Thursday, February 12, 2009

Guess who's responsible for a good deal of the pollution in China?

People in the U.S. China is home to some of the most polluted cities on earth, cities that go even beyond notorious places like Mexico City and Bangkok. Most of them appear to be newly booming industrial centers. Pollution in China is an unfortunate legacy of the Stalinist type of socialism that privileged economic industrial development over anything else, with the environment seen as something expendable compared to the importance of building up heavy industry and infrastructure. However, these boom towns appear to be booming through manufacture and export of goods to the United States and elsewhere. Maybe "appeared to have boomed" would be a better description because of the economic crisis in the U.S., but the relationship is still there. While China may argue that it needs to be able to pollute beyond Western standards because it's still a developing country, it's the U.S. market that's ultimately funding that development, so that our buying habits and the fact that our industry has relocated to China are directly influencing the health of the planet, and of the Chinese people.

Even if we in the U.S. have strict pollution controls, if our industry is offloaded through globalization to countries where no one cares about pollution we're still polluting.

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