China has finally become the biggest world consumer of grain, meat, coal and steel. With a population of over 1.3 billion people, the demands of the
Chinese people are putting pressure on the country's natural resources.
There is already a serious problem with air and water pollution and there is even talk of an ecological crisis in the future of China.
China is now well ahead of the US in the consumption of commodities such as tvs, refrigerators, and cellular phones. However, as per-capita
consumption, China is behind the US.
According to the report:
64m tons of meat were consumed in China in 2004 compared to 38m tons in the US
258m tons of steel were used in China in 2003 compared to 104m in the US
China's factories and homes burned 40% more coal than in the US
The number of PCs in China is doubling every 28 months.
The latest official figures for the Chinese economy, the sixth-largest in the world, show it is growing at an even faster rate than expected.
It expanded by 9.5% in 2004, its highest rate for eight years, the figures show.
"China's eclipse of the United States as a consumer nation should be seen as another milestone along the path of its evolution as a world economic
leader," Lester Brown, the institute's president, said.
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The report also mentions that as the demands of consumption in China are increasing, illegal trade is also increasing in the country, such as illegal
logging, which is stripping Asia of it's last forests.
According to the article, Chinese factories are processing stolen indonesian logs at a rate of a minute of every working day. This is one of the
reasons there is a looming ecological disaster in the country.
One has to wonder, after the demands of the Chinese consumption has stripped the country of it's natural resources, where will they turn to meet the
growing demands of it's population?
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[edit on 17-2-2005 by Muaddib]