While the world reaps the benefits of cheap labor and lax environmental standards which also reduces direct cost, the people of China are being killed by the air they breathe.
Look at what air pollution is doing to people in China, particularly children. According to this report, 40% of the world’s premature deaths attributable to air pollution in 2010, 1.2 million, occurred in China. Along with these startling numbers, kids and the elderly are also being adversely affected. Children don’t have the built-up defenses that adults do and with the elderly I guess that you could say that theirs has worn down as they age.
Just judging by the pictures that I’ve seen and reports of the high levels of toxins in the air, it must be obvious to the average person that it can’t be healthy to live there. Of course, in a society such as China’s there probably isn’t a lot of options regarding leaving. While our government has its issues, we’ve largely dealt with these problems here in America, but I can’t help but wonder if we haven’t simply transferred them to these folks. Our lakes have PCB’s hiding under the muck and many of our rivers took decades to clear out after we polluted them with our industry of the early to mid 20th century. Air quality is much better now even in large urban areas, though it’s still not as good as we would like it to be.
The problem with dealing with the issues causing the pollution is that the world has such a lust for the goods that come so cheaply from China, I’m afraid that we won’t ever deal with the problem. The Chinese government doesn’t seem to care about their own people in this regard and unless that changes I don’t see it getting any better anytime soon. We are all about cleaning up our own back yard, but when we finance polluting an environment far from our own it’s easy to ignore it. It’s really a terrible thing that we continue to enjoy the benefits of polluting another human beings air and don’t give it a second thought.