2007-06-14 at 12:28:00 pm #17955
Chinese Pollution Is An Increasing Threat
BEIJING, June 2007 Where to start? With the melting glaciers of Mount Everest?
a village in Shanxi province that survives on trucked-in water —
because underground explosions for coal mining have drained the lakes
and wells. The coal keeps electric plants humming, but the mining
generates pollution that has left farm fields toxic.Nothing can grow
here anymore, one resident told CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.
Sinkholes swallowed village graves and the coal dust makes breathing
hard — which is why 400,000 people each year die prematurely from lung
disease.And thanks to bad air, China has 16 of the world’s top 20
polluted cities.Take Beijing, which just proudly announced it now has 3
million cars … so clear days give way to more bad pollution days.And
there’s a new danger: Dust storms from the northern Gobi Desert used to
hit once a decade. Now it’s once a year; visibility can drop to less
than a city block.It’s happening because every day the Gobi Desert
moves a little more south, claiming land left barren by overgrazing or
from water shortages because of too much irrigation.In fact, Petersen
reports, the leading edge of the desert is less than 50 miles from
China’s uses America’s inaction on the environment as an excuse.
say as long as the U.S. doesn’t move forward, how can you expect a poor
country like China to move forward,” said University of Michigan China
scholar Ken Leiberthal.And an ill wind is blowing China’s bad air to
America. Steve Cliff already sees Chinese pollutants on his monitors in
northern California and worries about China’s ever-increasing
dependence on coal.”It stands to reason that if one new coal-fired
power plant is built per week that more pollution will be evidenced
here in the United States,” said Cliff.That also means Americans may
soon be paying a price for China’s polluted rise to prosperity.