China Neck Deep in Pollution


Algal blooms saturate the trash-laden waters of China. Industrial and agricultural waste is vastly unregulated and allows the toxic runoff to flow freely through Chinese currents and waft through the dense air. According to, one-third of industrial waste goes unregulated in addition to nearly 90% of household waste flowing into limited water sources. Contamination is widespread across every major city, without any backup water sources or filtration and treatment solutions in sight. Almost half of state rivers are so polluted, that the government had to report that they were unsafe for human contact.

Bodies of water in China come in all colors of the rainbow, from the deep bluish purple of indigo dyes to bright pinks and reds, to the fuzzy greens of algal blooms. People are exposed to high concentrations of arsenic and sulfates, as well as radiation. Almost half of the water available in the northern part of China is unfit for human consumption. Measures have been taken by the Chinese government, as well as other private institutions, to help combat the epidemic of water pollution.

However, even with the closing of several offensive factories and nearly 132 billion dollars allocated to aid the cleanup, China’s situation grew worse. Acid rain is now a prevalent problem in the country, affecting roughly half of the cities in the country, which could lead to loss of crop yield, erosion, and further acidification of their already tainted waters. Officials have tried to brush off the issue by saying it was mostly caused by the waste of citizens, ignoring the impact that private companies, pollutant industries, and agriculture have on their environment.

The damage shows not only in their surroundings but in the health of their people, which has seen a sharp rise in cases of cancer due to the pollution. An estimated 5.5 years are taken off of the life expectancy of a person born in Northern China due to air and water pollution. It seems that nobody is willing to take responsibility for the crisis, at the cost of the people’s well-being, the safety of the environment, and global health and prosperity. With China’s primary focus being economic growth, their government has little time or money allocated to funding Chinese civil rights such as healthcare, safety regulations, and environmental health. Fiscal prosperity can only last if there are resources and a place for them to grow. China’s economy has seen exponential growth, why can’t its environmental health, too?

Featured Photo by Redd Angelo on Unsplash


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