What I’ve Learned So Far – Block 5 – China Rising

I’ve completed my first year studying toward BSc (Hons) Environmental Science, this is what I’ve learned…

This block wasn’t one that I was looking forward to. I had pre-conceived ideas about China – they’re one of the world’s biggest polluters, they don’t care about the environment etc, however, I was surprised about what I learned.

The growth of China’s manufacturing industry spans a single generation, something that has taken other nations decades to do. Although, the Chinese government had a hand in a lot of it.

We’re all familiar with the words ‘Made in China’. It’s on our electronics, toys, games even some books are printed in China. If you look around your home, you would almost certainly find at least one product that was Made in China. The growth of China has allowed us buy a variety of products at really cheap prices. China has grown its wealth on producing these low-end products but now they are looking at producing high-end products – solar panels. They know the future is green and they want to be the primary supplier of this. But they need for the low-end products are still needed; enter Ethiopia. I never realised China have been investing a lot in Ethiopia’s infrastructure, probably with a view to move the production of these low-end products to Ethiopia so China can concentrate on the high-end products.

As China has developed, this has increased the need for energy. Coal. Burning coal at the rate China has been doing so has had a detrimental effect on their citizens. On the run up to the Beijing Olympics, authorities were so concerned with the smog in the city that China had to heavily reduce production in their factories in order to clean up the air for the games. Of Couse, when the games finished, things went back to normal and the smog quickly returned.

I know China have a bad reputation as polluters but they are taking steps to change. They have a pledge they refer to their 13th Five-Year plan (2016 – 2020) and are heavily investing in green energy; solar, wind, hydro.

The Tutor-Marked Assignment for this was to write an essay about the claim that the Chinese government was responsible for their environmental challenges and what they plan to do to tackle these challenges. 

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