THE EDITOR, Sir:
Since our business ventures with the Chinese will have considerable impact on the environment, the sensible thing for us to do is examine their environmental record.
Nicole Davidson, writing for the Guardian newspaper on March 29, headlined her piece 'Rivers of Blood: the dead pigs rotting in China's water supply' - a likely reference to the estimated 16,000 pig carcasses found in Shanghai's Whampoa River.
My Mandarin is worse than poor, but I managed to decipher a comment by a concerned resident; "... There are more dead pigs in the river than live fish." Water pollution and water scarcity are two of the many concerns facing the Chinese.
A new study links heavy air pollution from coal burning to a shorter lifespan in northern China. Researchers claim half a billion people alive there in the 1990s will live an average 5 1/2 years less than their counterparts in the south because of air pollution.
According to the World Bank, only one per cent of China's 560 million urban dwellers breathe air considered safe by European Union standards. Air pollution caused 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, according to the Global Burden of Disease Study. Of the 20 most polluted cities in the world, 16 are in China. China is choking!
China is a top contributor to some of the world's most vexing environmental problems. There is the illegal timber trade, then it is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, and, yes, Mr Pickersgill, it has a poor record with marine pollution!
On April 8 this year, Thomas N. Thompson, writing about China for the Foreign Affairs publication, headlined his article, 'The superpower that is poisoning the world'. Much of the land is rapidly turning into desert.
China's leaders have finally acknowledged the problem, but justify it, claiming that, as a developing country, it cannot sacrifice economic growth for the environment. But Pan Yue, vice-minister of China's State Environmental Protection Administration, warned eight years ago, "... The economic miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace".
Well, Jamaica is a developing country, too. Is China likely to have a more charitable attitude towards our environment? If we do not zealously protect what we have, this could be a Great Leap Backward for us.
Stony Hill, Kingston 9