when we made some research on the pollution crisis in China this afternoon, I discovered a very interesting serie of articles, videos and interactive graphics on the website of The New York Times. It has 10 parts and illustrates quiet well how everything is related one to the other- pollution, water&food supply, health problems, employement, quality of life, profits,… This series of articles really made me aware of how complex and complicated the whole pollution problem is. Maybe it is this complexity which prevents governments from acting. They don’t know where and how to begin, without creating devastating side effects in another field. I will give you a short and very simlpified example:
- if Chinese government interdicts farmers to use antibiotics for their fishes, water will be cleaner, but: fishes will be less resistant to diseases and therefore die more often -> decrease of fish, that farmers can sell -> decrease of the farmer’s income -> increase of poverty -> shortage of food supply -> hunger -> people dying from hunger -> increase of food imports -> increase of prices/costs -> decrease of Chinese GDP
It think, that this example illustrates quiet well, how difficult it may be is for the Chinese government to introduce new environmental laws and to make sure that they are really implemented. They have to balance between social, economic and environmental aspects and be clear about their priorities. Furthermore the fatc, that pollution is a closed circle problem, doesn’t make it easier for governments to react. I give you another short example of what I mean with “closed circle problem”:
- pollution of rivers -> fishstocks in danger -> fisherman add antibitics and other chemicals to the water in order to make the fishes be more resistant to water pollution and eat or sell them -> the rivers get even more polluted -> fishstocks in danger –> and so one
Despite all these difficulties, I see light at the end of the road and I think that the Chinese government is able to turn China around to a more sustainable road of economic growth and social welfare. I would probably only recommand them to take into account all the different aspects of pollution mentionned in the NYT articles and video clips, when they implement new laws or regulations.