Author Topic: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?  (Read 35996 times)

Offline whitelackington

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"The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« on: January 22, 2007, 05:09:51 pm »
China is opening a new coal fired power station every four DAYS

This is to fuel their economic miracle
but is it worth it?


Living in China's coal heartland 
By James Reynolds
BBC News, Shanxi 


 
The village of Gezhuotou is in the heart of China's coal belt

At a temperature of -10C (14F), in the grey-blue dawn, two schoolchildren have a thankless job to complete.

They are meant to sweep away the soot, dirt and grime from the school gate.

But this village is surrounded by coal mines and power stations, so it is impossible to get anything clean.

Inside, a class of 10-year-olds works its way through its early-morning reading lesson.

The children all have dirty hands and faces. In this village, once you get grubby, you stay grubby. Winter makes things worse.

"When it comes to this time of year, one quarter of students get respiratory diseases," says the head teacher, Zhao Xiangjing.

"We sometimes give them shots to try to prevent them all getting ill. But we always have someone coughing."

 
 The village leaders don't live here. They live in the city where it's cleaner

Zhang Xianjiang

This small village, Gezhuotou, is in the middle of China's central Shanxi province. It is the heart of the country's coal belt.

All around, coal-fired power stations provide energy for the much of the rest of the country.

But it comes at a price. China suffers from some of the worst pollution in the world.

Every year, it is estimated that around 400,000 people in China die prematurely from pollution-related illnesses.

Respiratory diseases

On top of a hill, the windows of Wang Demeng's family home rattle whenever a coal train goes by.

From the front door, patrolled by guard dogs, you can make out the nearby mines and factories dumping smoke into the air.

 

At dinner time, they try to wash away the taste of pollution with some weak soup.

They say they feel abandoned by their leaders.

"The village leaders don't live here," says Zhang Xianjiang, pointing his finger. "They live in the city where it's cleaner. But we don't have any money, so we have to stay where we are."

An oxygen cylinder stands in the corner of the one-room house belonging to 73-year-old Zhang Mingzhi. He suffers from lung disease.

He lies in bed, his face swollen, barely able to move. His wife, Feng Lingmei, has to spoon-feed him. Her eyes are red.

"The air is so bad," she says. "On winter days like this, he can't go out, he gets worse, he just can't breathe."

Haze

The village clinic is just down the road. Wang Derong sits in his office, smoking a cigarette.

 
The pollution gets worse in winter

"I've been working here for 20 years," he says, "With more and more mines, the pollution has got worse. More and more people get respiratory diseases. Some people just can't pay for their medicine - so we let them write IOUs. I haven't told the village leaders about this."

In mid-afternoon, the haze is so bad that cars almost need headlights to see where they are going.

There is no wind, so the pollution from nearby mines and factories just sits in the air. Dozens of coal trucks head along the main road.

China may be trying to develop alternative energy sources. But right now in winter, more than a billion people need to keep warm, and carry on working.

The coal from this province does the job. The residents of Gezhuotou can feel it for themselves with every breath.



 

Offline langcliffe

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2007, 05:36:13 pm »
I'm (albeit easily) confused. What has this to do with the UK Caving section of the forum?

Also, I suspect that lifting whole articles out of the BBC news pages is in contravention of copyright laws, and makes the forum owners liable.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #2 on: January 22, 2007, 06:02:57 pm »
"The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?

These sort of pseudo-moral questions annoy me.

a) Let's assume that it ISN'T worth it. Then what? Who is supposed to "do something" about it? - A good question would be "Can anyone do anything about it?", I mean, short of starting a third world war with China to force them to do what we want them to do (i.e. stop manufacturing and exporting cheap goods to us which we seem perfectly happy to purchase) I think the whole thing is a nonsense non-topic.

b) However, personally I think the pollution is worth it. Next question, please.....


Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #3 on: January 22, 2007, 06:04:26 pm »
What has this to do with the UK Caving section of the forum?

Erm,.... other than it being posted on a caving forum by a caver, probably nothing.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #4 on: January 22, 2007, 07:25:28 pm »
I have recently seen a forum where the wholesale copy/pasting of stuff from elsewhere was considered bad form. This should be in idle chat if anywhere. Personally I think if you can't be bothered to write something yourself you should not put in here. Posting a link might be OK I suppose. At least you can make sure that what you added to the text is obvious.

Offline Anon

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #5 on: January 22, 2007, 07:28:20 pm »
Seems a strange thread, should have been in idle chat and who cares about what China get up to, they'll do what they want when they want and nobody will stop them..

Offline Robert Scott

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #6 on: January 22, 2007, 09:27:58 pm »
Could always send a petition to the government. 

Ooops, better not go down that street again.

Offline whitelackington

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #7 on: January 23, 2007, 08:14:33 am »
Perhaps this massive subject would have been better in The Global Warming Topic
but that has degenerated into who's shed roof has recently blown off.

Almost nothing that we, in The United Kingdom, do,
will alter the horrific World future with regard to pollution / global warming
but there is a huge amount that China could do.

We could however start a trade war
and refuse to buy cheap Chinese goods, perhaps radically,
 make our own stuff.
If they did not have such a rapidly expanding market for their produce, they would not expand their economy so rapidly and perhaps could find better ways to fuel it rather than a new coal fired power station every four days.
This is the absolute opposite of sustainability.

What has it got to do with us, LOTS,
they will ultimately be KILLIONG US along with everyone else. :(

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #8 on: January 23, 2007, 09:51:00 am »
"The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?

These sort of pseudo-moral questions annoy me.


