How bad is China’s Pollution, and why are they doing nothing about it?
The pollution in China has created water shortages, deaths and intoxicating smog that the government of China has been very keen on keeping out of the media.
The pictures of China’s pollution seem almost apocalyptic and would make front page news almost anywhere else in the world.
Pictures of the Ozone smog around Beijing show clouds of the gas. Like oxygen, Ozone is heavier than air and thus does not raise into the troposphere where the ozone layer is.
Though the damages from this pollution were held back from publication due to the “civil unrest” they thought it would cause, in 2015 China’s environmental —- stated that 250’000 people die prematurely each year as a result of this. The smog exasperates any breathing ailments that are already present and can bring on asthmatic fits to the normally healthy. Water pollution in China has been known to instantly kill tens of thousands of fish, but an almost ominous beauty comes from this devastating picture, of the river Yangtze dyed red.
This water pollution is building on the scarcity and loss of natural water reserves within China, and official calculations suggest that if China carries on at the same rate it is currently, that it will run out of drinkable water by the year 2030.
The Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection even states that only 1/10 of China’s cities pass the government pollution standards.
Most people would probably expect a government to do something about this, but China seems to be very reticent in doing anything which doesn’t have a clear profit. The best way to understand why China has not reduced its pollution is by looking at the theory of “groupthink”.
Irving Janis’s 1982 theory of groupthink highlights that a root cause of why people would not try to fight pollution is a fear of going against the group.
The idea is that when the body of influence believes that standing up against what the system seems to think is right is both not wanted and would result in forms of ostracization.
There are many factors that can further influence this poor decision-making; for example, if the system is either large or has lasted for an extended period of time it can give an illusion of invulnerability.
These influences then cause rationalization of events, stating that in the case of China, China state-run television released 5 points why the pollution is actually beneficial:
- It unifies the Chinese people.
- . It makes China more equal.
- It raises citizen awareness of the cost of China’s economic development.
- It makes people funnier.
- It makes people more knowledgeable (of things like meteorology and the English word haze).
As reported in TIMES
When this rationalization becomes large enough and builds into the media, another effect comes into play. That is the creation of “mind guards”. When people bias themselves to supporting this system, then progressively they both seek out confirmation of their views and to denounce the views against them. When placed in charge of these media outlets they will either ignore evidence against the system or refute it, and whilst doing this they give evidence in support of the system, though if this support is proven to be inaccurate the chances of it being corrected are slim. Though this false evidence could be removed, due to it not being refuted, the audience to the biased news outlets becomes bigoted and is further informationally biased.
This, however, is just a small glimpse into China’s pollution, and the problems of “groupthink” stretches into much more than just pollution. The fear of going against the system in this type of social phenomenon will hold people back from standing against corruption, irrational laws or as is shown here, world destroying pollution. Below is a video by China uncensored giving 20 reasons that pollution levels have reached apocalyptic levels.