China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Environment Diplomacy


03-06-2007 21:28

International Cooperation Needed Against Pollution

The damage from yellow dust blowing in from northeastern China about this time of the year is getting serious. But pollution from China is not confined to the sand. Because of the rapid industrialization of China, toxic materials are becoming mixed with the sand, causing serious damage. Yellow sand from China has been an unwelcome visitor every spring for a long time. The damage from the dust that used to cause mere inconveniences such as having to laundry more often is expanding to all aspects of our socio-economic lives. Its long-term effects on farm products, industrial facilities and cultural properties as well as the overall eco-system, are incalculable. In particular, its damage to hightech industry is known to be serious.

Property damage to high-tech companies producing electronic equipment such as TVs and semiconductors reaches as high as tens or hundreds of billions of won a year. Another shocking analysis has it that the dust from China contains other toxic chemicals that can cause even cancer. Worrisome fact is that the intensity of toxic material in the air or sand from China is getting worse in recent years.

According to a recent report by National Institute of Environmental Research, the density of sulfur oxides in the air of the peninsula is higher by three to 10 times than that of Japan and Pacific island regions. That is because a massive amount of toxic substances from Chinese industrial zones move into the peninsula through rapid atmospheric flow. The substance is also the culprit of the so-called acid rain experienced here recently.

Our efforts to clean the air of the capital region to the level of advanced nations by 2014 would not materialize unless some draconian measure is taken to improve the situation in China. Yellow sand and toxic materials from China destroy our forests and other property. The damage from dust in China is said to be beyond description and Japan is also a serious victim of dust.

Maintaining a cooperative relationship among the three neighboring countries is crucial for seeking ways to minimize the damage. Our government is asked to take a leading role to promote a cooperative relationship among the three nations for the improvement of regional environment in the years ahead. They are in an inseparable relationship when it comes to pollution.

Our government should also deepen its relationship with China, a major source of pollution, through exchanges of information to minimize the damage. There is no way to prevent dust at present. But it can be controlled to a certain degree through the appropriate planting of trees. We need to help in one way or another the Chinese reforestation campaign in the region where desertification is progressing rapidly.

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