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Anyone for Chinese Pork Soup?

March 20, 2013

China Dead PigsThis is another fine mess China got herself into.  On March 16, 2013, Huffington Post reported in “Dead Pig Count In China’s Waters Near Shanghai Spikes”[1]:

“The number of dead pigs retrieved from waters in and near China’s financial hub of Shanghai has reached 12,566.”

“Authorities in Shanghai plucked 611 dead pig carcasses Saturday from Huangpu river, which provides drinking water to the city’s 23 million residents. In total, 8,965 dead pigs have been found in the river since March 8.”

“Jiaxing — where small hog farms are prevalent — had recovered 3,601 dead pigs from its streams, according to state media.”

“….. there has been no major swine epidemic, but (authorities) said some (water) samples tested positive for the common porcine circovirus and the epidemic diarrhea virus.”

To find out what the Chinese people are thinking, the link to this article was sent to a friend in China. The reply added a new flavor to the situation.

”I’ve read all the news about the dead pigs. It’s so shocking. Till now, the total member of dead pigs is nearly 10,000. When pigs die of diseases, their keepers often dump the carcasses into the river. That’s a big environment problem nowadays. Insufficient laws, insufficient administration and loss of honesty are the main reasons, I guess. Some netizen said: Life is happy in Shanghai. We simply turn on the faucet and oops, here comes fresh pork soup. Though the authorities have assured that tap water is safe, locals still worried about water contamination. It’s difficult to trust authorities nowadays.”

This report comes days after reports of sudden dust storms engulfing entire cities in China, see “Is there a Breath of Fresh Air in China Today?”[2]. Add this to the “the scariest environmental fact in the world, that China is now burning almost as much coal as the rest of the world — combined, see following chart. And despite impressive support from Beijing for renewable energy and a dawning understanding about the dangers of air pollution, coal use in China is poised to continue rising, if slower than it has in recent years. That’s deadly for the Chinese people — see the truly horrific air pollution in Beijing this past month — and it’s dangerous for the rest of the world. Coal already accounts for 20% of global greenhouse-gas emissions, making it one of the biggest causes of man-made climate change. Combine that with the direct damage that air pollution from coal combustion does to human health, and there’s a reason why some have called coal the enemy of the human race.”[3]

China and World Coal Demand

Source: U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA):

This is not to say China is totally in the dark when it comes to environmental stewardship. China’s investment in clean energy grew from $US 660 million in 2002 to $US 65.1 billion last year.[4] Yet, China’s policy to saturate the market with low cost and sometimes low quality solar modules is starting to backfire at home. It was announced today that Chinese solar producer Suntech, one of the world’s biggest solar panel manufacturers, was forced in bankruptcy court, becoming the latest casualty of a painful slump in the global solar industry.[5]

In closing, China can no longer hide behind a vale of a developing country and assume responsibility for its impact on its people and our planet. Time is fading and the fix gets tougher. The question is whether China has the interest and the resolve to change its status from – Smog, Slob and Snob.

References:
[1] Dead Pig Count In China’s Waters Near Shanghai Spikes, Huffington Post. March 20, 2013: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/16/dead-pigs-china-shanghai_n_2890112.html
[2] Is there a Breath of Fresh Air in China Today? BarryOnEnergy, March 9, 2013 https://barryonenergy.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/is-there-a-breath-of-fresh-air-in-china-today
[3] The Scariest Environmental Fact in the World, Time Science & Space, Bryan Walsh, Jan. 29, 2013: http://science.time.com/2013/01/29/the-scariest-environmental-fact-in-the-world
[4] Renewable energy a focus for China’s new leaders, The Age – Business Day, March 20, 2013: http://www.theage.com.au/business/carbon-economy/renewable-energy-a-focus-for-chinas-new-leaders-20130320-2geor.html#ixzz2O4tvYlqN
[5] Chinese solar producer Suntech declares bankruptcy, San Francisco Chronicle, Joe McDonald, AP Business Writer, March 20, 2013: http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Chinese-solar-producer-Suntech-declares-bankruptcy-4369696.php#ixzz2O7PjqVru

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