Powerful Photos Show Harsh Changes in the Environment Caused by Pollution

Boy Swims In Algae-filled Water, Qingdao, Shandong
Boy Swims In Algae-filled Water, Qingdao, Shandong

Development and an emergent powerhouse economy can have their own disadvantages anywhere.  China is certainly no exception, and with its unrestricted rate of growth has turned the country into an environmental disaster, as one can see in these images.

Journalist Takes Sample Of Red Polluted Water From The Jianhe River
Journalist Takes Sample Of Red Polluted Water From The Jianhe River

Since introducing market reforms in 1978, China has gone from a centrally planned, to a market-based economy and underwent swift economic and social development. With a population pegged at 1.3 billion, China recently was declared the second largest economy and is progressively playing a vital and prominent role in the global arena. Its socialist market economy is the world’s second biggest based on nominal GDP, and the world’s largest economy by purchasing power parity according to the IMF.

Fishermen Row Boat In Algae-filled Chaohu Lake In Hefei, Anhui Province
Fishermen Row Boat In Algae-filled Chaohu Lake In Hefei, Anhui Province

It is also recognized as the world’s fastest growing major economy. China is a global center for manufacturing, and is the largest manufacturing economy on the planet. It is also the largest exporter of goods in the world. They have the world’s fastest growing consumer market in addition to being the second largest importer of goods.

Labourer Tries To Clean Up Oil From Water, Dalian, Liaoning
Labourer Tries To Clean Up Oil From Water, Dalian, Liaoning

China also has one of the strictest censorship codes in the world. Censored media include practically all capable of communicating to a wide audience including print media, radio, television, film, theater, text messaging, instant messaging, video games, literature and ofcourse, the Internet. This why you will rarely get to see the dark side of their economic boom, such as the squalor in these pictures.

Worker Cleans Away Dead Fish At Lake In Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province
Worker Cleans Away Dead Fish At Lake In Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province

While they have immense economic growth numbers, they also have equally enormous numbers when it comes to industry generated pollution. For instance, air pollution in some areas of China can be 20 times worse than what is regarded as the upper limit. Theirs is a difficult energy situation to juggle.

Girl Walks Through Smog In Beijing, Where Small-Particle Pollution Is 40 Times Higher Than International Safety Standards
Girl Walks Through Smog In Beijing, Where Small-Particle Pollution Is 40 Times Higher Than International Safety Standards

China’s burgeoning economy and urbanization devours energy, and that energy is generated by many coal plants, one of the largest contributors to air pollution. Some go as far as saying it is akin to a nuclear winter. Algal blooms fueled by inorganic compounds also obstruct and congest China’s waterways and lakes.

Workers Try To Drain Sewage Water From Leaking Sewage Tank, Shanghang, Fujian
Workers Try To Drain Sewage Water From Leaking Sewage Tank, Shanghang, Fujian

In some areas, chemicals tint the water an intense blood red. While China‘s flourishing economy and industrialization means more urbanization and a larger middle class population, these two elements also translate to more mountains of garbage that will surely choke the waterways.

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Patricia Ramos

Patricia Ramos

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I’m talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.