Environment in China - Statistics & Facts

Rapid industrial development and the dominance of economic growth in political considerations have taken their toll on the environment in China. Hazardous levels of water and air pollutants have become a daily phenomenon in the lives of the Chinese people. In addition, the country is frequently hit by natural disasters of various kinds. As of 2011, China ranked first among countries with the most natural disasters worldwide. Aftereffects of overexploitation and pollution not only become apparent in everyday lives, they also begin to have a serious impact on the economic situation of the country. In 2012, the city of Beijing alone had reported a regional economic loss of about 17 billion yuan due to natural disasters caused by environmental pollution in China. Due to rising urgency, an industry has developed around environmental protection, generating total revenue of more than three trillion yuan in 2011.

Probably the most prominent of China’s environmental issues is the country’s air pollution. Industry waste gas emissions put a strain on man and nature alike. In 2012, more than two thirds of total waste gas emissions were caused by heavy industries such as power generation and metal processing. Carbon dioxide emissions have been constantly rising in China, high particulate matter levels (PM10) and others only complicate the matter. In order to reduce waste gas emissions, the government has introduced specific reduction targets in the 12th five year plan, to be reached until 2015.

China’s water reserves also suffer heavily from industrial pollution. As of 2012, main pollutants were COD particles and ammonia nitrogen. That year, the paper sector and the chemical sector were the industries with the highest waste water discharge in China.

Alongside the rising severity of environmental impacts, investments in order to treat environmental pollution have increased nearly six-fold in China over the decade leading up to 2012, reaching a total investment volume of more than 800 billion yuan.

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