China's central government is increasing its efforts to address the damage that decades of rapid industrialization inflicted on the country's air, water and soil quality.
(LINTAO ZHANG/Getty Images)
China's economic growth over the last four decades has been staggering. And the environmental damage it has caused is no less impressive. China is currently dealing with widespread pollution problems, from thick smog in the northeast to contaminated water and soil throughout the country. But now a combination of domestic pressures and geopolitical strategy has put environmental issues at the top of the Chinese government's priorities. In the last three years, and particularly since the release of the 13th Five-Year Plan in 2016, Beijing has started rolling out stricter environmental policies. The transition is hardly surprising, following decades of rapid industrialization and coinciding with the emergence of a new middle class and a shift in the Chinese economy. It will, however, be challenging. The country's vast territory and regional diversity make enforcing national laws at the local level an uphill battle. Even so, the strategic gains that stricter environmental policies...
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