Planet Raves: The increasing environmental challenges of China and Canada

The exploitation of our ecological system in China is a crisis. My hometown of Chongqing is experiencing disaster. The city has been directly under the jurisdiction of the central government since 1997. With the economy booming for the last 20 years, China is now facing a significant environmental ordeal.

In my early childhood memories, we could see the sun set from the window every day. That was until cranes and skyscrapers covered up our vision. In most of my childhood memories, the cranes were everywhere, there were as many as there were trees. Because of my city’s special geographical condition, we have a lot of mountains and the cranes were like newly planted forests on the mountain. The rumble of exploitation scared the birds away from the city and the diversity of animal species has declined in the last 20 years. Today we barely see any other birds besides sparrows and pigeons.

Chongqing is so dirty that every time we played basketball outside, our hands would turn dark due to the exhaust gas emissions. I never realized that dust is so easy to wash away, until I came to Canada. However, car exhaust provides some obstinate dirt that is necessary to wash with soap and warm water.

It’s an artistic sight to see rusty, red steel bars and the blue sky. However, this kind of scene comes with the acid rain, and iron products are supposed to have longer life than their actual service time. Sculptures made from rock can corrode too.

It’s ironic that my father worked in the city’s environmental department although he couldn’t do much to help the environment.

When I asked him about the environmental problem in China, he simply answered “politics.” The government is in favour of growing the economy. By creating more GDP, politicians can have better careers. That caused many factories to over-produce, with a surplus of products never being used. And the side effect of the economy growth fetish is we have an over-polluted river which has resulted in animals vanishing from the area.

This problem is present not just in China, but also in Canada. Canada isn’t as polluted because it doesn’t have as much industrial production. However, Canadians are wasteful in their daily life, which is expensive.

The plastic bags in Canadian groceries stores are wasted and in fact, the same amount of groceries in China will use less than half the number of bags. Also, the packing of the meat uses too many unrecyclable materials. Every week, my garbage bag is filled halfway with wasted packing materials. People’s lives here are so expensive: traffic, food, electricity and water are wasted. It’s not healthy for our environment.

China and Canada are both world leaders. However, we are doing terrible job of protecting our environment.

So ironic.


Planet Raves is The Aquinian’s newest environmental column. featuring reflections from students in environmental studies classes.

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