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Environmental Issues For The Countries Of Asia Environmental Sciences Essay

Published: 23rd March, 2015 Last Edited: 23rd March, 2015

This essay has been submitted by a student.

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The climate of most of the South East Asian coun­tries resembles that of Indian climate. The equator cuts through the middle of this region. Within 5°-6° N and S of equator, high humidity and temperature are common with little seasonal variations. Away from equators seasonal rainfall produces distinct wet and dry seasons. Summers are rainy. South East Asia is divided into three climatic regions.

Asia and its various countries have considerable environmental issues which are cause for concern if not managed effectively. Most of these issues stem from the introduction of capitalism, which has meant rapid industrialisation at a pace difficult to keep up with.

South East Asia is known for its maritime orienta­tion and location. No country with the exception of Laos is without a shoreline and adequate anchorage for ships.

Environmental issues arising from capitalism are exploitation of land and natural resources, with devastating effects. Rapid population growth has seen an increase in air pollution and has also been a major issue in developing countries.
This is a question I’ve been asking myself a bit recently. But what is emancipation? Emancipation is equality amongst gender; the right of women to be treated the same as men. But in this part of the world is this happening? In many modern, more developed countries, women are more likely to be treated the same and given the same opportunities in education and employment. But in less developed countries, people are still prejudiced towards women, seeing them as if they have a lower value than men.

This paper will look at some of the important environmental issues in Japan, China and Indonesia. It will also look at what governments and transnational organisations have done to address them.

Currently, environmental issues are population, water eutrophication, air pollution, waste management, nature conservation, chemical management and international co-operation for environmental conservation [1] .

Japan currently has one of the world's highest life expectancies at 81.25 and ranked at the 10th most populated country with 127 million in 2006 [2] . It has been anticipated that due to falling birth-rates the population will be lower in the long term, yet the current ageing population will rise from 6% to 15% by 2025 [3] . One issue is how the smaller, younger working generations will support the larger ageing generations [4] and what plans the government has in store to address these issues.

But as much as I hate to admit it, even in my country, Indonesia, women are treated differently to men. Women are more likely to be kept at home and raised to be housewives. Women may be given the same opportunities in education, but still the best jobs are given to men. Old ways and ancient traditions, where men are entitled to work and make a living for their families can perhaps explain this.

From an environmental viewpoint, on one hand the workforce and younger generations contribute to the economy, and so balance out their own greater energy consumption. However it is thought that the older generation will ultimately consume more energy via the residential sector [5] . Another issue is how to keep Japan's modest natural resources for e.g. land, air and water healthy for future generations [6] to enjoy.

Lake Biwa provides a good example of water eutrophication.

But the next decade is filled with a new set of challenges — perhaps we can call them mid-life challenges. Many economies in the region have paid a high price to achieve growth in the short term, neglecting longer term social, environmental, and political issues. Growth is now slowing in many countries, and some problems cannot be resolved by focusing on economic expansion alone.

Post Second World War economic activities led to economic growth of Japan [7] . Due to no knowledge of water quality management, contamination from local industry and agricultural runoff led to rapid and intense pollution and deterioration of many water systems e.g. Lake Biwa's plankton biomass, red and bluegreen algae blooms and eventual high rate of eutrophication [8] .The introduction of wastewater treatment, banning of certain detergents containing polyphosphates and construction of wetlands to support drainage by local government and community efforts led to a halt in degradation [9] .

At the same time as Lake Biwa, Minamata Bay was being poisoned.

