chapter  19
Environmental challenges in China
WithGraeme Lang
Pages 10

China’s biggest environmental problems are the pollution and depletion of its supplies of water, and the country is very far from solving those problems. Deforestation has been a second major problem in the past, but by contrast with its problems with water, the country has largely succeeded in conserving forests. The chapter reviews these problems, and discusses some of the responses of China’s governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and citizens to these problems. China is struggling with three major water crises: serious water pollution, wasteful and inefficient use of water, and unsustainable depletion of natural underground water reservoirs. NGOs in China are closely monitored by governments at every level, and have much less freedom of operation than in Japan, the Republic of Korea, or in European or North American countries. China’s extraordinary economic growth over the past three decades has been estimated at more than a 10% increase in gross domestic product each year.