In the fray

 
Published: Monday 30 September 1996

Black death from the Reds china could soon pip us to become the world's largest air polluter, observes a recent report of the Worldwatch Institute, an international environment research group. It has already outstripped us in the consumption of steel, coal, fertilisers and grain and is gaining ground in the production of carbon dioxide. Statistics reveal that China emitted 726.3 million metric tonnes (mt) of greenhouse gases into the air in 1995 compared to us production of 1.25 billion mt. And if it continues in the same vein, it could surpass us even within a decade, warns Lester Brown, president, Worldwatch Institute and the co-author of the report.

China, however, can still avoid acquiring the unpalatable title. All it has to do is to modify its developmental strategy towards an environmentally befitting one. Brown noted that "China has to give up its plans to become an American-style consumer company with a car in every garage." The oriental country is currently racing towards achieving economic benefits at a pace that does not quite give due merit to environmental implications.

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