In 2011, USD8.17 billion was spent globally on 205 watershed projects. 91% of this investment was made by China – an attempt to protect and preserve the natural resources that were depleted to pave the way for China’s economic growth over the past 20 years. Water insecurity is considered “the single biggest risk to the country’s continued economic growth”, because there is no substitute for clean water supplies, and healthy watersheds are irreplaceable by technology.
The country’s investment in watersheds marks an effort to recognize the economic value in their other natural resources, such as forests, wetlands and rivers. However, this does not disguise how China’s rapid economic growth has come at the expense of great environmental cost, especially with the dangerously high air pollution levels in Beijing earlier this year. Nevertheless, this move indicates that the nation’s leaders are paying heed to the environmental impact of its economic growth.
Is China’s heavy investment into environmental protection enough to sustain economic growth?
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