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An outline of study on China's population / environment issues

, : An outline of study on China's population / environment issues. China Population Newsletter 7(5): 2-4

Attention is given to population and growth and the impact on the environment and resources in China. Policies for managing the environment and instituting population education are also addressed. The first position paper of the National Environmental Protection Agency (NEPAC) on June 2, 1990 is summarized. The population of China was 1.11 billion in 1989. The rate of growth in 1988 was 14.2/1000 in 1988. 91% live in the southeast on 43% of the land. Land area is 9.6 million square miles. 65% can be made arable, and 14% is cultivated. China has 7% of the world's arable land and 20% of the world's population. Population growth has reduced arable land/captia. The impact on forests has been deforestation. 13% of land is currently forested, and timber reserves encompass 9.14 billion cubic meters, or 9 cubic meters/person. The demand for firewood and timber will increase. The impact on grasslands has been overgrazing and desertification at a current rate of 1560 square kilometer/year. The impact on energy resources is a greater demand for coal which will increase and thus increase pollution of the environment. The impact on water resources is greater demand and increased pollution. Water resources are 2700 cubic meters/person or less than the world average. 26.8 billion tons of waste water were industrially discharged out of 36.8 billion tons. 436 of the 532 rivers are polluted. The impact on the environment is a decreased standard of living. NEPAC reported that air pollution was slightly reduced in 4% of the cities in 1988, increased in 4%, and stable in the remaining cities. Water quality improved through the lowering of industrial waste water discharges, but 72% of river segments are still above the standards. Each major river system is discussed. Noise increased, and industrial solid wastes increased. Forest reserve is 9.141 billion cubic meters; the man-made forest has increased. The loss of grasslands is .13 million hectares/year. Cultivated land is 95.72 million hectares, but 100,000 hectares/year are damaged by natural disasters and 6 million are polluted by industrial wastes. 606 nature preserves have been established. In 1989, a complete legal system of environmental protection was established and investment increased.


PMID: 12286553

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