According to a new study, it appears that environmental pollution in China is decreasing.
The study, which was conducted by a team of international researchers from five countries, “shows that increased environmental awareness and investments in China over the past decade have produced results,” says Deliang Chen, professor of physical meteorology at the University of Gothenburg and Coordinating Lead Author of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
The study results are based on data related to economic growth, economic conditions, regional differences, the gap between urban and rural areas, land-based impacts on the ocean, education equality, healthcare, social inequality, and living standards in China from 1977-2017.
“In our study we have looked at the data from all areas based on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As researchers, we normally tend to look at our own data, but in this study, we have used existing data from many different sources,” says Chen.
As economic growth increased in China, so did environmental pollution, but “the analysis of our data shows a weakening of that relationship for China starting in 1995,” Chen added.
The study also demonstrates that while environmental pollution in China is on the decline, greenhouse gas emissions have unfortunately continued to increase.
“China’s economic growth has not come without great sacrifice and with negative consequences for the environment and climate,” says Chen.
“But it is still encouraging to note these improvements. At the same time, it reminds us of the urgent need to solve major problems such as increased greenhouse gas emissions and inequality of income.”
Chen is hopeful that the study of China can help other countries analyze their own role in environmental pollution.
Protesters have been active in forcing the government to take a look at the issue of air pollution. In 2016, protesters wearing face masks took to the streets of Chengdu to demand a better solution to the problem of smog. In recent years, protesters have targeted power and chemical plants in Sichuan, Jiangsu, and Heilongjiang.
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