Likewise, though it would be better if we didn't make the whole planet smell like Bridgewater/Runcorn/Avonmouth/Billingham (delete as preferred).

Shall we not join in this debate, but talk about caves instead.

Um, er, [long pause] ...........

Been down any good caves lately?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #9 on: January 23, 2007, 09:54:51 am »
Yes, lots. Have you?

Offline whitelackington

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2007, 09:56:20 am »
It is just possible that the recently increased proportion of Co2 in the atmosphere
may be related to the recent incidences of too much Co2 in caves :idea:

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2007, 09:58:01 am »
And?

Oh, I geddit; you want to get the Cave Conservation dept to send a shitty letter to China telling them stop adding to the poor air problem.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2007, 10:01:56 am »
Of course! Why didn't I think of that? Get on with it then.  :icon_321:

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #13 on: January 23, 2007, 10:13:49 am »
Done; sent an email.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #14 on: January 23, 2007, 10:23:38 am »
Yeah, right.

Offline Hughie

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #15 on: January 23, 2007, 10:35:58 am »
Likewise, though it would be better if we didn't make the whole planet smell like Bridgewater/Runcorn/Avonmouth/Billingham (delete as preferred).

Shall we not join in this debate, but talk about caves instead.

Um, er, [long pause] ...........

Been down any good caves lately?


Bridgwater (sorry Peter - no "e") - the universal centre for deprivation, desolation, despondency and mutancy - no longer whiffs as it used to. British Smellophane has been shut down and operations moved to it's sister plant in the good old US of A!

Digging last night. So many people there I couldn't even get to the bottom, so usefully spent my time doing maintenance.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2008, 10:10:23 pm by cap 'n chris, Reason: fixed quotation layout »

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #16 on: January 23, 2007, 10:52:59 am »
Quote
Digging last night. So many people there I couldn't even get to the bottom, so usefully spent my time doing maintenance.

With baler twine and fertiliser bags?

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #17 on: January 23, 2007, 10:56:29 am »
Probably involved some duct tape somewhere, too, I speck.

Offline Hughie

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #18 on: January 23, 2007, 11:02:58 am »
Quote
Digging last night. So many people there I couldn't even get to the bottom, so usefully spent my time doing maintenance.

With baler twine and fertiliser bags?

Not quite, but close to it. Builders aggregate bags and (now out of fashion) round bale bags form an integral part of plan number 53 at Templeton. Successfully too, I might add.

Sorry - well off thread.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2007, 11:06:49 am »

Sorry - well off thread.

I'm not bothered, if you're not bothered.  ;D

Offline whitelackington

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2007, 11:07:51 am »
Such a massive volume of polution is being emptied into rivers in China, that wetlands, coastal regions and the sea off china are being decimated, fish stocks have plumeted with the lower oxygen levels.
This madness is not sustainable.
The World buying their cheap goods is what is fueling this rapid expansion,
at it seems, any cost.
The cost, is our environment.

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2007, 02:46:16 pm »
I don't think it's got much to do with the asking price of the goods; even if they put their prices up the side-effects of manufacturing processes wouldn't disappear.

I think you'll find that one of the chief reasons why manufacturing (and, as a result, cheap goods) is being done anywhere other than in western societies is because we have priced ourselves out of the market by having so many rules and regulations over what can and cannot be done - onesuch being the cost of compliance with environmental legislation! - oh, the irony!

Sorry, Whitelackington, but whinging about stuff ain't gonna make tuppence worth of difference. I refer to my previous list of things to do if you want to save the world, item no. 1 - "Stop buying stuff". Mind you, for this plan to work and save the planet, everyone must do similarly - but the disastrous consequences of mass famine, rioting etc. probably aren't much more acceptable than the hardship of not being a consumer in a materialist/capitalist society.

I think you should ask for the world to be stopped, so you can get off.

Oh, and BTW, "sustainability" is a myth, a sick joke and is designed to fool the gullible - for as long as the world population increases by a billion people every 13 years (i.e. unsustainably) then the very concept of sustainability is self-evidently an obvious impossibility.

Offline whitelackington

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2007, 05:47:20 pm »
 >:(

"I think you should ask for the world to be stopped, so you can get off.

Oh, and BTW, "sustainability" is a myth, a sick joke and is designed to fool the gullible - for as long as the world population increases by a billion people every 13 years (i.e. unsustainably) then the very concept of sustainability is self-evidently an obvious impossibility. " Captain Chris

I largely agree, I would have said ,  would have liked to of got off about 1980
but then I only bought my 36 volt Lithium Hilti Drill (for caving)
last year, so I couldn't really get off till then, which, I suppose, partly proves your point, Captain, I am almost as guilty as the Chinese
but I am not over procreating or causing too much polution, I also do not change my stuff regularly, I drive an 18 year old car, I still have crap from thirty years ago, still use my origonal divers bag I bought to put my caving gear in.
What is the answer then
to all this warming polution? :confused:

Offline Cap'n Chris

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2007, 08:40:46 pm »
There isn't one. Simply carry on enjoying your time here on planet earth and let everyone else worry themselves sick about an insoluble fact - largely worried over by the very people ensuring the problem escalates..... parents!

Offline AndyF

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Re: "The Economic Miracle of China" Is the pollution worth it?
« Reply #24 on: January 24, 2007, 11:19:38 pm »
I've got a vegatable patch and a shotgun . I don't care.  ;D

The world is stuffed, enjoy it while you can. Have a nice day y'all....
"Life's a pitch, then you fall down one..."