2015 Photo Contest, Long-Term Projects, Stories, 3rd prize

Development and Pollution

Photographer

Lu Guang

for Greenpeace International

04 November, 2009

The chemical industrial park of Yanwei Port in the city of Lianyungang dumps sewage in the sea.

China is now the world’s second-largest economy. Its economic development has consumed lots of energy and generated plenty of pollution. A habit of directly discharging unprocessed industrial sewage, exhaust gas and waste material has led to pollution of farmlands, grasslands and drinking water as well as the ocean and the air. Over the past 10 years, factories have been moved from the country’s east to its central and western parts, thus greatly expanding the polluted area and increasing the severity of the the situation.

Although the environmental protection administration has shut down many small enterprises with serious pollution emission, some still continue to discharge contaminants illegally. Some have adopted covert operations, such as releasing the smoke and gas waste at night. The sewage channel is embedded into the river and ocean for discharging pollution. Western factories have large evaporation ponds to store sewage, but the sewage sinks into the ground, thus polluting the water source.

Minerals, such as coal and iron, are expanded to large-scale predatory strip mine exploitation from the original underground mining. Grassland has been turned into desert. Fertile farmland has given way to barren mountains. Herdsmen no longer have grassland. Farmers have lost their farms, their own homelands destroyed, thus causing the villagers to become displaced. Winds carry the exposed coal dust and sand, causing smog. Smog, in turn, forces middle and primary schools to close. Flights get delayed. The highway gets shut down.

The number of hospital patients with respiratory disease goes up. Food and drinking water is polluted, which leads to cancer, so common China has seen the emergence of ‘cancer villages’. China’s environmental pollution has already exerted great threats to the people’s life and security.

About

Lu Guang

Lu Guang was born in 1961, in Zhejiang Province, China. He has been passionate about photography since he held a camera for the first time, in 1980 when he was a factory worker i...

Technical information

Shutter Speed
1/320
Focal length
16.0 mm
F-Stop
9.0
ISO
100
Camera
Canon EOS 5D Mark II

This image is collected in