of desertification typically as a result of drought, deforestation, or inappropriate agriculture. Desertification is the process by which fertile land becomes desert, and leads to the loss of about 5,800 square miles of grasslands every year and one of the leading causes of desertification is overgrazing. In China, the issue has been happening along four kinds: "aeolian desertification," which is caused by wind erosion after vegetation is demolished; "water and soil misfortune," because of water disintegration that is fundamentally circulated in the Loess level; "salinization" because of poor water management; and "shake desertification," dispersed in the Karst district of southwestern China. At present, 27.4 per cent of China is decertified land, influencing around 400 million individuals (A.E. Petri, 2017).
These issues led to a major setback in the development of China. Having a good environment is one of the crucial aspects of sustainable development; China, therefore, introduced various laws and policies to help overcome these problems. Since the 1990s, China has strengthened the environmental legislation and a fairly collective environmental authoritative structure has taken initial shape. (Wang, 2010). By 2000, China formulated 6 environmental laws, including the “Environmental Protection Law formulated for the purpose of protecting and improving environment, preventing and controlling pollution and other public hazards, safeguarding public health, promoting environmental civilization improvement and facilitating sustainable economic and social development” (Environmental Protection Law of the Peoples Republic of China,1989). 12 resource laws were also developed including the “Forest Law which was enacted with a view to protecting, cultivating and rationally exploiting forest resources, accelerating territorial afforestation and making use of forests in water storage and soil conservation, climate regulation, environmental improvement and supply of forest products to meet the requirements of socialist construction and people's livelihood” (Draper, 2000). State Environmental Protection Administration formed 427 environmental measures, different provincial government defined in excess of 900 neighbourhood natural laws and controls. These laws and controls all added to the foundation of China's natural lawful structure (Wang, 2010).
Along with these laws, certain policies were put into action to ensure the protection of the environment and to help the government control the environmental damage which already took place. Implementation of these policies not only increases the awareness but also helps in reducing the occurrence of events that can turn into a liability. Environmental policy in China is set by the National People's Congress and overseen by the Ministry of Environmental Protection of the People's Republic of China. In 1972, Chinese delegates went to the primary United Nations Conference on the Human Environment following which, the Environmental Protection Leadership Group was established. In 1983, the Chinese government reported that natural insurance would turn into a state policy. According to the government’s website, the Central Government invested more than 40 billion yuan between 1998 and 2001 on the protection of vegetation, farm subsidies, and conversion of farm to forests. Between 1999 and 2002, China converted 7.7 million hectares of farmland into forest. At the point when new environmental protection arrangements become effective in January 2015, the administration's natural organizations will be permitted to uphold strict punishments and seize the property of unlawful polluters. Organizations that violate the law will be "named and disgraced", with the administrators subject to a jail sentence of 15 days. On the whole, the current law has 70 sections, as compared to the 47 of the old law.
China underwent a number of key events which affected the environment on a large scale. In 1995, October, an extremely powerful earthquake with a number of aftershocks hit the country, killing around 36 individuals. The tremor, which estimated 6.5 on the Richter scale, harmed about 204 individuals, toppled approximately 500 houses and struck amid a strong rainstorm, hampering rescue and aid projects in Yunnan Province, a tough mountainous region that outskirts Burma. Numerous individuals were left homeless, requiring the need of immediate attention by the concerned authorities.
In 1998, the World Health Organization reported that out of the ten most polluted cities in the world, seven can be found in China. These cities are Taiyuan, Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Jinan and Shijiazhuang.
In 1998, April one of the most devastating sandstorms in decades was raging in Beijing for 2 days, blocking sunlight. Huge amounts of sand from deserts in China blew into Beijing in the greatest dust storm, covering China's capital in a yellow-orange dimness that made the air quality hazardous. There were few individuals out on roads where walkers could taste the residue. A large number of individuals who had wandered from their homes were wearing face covers, and some left impressions in the yellow film that had settled on the city's roads. Beijing's weather forecasting bureau gave the air quality an uncommon 5, or dangerous, rating and included that it was not suitable for morning works out.
For the purpose of flood control and power generation, the Chinese government decided to build the Three Gorges Dam. The construction of a dam on the Yangtze River had been considered since 1919. This dam is the world's biggest power delivering office and the world's biggest hydroelectric dam. The task was endorsed by the Chinese government in 1992. Be that as it may, development didn't start until 1994. It is booked to be finished by 2009 Development of the primary mass of the dam was finished in 2006. The rest of the dam's generators were operational by mid-2012, and a ship lift started working in late 2015. The benefits of this construction are quite evident but at the same time it also became a burden on the government since it led to water pollution, migration problem and environmental problems, centrally because in order to build the dam, the surrounding landscape had to be changed to a great extent, which caused some issues identified with atmosphere crumbled, plants and natural life vanished and chronicled relics submerged.
“The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change - Heraclitus”. Since the 1990s China has made numerous amendments to its existing laws and policies to ensure sustainable environmental development. In July 2008, the State Environmental Protection Administration (SEPA) was moved up to the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) and increased significance as a basic division of the State Council. The MEP is in charge of setting up and executing local arrangements related to pollution and environmental issues (Khan and Chang, 2018). In December 2016, when a rush of contaminated air as smog was spread in various parts of China, the administration at that point was reminded of its duty to improve the air quaity. Environmental protection officers have likewise been conceded more prominent forces to direct and endorse polluters. China distributed its first Environmental Protection Tax Law in December 2016, which planned to brace the social control of environmental regulations. It forces a few charges on creation units that transmit air, water and noise pollution and strong waste. It was authorized on 1 January 2018. Although various endeavours and overwhelming plans at the district, provincial, and central government levels have been propelled at various occasions, China, being the world's driving manufacturing industry, still faces critical environmental difficulties. Consequently, the arrangement of new, refreshed, and nonpartisan natural strategies is unavoidable to adapt to the issue before it is past the point of no return. Additionally, focus is likewise to be given to guarantee execution with complexity to the examinations of the results, open intrigue and investment, straightforwardness, effectiveness recommending punishments on the dependable, and afterward to survey compatibilities of the natural laws with altogether investigated outcomes with the end goal to accomplish a definitive environmental objectives for a superior environmental future for China and the world on the loose.
The arguments expressed above highly suggest that Environmental Issues in China were critical and in need of immediate attention by the concerned authorities. CPC made efforts to improve the same by making and amending laws and policies, but it is clear that they were not sufficient. Problems which took decades and centuries to grow cannot be solved in a couple of years. They need to be dealt with in an efficient, productive and consistent manner to give positive results. International help, as well as China’s own citizens, need to contribute individually to reap the benefits. "What you sow, so shall you reap” (Bible, Galatians VI (King James Version)).
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