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The New Environmental Disaster Zone: China
China is a great new power trying to embrace a form of capitalist democracy under the communist banner. Look no farther than Hong Kong, a "special zone", that Beijing avoids to anger or tamper with because it is a golden egg and a former British colony.
In their haste, there is lots of environmental waste, as the communist party tries to have the best of both worlds with billions of people to control. Their megatropolis cities contain millions of people, all requiring infrastructure to house them so they can live and work and thrive. Yet, the cost to the environment is already here with days of heavy pollution that far exceeds any in the Western world. Their rivers are strained to provide the required water for every one and industrial use and the government must somehow monitor all this.
So far, China has failed. Between 8-20% of its arable land, 25-60, million acres are now contaminated with heavy metals China cannot afford to lose permanently more than 5% of its crop land because of the need to feed its 1.35 billion people. China's numbers are staggering in everything they do, even in environmental damage. Their rural areas are becoming polluted because of farming demands to grow crops, which forces farmers to heavily use fertilizer and polluting industry moving away from the cities.
When the Chinese EPA refused to release the results of soil studies because it was a "state secret", an activist Chinese lawyer launched a campaign to get the information to be released using the Internet. Even the communist paper sided with the activist this time for full disclosure. Many rice farmers already know that even though the fields of rice look healthy, they are dead inside with rot from contaminated water or soil. One study of China's rice fields found that the samples taken found 60% of the rice had excess levels of cadmium. This metal can destroy your kidneys. The study was in China's breadbasket- Hunan province. Rice is a staple food in China as wheat is in the USA.
There is a cancer town in China- Zekou. That is what the news media reported it is has because 60% of the deaths in there have died of cancer and suspect a nearby chemical waste plant for polluting the water. Zekou is not an anomaly, but the government acknowledges that there are over 100 of such towns in China with high cancer rates. Other towns have extreme levels of lead in their blood. Another study shows that only 35% of the fertilizer is used by the crops, while the rest of the 65% is runoff into the water systems and rivers as chemical pollution. China uses a whopping 57 million tons of chemical fertilizer a year. China must support 20% of the world's population using only 10% of the world's arable land.
In a the town of Dapu, a once thriving farming town. That all stopped starting in 2008 when a huge aluminum fluoride facility was built. Today, after years of the plant running 24\7 and causing all kinds of pollution, the farmers can only grow bad rice they cannot eat, fruit trees stopped bearing fruit and pollution was blown on them and what did grow, could not be sold because of suspicion it was bad. The company agreed to pay the rice farmers $880 for their rice crop they cannot sell as compensation. Before the facility was there, their crop sold for $1600.
The Chinese official still have little idea what killed thousands of pigs found floating in the water source of Shanghai. Finding dead fish along many of China's rivers and streams is commonplace and a recent study showed that even the water coming out of the tap in many Chinese homes is polluted by US standards. Which is why many boil the tap water.
If the environmental issues are not resolved, the communist party may not be able to retain its power on the billions of residents if anarchy about this basic issue happens.