Industrialization Taken its Toll: Sandstorms in China
Throughout the past 20 years China has been one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Chinese leaders have taken full advantage of being a communist country.
Not having to abide by the same work and environmental standards as the western world has been a big advantage. The horrible work conditions and low wages for the Chinese have been well documented over the years. However the environmental impact that China has had on itself has been marginally overshadowed.
Today as reports of hazardous sandstorms in Beijing begin to surface, it is a brief reminder of the cost of China’s rapid progress. 18 percent of the country is desert, 78 percent of that is natural while the other 22 percent is man made.
The environmental issues facing China today is a combination of various factors. The main culprits of this disaster have been the farmers and herders. The Shepherd’s have allowed their sheep to overgraze and chew the grass right down to its roots. The farmers have exploited the already fragile land and have been over-pumping the rivers that border the desert.
This has resulted in 400,000 square kilometers of cropland to be turned into desert. To put this number into perspective this is approximately half the size of all the farmland in Canada. This has increased the effects of the “dustbowl” which has caused major health concerns.
The sandstorms are not only creating a whirlwind of sand but pollution as well. It is well known that China is one of the biggest if not the biggest emitters of toxic pollutants in the world.
Today as health advisories are being published and thousands of Chinese people are forced to stay home, one can’t help but think they are suffering the consequences of their own bad karma.
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