China’s economic boom has an environmental dark side. While China’s economy continues to grow at a rate of more than 8% annually, as it has for more than two decades, the country’s environment and the Chinese people are paying a steep price. China now boasts five of the ten most polluted cities in the world; 70% of the water that flows through China’s urban areas is unfit for drinking or fishing; and severely degraded land or desert, which now claims 1‚ÅÑ4 of China’s land, is advancing at a rate of 1300 sq. miles per year.
As Nathan Nankivell points out, the environmental crisis poses a challenge for China’s leaders on their own developmental terms.
See also “Conservation still hard sell in China” from the Toronto Star.