ESSAY OUTLINE : THE FUTURE OF ASIA Introduction: What is Asia? The factor of unity among Asian countries. Mention names of the countries. * Integration among different Asian nations that are woven together economically and politically. * Asian countries are committed to advancement in various fields such as trade, science technology and education. * Asian leaders meet periodically to discuss issues of importance and progression. The idea is to seek the co-operation of several countries to aid each other in trying times. * Economic development through a network of business that involves co-operation of Asian countries. * To promote peace and stability among nations. Para 1 : Economic Progression * Commitment of China and Japan in fostering ties with each other to build an East Asia community involving China, Japan and South Korea to develop a co-operative framework involving regional, political, security and social issues. * The South Asian countries will need to adjust their trade and economic policies and build better relations to avoid being crushed by bigger market rulers like China and India. more.

"Minamata Disease" was not 'discovered' until it was realised that approximately 4000 victims [10] had in common the fact they had all eaten fish from the Minamata Bay. After years of testing, along with protests from the Nippon Chisso Company who had a defective production process for acetaldehyde, it was finally determined that massive amounts of mercury had been dumped into the bay by the same company, and had caused much suffering and death [11] .

Industrialisation has caused air pollution to be a major issue in Japan.

Japan is situated north-east to India. Japan consists of a large number of islands in the Pacific ocean. It is one of the wealthiest and most industrialised countries in the world. Tokyo is the capital of Japan. Yen is its currency. Shinano, Ishikar and Tone are the major rivers of the country. Shinto and Buddhism are the chief religions of the land. Japanese is the major and official language of Japan. Tokyo, Yokohama, Osaka, Kobe, Kawasaki, Sapporo, Kyoto, Fukuoka are the major cities of the country. Mount Fuji is the highest peak of Japan.

In the 1950's and 60's it experienced levels of pollution 3-5 times higher than current national ambient air quality standards [12] hence very high rates of asthma and other respiratory illnesses [13]

Japan's population, limited resources and past environmental experiences have meant moving toward more sustainable development.

The average fertility rate of Europe is currently about 1.5. The replacement population level is 2.1. That means that a woman must have an average of 2.1 kids in a country. This replacement level indicates the amount of children needed in order to replace the parents themselves.

The government has recognised the need to address these problems.

The "Millennium Project" is one strategy whereby the government is committed to achieving set "Millennium Development Goals" to help reverse international problems of poverty and sustainable development [14] . Concurrently, ESRI (Economic and Social Research Institute) began a study called "A study on Economic Social Structure in the 21st Century", which manages issues of ageing impact on the environment. Strict regulations; strong monitoring abilities; overhauling of relevant legislative framework; setting new standards and monetary assistance for research on sustainable technologies have been effective in the implementation of environmental policy [15] . Family policy was implemented in the shape of pension reform; the introduction of the LTCI (Long Term Care Insurance) and its reform in 2005 [16] and Health Policy [17] . All are all ways in which the government and transnational organisations have attempted to address the environmental problems.

China is the largest country of the continent. The Plateau of Tibet is the largest and highest in the world and it is known as Roof of the world. Yangtze is the longest river of Asia. There are so many islands off the Pacific ocean and they are generally rocked by earthquakes and volcanic activities. They are the part of the Ring of Fire.


According to Thavasi and Ramakrishna, China represents 20% of the global population with 1.3 billion people. There is no doubt that the urbanisation of the Chinese population and environmental issues are directly connected.

Heavy rain in South West Monsoon period; and October to May being the dry season. The northern tip of Sumatra, Northern Ma­laya, Myanmar, Thailand, Indo-China and Philippines fall in this region. However, Indo-China gets rainfall in winter from the recurring of North West Winds from China.

The link between population growth, the need for economic growth and energy consumption unfortunately overlaps with agriculture, natural resources and industrial activities. This overlap is has a negative impact upon human health and the immediate environment, and according to Bannister is irreparable in the medium term [18] .

Many would agree that air pollution is one of China's major environmental issues and is determined by some to be one of the leading causes of death.

The south East Asian islands are associated with a younger active belt of volcanism. It is a part of Circum Pacific belt of volcanism stretching from Sumatra and Java eastward to Celebes, the Moluccas and north­ward to the Philippines.

