The article “Revolutionizing China’s Environmental Protection”, discusses how in China’s rapid growth they have neglected their environment and the negative externalities are not properly being addressed. GDP, the measure by which we assess the economic productivity of nations, is being calculated in such a way that the cost of reparations to the environment are added, not subtracted, from its total. This is done because of a lack of proper regulation and a diminished figure would look bad for the country. Counter measures were taken in 2004 when China reported something known as “Green GDP”, which counted GDP after the environmental damage. Sadly it didn’t last as the results frightened many government officials who rely on the inflated GDP figures.
Public outrage is a powerful tool, and the collective voice of the people telling their government that they do not condone a decision is powerful. Millions of text messages were sent by citizens to officials and residents of Xiamen City in order to prevent the planned construction of a chemical plant, which would further deteriorate the ecological state of the area. In the end they managed to halt its construction showing how the new tools of technology can be used as a means to push for more than just economic, but environmental progress. The internet itself, with its universal accessibility allows for everyone to be able to project their voice.
As a planet it is vital that we preserve our environment so that future generations do not suffer the consequences. Though economic goals may not always align – and in most cases conflict – with what is beneficial to the environment; we cannot allow them to dictate all production. Regulatory agencies such as the EPA exist with the purpose of ensuring that we maintain a world where we do not poison the resources we rely on to survive. In China their version of the EPA is known as SEPA (the State Environmental Protection Agency), and it is grossly understaffed and lacks the power to properly regulate. You know that there is a problem when it is more beneficial for companies to dump toxic wastes into public lakes because it is cheaper to pay the fines then it is to legally dispose of them. Only through the implementation of stricter policies, and incentivisation of producing in an environmentally friendly way, can we grow as a world and a people.