MVP Sustainability Map
GDP Per Capita
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China is the second largest country in the world by land mass. It is the largest by population. With the introduction of market oriented reforms in the late 1970s China has experienced tremendous economic expansion the last 40 years that has had major negative environmental consequences both in China and abroad. In the same period the “one child policy” implemented by the government reduced fertility rates from 5 children per mother in the mid 1970’s to below replacement 20 years later. Fertility rates now stand at 1.69 children per mother.
Even with this draconian policy in place (which has recently been lifted) China’s population has been increasing by 7 million to as many as 20 million more citizens every year, although this growth will diminish and popualtion levels may eventually decline. Based on its growing affluence and consumption over the past 4 decades, China currently has four times the number of citizens than is sustainable. The country is grossly overpopulated and is heavily reliant on imports of many goods to maintain its citizen’s lifestyles.
With the demand on the environment from nearly one and a half billion people at home more than 50% of China’s fresh water has been polluted by industrial, agricultural or domestic waste. Not surprisingly, China is facing freshwater shortages. The amount of water available to people in Beijing is 75% below the international standard. China faces serious problems from overfishing in coastal waters. During the past four decades, the quality and diversity of the country’s fisheries has declined significantly, resulting in a loss of economic benefits and livelihoods and a risk of collapse for the fisheries. (1) China has additionally been categorized by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as one of the seven worst countries when it comes to biodiversity loss.