Pollution now #1 cause of social unrest in China

How do you write "black lungs" in Mandarin?

This has been building up for years, as China rapidly industrialized and urbanized without much regard for the air, water, and land on which the life of its citizens depend. Chen Jiping, a former leading member of the party’s Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs, recently told the media that pollution has now replaced land disputes as the main cause of social unrest in the middle kingdom.

china asia UN smog cloud sunlight sun tiananmen

Bloomberg quotes him:

“The major reason for mass incidents is the environment, and everyone cares about it now,” Chen told reporters at a meeting of the Chinese People’s Political and Consultative Conference, where he’s a member. “If you want to build a plant, and if the plant may cause cancer, how can people remain calm?”

All this pressure has made the government open up a bit on environmental issues and start to make some of the right moves, but China has a lot of catching up to do on that front, as the never-ending smog proves (though China is not the only problem spot in Asia and in the Middle-East).

China's heavy reliance on coal for electricity is one of the main sources of the problem, and by switching to cleaner sources, it could both alleviate air quality problems and step up its fight against global warming.

Via Bloomberg

See also: What?! China Developers to Flatten 700 Mountains to Build New City

Related Content on Treehugger.com