It is caused mainly by burning of fossil fuels for electricity production and transport [19] .

The transport sector has grown in conjunction with the population over recent decades. The consumption of petroleum for transport increased on an average 6.7% a year between 1990 and 2002. Although China was a primary producer of petroleum, they began importing in 1996 as consumption outweighed produce.

The rich forest growth is supported by its own food supply system. Tough fire resistant, fibrous grasses are the secondary vegetative growth in these defor­ested areas. Philippines, Thailand and Indo-China comprises of “Imperata grasses” which is a serious menace to subsistence agriculture.

By 2007 China's net oil imports including crude and refined petroleum products had increased rapidly at an astonishing rate of 22 percent annually, reaching 197 million tonnes in 2007 [20] .

About 90% of the fuel used to generate electricity from consists of coal, making thermal power stations a major source of concentrated pollution.

Malaysia is an important country of south-east Asia. Kaula Lump11' is the capital of Malaysia and Malaysian Dollar is the currency. Islam. Christianity, Hinduism and Buddhism are the major religions of theland. Malay, English, Chinese and Tamil are the chief language spoken in this country. Mount Kinabalu is the highest peak of Malaysia, Kaula Lumpur, Ipoh, Johor Baharu and Melaka are the chief cities the country.

This pollution consists of primary particles and S0â‚‚ emissions, of which China is classified as 99 in the world based on its C0â‚‚ emissions per capita [21] .

Larger power plants are more efficient in terms of coal use than smaller plants because they have higher combustion efficiency, so less coal is needed to create the same amount of power.

Bhutan lies in the eastern Himalayas between China and India.

Also, the taller smoke stacks of the larger power plants disperse pollution over a much larger area making them appear less damaging per ton than the smaller plants, whose pollution is spread over a more concentrated area [22] .

Government strategies have been to close down the smaller plants, limit mining of high -sulphur coal and encourage encourage high stacks on power plants.

The People's Republic of China is the most populous country in the world. And it "is the third largest in area. China is situated north to India.

These strategies were not enough to keep emissions below the emission standards. In 2004 the government implemented a decree to raise fees for sulphur emissions. All new plants will install desulphurisation and older plants will install over time [23] . Most recently, the government plan to reduce sulphur emissions is to install (FGD) flue gas desulphurisation so that by2010, emissions will be reduced by 6 000 million tons [24] .

With the exception of cement manufacturing which is spread throughout urban and rural areas, heavy industry such as chemical manufacturing plants and large iron and steel mills were a major part of China's economy in the past.

Most of Asia is economically underdeveloped, but a number of important exceptions exist. Japan has successfully modernized its economy, as have Taiwan, South Korea, and Singapore. The majority of the continent’s population is employed in agriculture characterized by low yields and low labor productivity. Rice is the food-staple crop of the south and east, although wheat and other dry grains are also grown. In Asia’s drier interior regions, the raising of cattle, sheep, and horses is important. Lumbering is an important industry in most Southeast Asian countries. Marine fisheries are extremely important throughout coastal Asia. Japan is the world’s leading fishing country, and China follows closely. Mining also is an important activity in most Asian countries; petroleum is the most important mineral export. Many areas have petroleum resources, but Southwest Asia contains the largest reserves.

By means of government policy of the time, these plants and mills were built close to cities to create employment and increase economy [25] .

Human exposure to these and other air pollutants can cause health issues such as respiratory illnesses, chronic bronchitis, skin and eye irritation, chronic and obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary heart disease, asthma and lung cancer [26]

Water quality has also been affected by industry.

