China admits it is the world’s no.2 polluter. The US is no.1 enemy polluter. It did the rankings itself, concentrating particularly on carbon emissions and water pollution. The last year of rankings was 2004 and the Chinese leadership says it has got nowhere since then with trying to clean up its act.
Seventeen years ago I was in Beijing myself for a week, then Shanghai for another week. In Beijing I hired a bicycle and took to the streets to join 1000s upon 1000s of locals going about their business. It was an amazing experience, sadly lost forever to ‘progress’ and the motor car. In Shanghai it was already a city of 13millions and it felt extremely crowded. There was however no skyscrapers or neon. Today it’s a city of well over 20millions, positively bathed in neon, with a hugh programme to move the locals into tower blocks.
But hey, it makes our pollution figures in the West look good. Trouble is the effects are also global.