Pollution In China Essay

This essay series examines the roles that community-based organizations (CBOs) have played as active participants in the process of "governing" megacities whether in service delivery, risk mitigation, or the creation of livelihood and other opportunities.

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This essay seeks to shed light on how community residents take action to ensure healthy urban habitats through examining a community-based protest against industrial air pollution in the city of Hangzhou.[1]Hangzhou, the capital and largest city in Zhejiang Province in eastern China, lies south of the Yangtze River Delta, and forms the core of the Hangzhou metropolitan` area.[2] By the end of 2011, the Hangzhou Metropolitan Area comprised 21.102 million people over an area of 34,585 square kilometers.[3] It ranked as the fourth-largest metropolitan area in China in 2012.[4] Hangzhou prefecture has a registered population of 8.892 million.

By 2014, the the nine urban districts, two county-level cities and two counties) encompassed 16,596 square kilometers, with an urban area of 4,876 square kilometers.[5]With the continuing rapid expansion of the Hangzhou metropolitan area, Hangzhou development plans have to be redesigned, and local industries in the urban areas need to be relocated or even shut down.

Many local residents have complained to the environmental protection authorities, and have registered their protests.

In 2006 alone, the Hangzhou Environmental Protection Bureau (EPB) received up to 1,250 complaints from local residents about industrial pollution.[7]The “Warm Home” community(亲亲家园 ), which was established in 2005, is located in the northwestern part of Hangzhou and consists of more than 6,000 families.

Within a week of initiating these efforts, they found that the air quality was worse at night than during the daytime.

The head of the self-help organization observed: “The managers of polluting factories were clever enough to discharge more exhaust gas after midnight and before the early morning, so that the local EPB could not detect them during working hours.The core areas of Hangzhou contain many chemical plants, printing and pharmaceutical factories, and paper mills, all built in the late 1980s.In 2006, coal consumption by these polluting enterprises was 80 percent of the entire city, with the pollution discharge accounting for over 70 percent.[6]Residents living around those polluting enterprises experience severe air and water pollution.In July 2008, they formed an online forum (BBS), titled “protesting against air pollution,”[8] to express their views about the poor air quality and release notices for taking collective action.Residents from the self-help organization took turns tracing the sources of pollution, and took photos or videos to serve as evidence for further complaints.“It was easy for the local EPB to shut down a private enterprise without the permit of pollution emissions very quickly, but it was very difficult to punish the state-owned enterprises, even if they didn’t have the permit.The state-owned enterprises are supported by certain government departments that bring many obstacles.The Hangzhou Aidiya Arts & Crafts Company was shut down within a month of the local EPB joining the cause, in August 2008.Hangzhou Blue Peafowl Chemical Fiber Company was assigned for relocation without specifying a date.Some residents experienced chronic when sleeping at night.Many residents chose to move out of the community for better air quality.


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