China’s Bureaucracy Hinders Environmental Recovery

  • Author(s): Guan, Lixin; Sun, Ge; Cao, Shixiong;
  • Date: 2010
  • Source: AMBIO (2011) 40:96–99


Ecosystem restoration efforts have become a booming business in China. Billions of dollars are being spent annually to restore polluted waterways and ecosystems that have been degraded, fragmented, or paved over (Fu et al. 2007; Wang et al. 2007). However, China’s environmental sustainability index remains among the lowest in the world (World Bank 2009; Liu 2010). For all the money spent, there is little evidence of the overall effectiveness of China’s efforts to enhance environmental sustainability. For example, soil erosion by water has expanded to cover more than an additional 1,000 km2 of land annually over the past 30 years (Wan et al. 2005). More than 60% of China’s large lakes are eutrophic, and the water quality has declined in[50% of its rivers (Fu et al. 2007). Recent water assessments suggest that pollution has been increasing in northern China, and a water crisis is, therefore, emerging. Water resource problems alone cost 2.3% of China’s GDP in 2008 (World Bank 2009).

  • Citation: Guan, Lixin; Sun, Ge; Cao, Shixiong 2010. China’s Bureaucracy Hinders Environmental Recovery. AMBIO (2011) 40:96–99.

Requesting Publications

You can order print copies of our publications through our publication ordering system. Make a note of the publication you wish to request, and visit our Publication Order Site.

Publication Notes

  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
  • Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unuseable.
  • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.