Postwar rivalry between Communist and non-Communist ideologies was part of the global contest between the USSR and the United States. Communism appealed to many Asians eager for independence, participatory government, and social reforms. The victory of the Soviet-supported People’s Republic of China over U.S.-backed Nationalist forces in 1949 was a major Communist triumph. In other locations, such as the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia, Communist forces lost. Other ideological conflicts were fought in Korea, Indochina, and Afghanistan. No Asian country was untouched by the confrontation between Communist and non-Communist ideologies. In recent years, economic and industrial expansion has transformed some Asian areas into world leaders in wealth and industrial output. Despite conflicting ambitions and ideologies, and local problems, wide sectors of Asia in the 1980s and early 1990s enjoyed economic growth, increased democracy, and improved living standards!

Population growth led to expansion of cities and industry. This resulted in a large increase of freshwater aqua cultural fishing, more dumped industrial waste, agricultural runoff, and sewerage which has caused rapid decline of China's water supply and similar to Japan, the worsening eutrophication of lakes [27] . Between 2000 and 2005, an increase from 30% to 45% in wastewater treatment should have seen a slowing down of eutrophication.
China’s experience in this period was quite different. China traded with Europeans but confined them to a few restricted ports to discourage European expansion. In the mid-19th century, armed clashes between China and foreign powers forced China to grant trade and diplomatic concessions. In Japan western trade stopped, with few exceptions, until an 1854 American mission secured a treaty opening relations.

However, due to the mentioned expansion, the amount of wastewater entering the lakes continues to increase accordingly.

The four trophic states of a lake are ogliotrophic being most pure, mesotrophic, eutrophic and hypereutrophic being virtually dead.

After the Mongols were overthrown by the Ming dynasty (1368-1644) in China and by others elsewhere in Asia, rival empires contended for power. The political disintegration closed overland trade just as Europe’s new national states entered an era of exploration and colonialism. The resulting international competition for trade subjected Asia to encroachment by the empire-building Europeans. By the mid-19th century, the major colonial powers in most of Asia were Britain and Russia, with the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, and France holding smaller possessions. By 1850 the British controlled the entire Indian subcontinent, while Russia reached the Pacific in 1632, occupied Turkistan in 1750, and secured claims to the Caucasus in 1828.

To reach the hypereutrophic state could take thousands of years - if at all. However the waste continually enters the lakes at such a rate that it has caused some like Dianche Lake, to change from eutrophic to hypereutrophic in less than 20 years [28] .

Measures implemented by the government to reduce water pollution include building more wastewater plants and sewer collection systems, promoting clean production in factories, control of types and quantities of pesticides used, and more environmentally friendly methods of irrigation.

The earliest known civilizations arose in the great river valleys of Southwest Asia, northwest India, and northern China before 3000 BC. All were agricultural societies that developed advanced social and political structures to maintain irrigation and flood-control systems. Raiding nomadic herders forced the populations to live in walled cities for defense and to entrust their protection to an aristocratic class of leaders. Eventually artisans provided trade items, which brought exchanges between cultures.

Research on economical technologies into prevention of damage from fertilisers is also being conducted by the government in conjunction with local communities [29] .

South-east Asia

The most important pressures on Japan's environment today originate from transport, agriculture, industry and, particularly, the growth of energy demand and private final consumption. Priority environmental issues include urban air pollution (NOx, suspended particulate matter, toxics), waste management, water eutrophication, nature conservation, climate change, chemical management and international co-operation for environmental conservation.

Rugged cordilleras are the dominant physical feature. It spreads from the Himalayas to the north and arches to the south. The trending of north south mountain chains have been heavily weathered and rounded in the tropical rainy climate. The ranges are parallel to each other and are separated by major river basins called Coro lands.

The Ministry of the Environment was established in 2001, 30 years after the Japan Environment Agency (which it replaced), with extended or strengthened environmental responsibilities such as waste management, international environmental co-operation.
In the southern slopes of Himalayas at higher levels, pine, oak, lau­rel, pears, maples and other coniferous, deciduous vegetation is common. The bulk of world’s natural rubber is obtained from plantations in South East Asia and extensive forests of Philippines yields ebony, dyewoods and gums. Environmental performance review of Japan:summary and conclusions

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