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Chinese Government And The Environmental Problems

1553 words - 6 pages

China has approximately 20% of the world’s population, which is around 1.3 billion people (Morris, 2009, p. 111). Also, China has become one of the worlds biggest manufacturing countries within 30 years (Fawssett, 2009, p. 27). However, such rapid development has come at a cost, which has created various environmental problems. Coincidentally, China has 16 cities on a list of the 20 worst polluted cities in the world (Fawssett, 2009, p. 15). Therefore, this essay will explain the reasons for China’s environmental problems, then evaluate the claim that the Chinese government and people, are tackling these environmental problems. First, crop farming techniques over the last hundred years, and their consequences will be explained. Followed by, how peoples choice in food has changed over the last hundred years, and how this indirectly affects the environment. Then, how a capitalist economy is linked to agriculture, and finally what the Chinese government and people are doing to tackle these problems.

In Zhang Zhimin video diary it stated that, in the last hundred years, agriculture has become the biggest source of pollution. For example, in the early twentieth century farmers used terracing, irrigation and multi cropping techniques, plus a large amount people to tend the crops (Morris, 2009, p. 76). Also, animals were used as food and to maintain the nutrient cycle, which was beneficial to the farmers crops (Morris, 2009, pp. 80-82). Tools such as the iron mouldboard plough was also used for dry-land cultivation, which is believed to have been used for centuries (Morris, 2009, p. 84). Techniques such as these were said be a sustainable method of farming, although some people may have been suffering from malnutrition (Morris, 2009, p. 85). Furthermore, by the second half of the century, peasant farmers were unable to buy better seeds or mechanical machinery due to lack of money (Morris, 2009, p. 86). This created inequality between landowners and peasant farmers that resulted in the communist party – led by Mao ZheDong – taking control of China (Morris, 2009, p. 86). Modern machinary, production teams and brigades were introduced that increased crop yields, which also increased deforestation and risk of soil erosion (Morris, 2009, pp. 87-89). By 1978 food production increased further, with the help of pesticides and fertilisers (Morris, 2009, p. 90). Interestingly, the increased use of fertilisers for growing crops may result in the leaching of nutrients in open water which causes rapid growth of algae (Morris, 2009, p. 95). Incidentally, the same thing happened in 2007 at lake Taihu, which lasted for several days and contaminated the water supply for approximately 2 million people (Fawssett, 2009, p. 51). Therefore, this suggests that as crop farming increased in the second half of the twentieth century, it also increased the pollution of the soil and water.

In addition, as mentioned in Zhang Zhimin’s video diary that livestock breeding is also...

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