The DVD “World in the Balance: China Revs Up”, focuses on the fast paced growth of the Chinese economy and its impact on the environment.
Within the past three decades China’s economic policy, supported by government initiatives aimed at economic reform, has attempted to remodel the Chinese economy into a global economic powerhouse. The result was the creation of the world’s second largest economy in terms of overall imports and exports and a boom in Chinese consumer purchasing power which has further supported the Chinese economy.
Unfortunately as seen in numerous scenes throughout the DVD this sudden growth came at the cost of severely deteriorating environmental conditions where nearly 6% of the total GDP of the country goes into supporting the growing health problems of various sectors in its population.
Rapid industrialization coupled with a blatant disregard for environmental stewardship has resulted in China becoming the second biggest producer of CO2 emissions in the world with estimates showing that it should reach and even exceed the C02 output of the U.S. by 2025 or 2030.
There are two specific reasons shown as to why the pollution problem has grown to such an extent namely: the rapid affluence of China’s consumer market and the government’s reluctance to impose stringent environmental safety measures for fear of the possible economic ramifications such a decision might cause. As China’s population continues to grow and prosper so to the needs of its population grow ever more complex and luxurious.
The result is a growing market in consumer goods that is attempting to meet the demand of an affluent consumer base. At the heart of this growing market is the car industry with thousands of cars being bought, sold and reaching China’s roads. Estimates show that there are approximately 20 million cars as of late on China’s busy roads with millions more to come within the next decade or so.
This sudden rise is attributed to the distinction of success that the Chinese have placed with car ownership and as such this has resulted in making China one of the largest car markets in the world. It must be noted that cars are one of the primary contributors to the release of CO2 emissions in the atmosphere, with the growing car population in China it is to be expected that the rate of pollution will go up as well.
The second reason behind the pollution problem in the country is directly related to the government’s reluctance to place effective environmental safety measures for fear that it may cause a slow down in the country’s economic activity.
Estimates show that in order for China to keep pace with its rapidly expanding population nearly 15 million jobs have to be created per year. This presents a unique situation for the government in that enforcing certain environmental standards may in fact cause various sectors in the economy to limit production thus resulting in a slowdown of the economy.
Overall the DVD is similar to the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” by Al Gore, it shows how rapid industrial expansion can and will affect the environment in negative ways if nothing is done about it. The environmental situation, the manufacturing industry and the growing affluence of the Chinese people are portrayed in a well balanced manner resulting in a rather well put together film.
My only critique is that the film neglected to showcase the effects of pollution on the waters surrounding China. While air pollution is a definite concern the fact remains that on average a lot of the pollution in the air is absorbed by the water in the sea resulting in the creation of filmy toxic sludge like substance on top of the water.
This substance is of course poisonous to all marine life and could adversely affect the Chinese fishing industry should it reach the food chain. In fact the fishing industry in China may be well aware of this fact already with Chinese fishing boats fishing in disputed waters despite the international scandals that may occur as a result.