News / Asia

Rural Environment Worsened in 2012, China Says

A Chinese woman wearing a face mask on a bicycle waits to cross a street in Beijing, May 31, 2013. A Chinese woman wearing a face mask on a bicycle waits to cross a street in Beijing, May 31, 2013.
x
A Chinese woman wearing a face mask on a bicycle waits to cross a street in Beijing, May 31, 2013.
A Chinese woman wearing a face mask on a bicycle waits to cross a street in Beijing, May 31, 2013.
Reuters
Pollution in China's vast countryside worsened further in 2012 as a result of the encroachment of industry and mining on farmland and an expansion of animal husbandry, the environment ministry said on Tuesday.
 
Pollution has emerged as one of the biggest challenges facing China's ruling Communist Party and its newly appointed leaders, with the government acknowledging that poor air and water quality has become a major causes of unrest.
 
The government is expected to unveil tough new measures to curb industrial emissions within the month, but the countryside could be an even harder challenge, with experts saying China's farms are now an even bigger source of pollution than the cities.
 
“With industrialisation, urbanization and the modernization of agriculture, the situation for the rural environment has become grim,'' the Ministry of Environmental Protection said in its annual report for last year.
 
“The stand out points are an increase in pressure from mining pollution... and severe pollution from the raising of livestock and poultry.''
 
In its annual report, the Ministry of Environmental Protection said China continued to face grave pollution problems despite overall improvements in air and water quality in 2012.
 
It described 2012 as a significant turning point after China's newly-appointed leadership vowed to build a “beautiful China'' and address the consequences of three decades of untrammeled growth.
 
But it noted that while overall environmental conditions did not worsen in 2012, “trends remained extremely serious."
 
Air quality in cities remained “generally stable'' in 2012, with emissions of sulfur dioxide - a pollutant caused mainly by coal burning - falling 4.52 percent to 21.18 million tons.
 
The ministry did not provide data for PM2.5, or airborne particulate matter with a diameter of less than 2.5 micrometers, a major health hazard caused by industrial coal burning and vehicle emissions.
 
In January, PM2.5 levels in large parts of northern China, including the capital Beijing, triggered widespread public anger and forced the authorities to introduce emergency measures to thin traffic and shut down polluting industries.
 
Wan Bentai, chief engineer with the environment ministry, told reporters last week that despite the January crisis, caused in part by “unique weather conditions'', air quality in China had been improving steadily for at least a decade.
 
“I can say as a matter of fact that Beijing's air quality is getting better and better - that is an objective fact,'' he said.
 
The environment ministry said water quality also saw a slight improvement in 2012, with 68.9 percent of samples found to be suitable for human consumption, up from 61 percent in the previous year. It said 10.2 percent of sampled water was below grade V and unsuitable even for industry or irrigation, down from 13.7 percent in 2011.

You May Like

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to enhancement or regression of democracy for Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid