Posts Tagged ‘china’

News: EPA Chief Thinks China Is Poised For A Green Revolution

According to the United States Enviornmental Protection Agency, China may be the newest kid on the block joining the ‘green’ revolution. In an article on the Huffington Post this week, Kate Sheppard reported on Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy’s talk at the Center for American Progress, in which she said China was on the “cusp of a major push for environmental action.”

Like the previous generation of environmental activism in the U.S., which led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of laws like the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, a “significant public outcry” is confronting the Chinese government, said McCarthy. “We have been there before. The U.S. has faced these challenges. We have faced them well, we have faced them over time. We know what planning can do.”

McCarthy said that in the face the public’s demand for cleaner air and a new focus on climate change, China has been slow to change but is making progress, citing the recent example of the Beijing municipal government releasing its own air quality data, which has created more reporting on pollution issues in the capital.

China faces major problems combatting pollution from power plants, heavy industry, automobiles and trucks. In recent weeks, the country has seen school closures andwarnings of public health threats due to dangerous levels of smog.

According to a Wall Street Journal article, the Chinese government had previously published PM10 pollution levels — that is, pollutants measuring between 2.5 and 10 micrometers in diameters.

However, they didn’t previously release data for smaller PM2.5 pollutants, which are smaller and seen by some experts as more harmful to human health.

China hasn’t yet released targets for average annual PM2.5 levels, though the state-run Xinhua news agency in an article on Saturday said the the national standard could be set at 35 micrograms per cubic meter on average per year, citing hearings at the environment ministry from earlier this month.

In an October article on Yahoo!, Joe McDonald reported on China’s recent action to cleanup the recycling industry by enforcing tougher rules at home and for shipments into the country.

The Chinese campaign is aimed at enforcing standards for waste imports after Beijing decided too many were unusable or even dangerous and would end up in its landfills. Under the crackdown dubbed Green Fence, China has rejected hundreds of containers of waste it said were contaminated or that improperly mixed different types of scrap.

It is abruptly changing a multibillion-dollar global industry in which China is a major processing center for the world’s discarded soft drink bottles, scrap metal, electronics and other materials. Whole villages in China’s southeast are devoted to processing single products, such as electronics. Household workshops break down discarded computers or appliances to recover copper and other metals. Some use crude smelters or burn leftover plastic and other materials, releasing lead and other toxins into the air. Green Fence is in line with the ruling Communist Party’s pledges to make the economy cleaner and more efficient after three decades of breakneck growth that fouled rivers and left China’s cities choking on smog.

McDonald says since American and European recyclers send a significant part of their business to China stricter scrutiny has slowed imports and raised their costs.

The decline in the number of traders buying scrap to ship to China has also depressed prices American and European recycling companies can get for their plastic and metals.

China’s recycling industry has boomed over the past 20 years. Its manufacturers needed the metal, paper and plastic and Beijing was willing to tolerate the environmental cost. Millions of tons of discarded plastic, computers, electronics, newspapers and shredded automobiles and appliances are imported every year from the United States, Europe and Japan.

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12 2013