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20 Shocking Images That Expose China’s Deadly Pollution Problem

You might be of the impression that China is a country filled with idyllic natural landscapes, a flourishing ecosystem, a focus on conservation and sustainable farming practices. The reality is nothing could be further from the truth.

Whilst every major capital city is prone to pollution, smog and poor air quality, Beijing already ranks as one of the worst. The situation isn’t much better in rural China either, with polluted lakes, rivers filled with garbage, poisoned wildlife and the unrelenting drive for more dirty factories polluting the air.

They do say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what better way to put the utter plight of China into perspective with these 20 shocking and deeply troubling images.

1. Factory emissions against a backdrop of lush greenery

Factory emissions against a backdrop of lush greenery

2. Child playing in the trash at a village, Jiaxing

 Child playing in the trash at a village, Jiaxing



3. Heavily polluted river in Jiaxing, Zhejiang

Heavily polluted river in Jiaxing, Zhejiang

4. Fishermen picking fish in a polluted canal, Beijing

 Fishermen picking fish in a polluted canal, Beijing

5. Residents stare at a heavily polluted river in Zhugao, Sichuan province

Residents stare at a heavily polluted river in Zhugao, Sichuan province

6. Over 3,000 dead pigs float in Huangpu River

Over 3,000 dead pigs float in Huangpu River

7. Workers clean up leaked oil after an oil pipeline explosion, Qingdao, Shandong

 Workers clean up leaked oil after an oil pipeline explosion, Qingdao, Shandong

8. Dead fish in water filled with thick, muddy algae, in East Lake, Wuhan

Dead fish in water filled with thick, muddy algae, in East Lake, Wuhan

9. Woman collects plastic bottles near river polluted by reddish dye

 Woman collects plastic bottles near river polluted by reddish dye

10. Great Wall Of China, with not-so-great hidden secrets

Great Wall Of China, with not-so-great hidden secrets

11. Fisherman cups a handful of water from the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei

Fisherman cups a handful of water from the algae-filled Chaohu Lake in Hefei

12. Labourer tries to clean up oil from water, Dalian, Liaoning

 Labourer tries to clean up oil from water, Dalian, Liaoning

13. Journalist takes a sample of red polluted water from the Jianhe River

 Journalist takes a sample of red polluted water from the Jianhe River

14. Boy swims in water choked with algal bloom, Qingdao, Shandong

Boy swims in water choked with algal bloom, Qingdao, Shandong

15. Girl walks through smog in Beijing, where small-particle pollution is 40 times over international safety standard

 Girl walks through smog in Beijing, where small-particle pollution is 40 times over international safety standard

16. Child drinks water from stream swimming with waste in Fuyuan County, Yunnan province

Child drinks water from stream swimming with waste in Fuyuan County, Yunnan province

17. Worker clears dead fish floating in a lake in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province

 Worker clears dead fish floating in a lake in Wuhan, Central China’s Hubei Province

18. Workers try to drain sewage water from leaking sewage tank, Shanghang, Fujian

Workers try to drain sewage water from leaking sewage tank, Shanghang, Fujian

19. Child swims with the garbage in a polluted reservoir, Pingba

Child swims with the garbage in a polluted reservoir, Pingba

20. Pollution from a factory in Yutian, 100km east of Beijing

Pollution from a factory in Yutian, 100km east of Beijing