By Chang Yang
The ultimate goal of the world is to continue developing, for all countries; both developing and developed. Throughout the past decade, great achievements have been made and millions of people’s lives have been improved to meet to the living standard or at least have a better life than before. However, just like a medicine that cures disease, development has its side effects, and one of the side effects of development are environmental issues caused by rapid development carried by industrialization.
China is one of the most rapidly developing countries in the world now, pulling 680m people out of misery from 1981-2010 and reducing its extreme-poverty rate from 84% in 1980 to 10% now. Many countries see China as either a role model or as a threat now, because of the major achievement it has made both within the country and in the global world market.
However, great accomplishment came with consequences; many environmental issues have been raised to a critical level in many cities of China. One of the most notorious problems in China is the air pollution, air pollution in the capital city Beijing to be specific. Any pollution rating above 300 means the air is unsafe to breathe. Under these conditions, people should stay indoors with an air purifier running and remain as motionless as possible, according to U.S. Embassy Beijing guidelines. In January of 2015 alone, there were 19 days when the index in Beijing surpassed 300 and reached a maximum of 886 in January 12th, making air in Beijing impossible to breath. The massive air pollution is caused by the expansion of manufacturing industries and coal burning electrical plants burning up to 47 percent of the world’s coal, that power China’s breakneck economic growth.
Air pollution isn’t the only problem existing in China; more problems are waiting to be solved. Water pollution, even ground water, in Huangpu River in Shanghai, due to chemical leakage and dispose of dead livestock; Desertification of 3.7 million square-mile territory, due to the destruction of vegetative land; Unbelievably, there is even the existence of a village named Shangba, known to be the “Cancer Village”, the village is so polluted that simply living there is a cancer risk.
Development is what everyone and every country seeks for. Are we developing at the right pace or are we accelerating to fast? Are we ready for all the consequences caused by rapid development? Is it worth to risk our health to just become richer? As a Chinese, I am proud of my country, but I am also worried about the people’s living conditions. Development should be planned carefully with the awareness of the consequences and regulations should be set strict to minimize pollutions, to ensure the safety of our lives.