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

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid