The thorny problem of offshoring pollution

A shift to sustainable development could help stop rich countries from offshoring pollution to poorer ones.

Every July, Singapore prepares to see the green disappear under its green cloak. smoke. of mist There are wildfires from Indonesia and Malaysia every dry season. but, Recent research Heavy metals such as chromium from heavy industry.

Its contamination lasts all year round and poses a chronic risk to human health. That is why experts say “pollution heaven: The development of Southeast Asian economies such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand, which are rapidly industrializing. They house industries that Singapore and other rich countries can afford to outsource.

Singapore has increased the amount of cross-border industrial pollution over the past two decades. Chromium deposits dried up in the island nation’s oldest reservoirs, doubling.

Chromium, an industrial pollutant, is primarily emitted from steel and cement production and fossil fuel combustion. As of 2017, 70 percent One-third of Singapore’s non-biomass (non-vegetation burning) pollution comes from sources in neighboring countries.

But it would be unfair to say that these countries should simply clean up their act. Large amounts of foreign direct investment in developing countries in Southeast Asia support industries such as coal-fired power plants and steel and cement manufacturing, all of which are pillar industries with low investment risks and high returns. The more investment they attract, the more they grow and produce more pollution.

Singapore has been able to keep local pollution low since the 1990s. studySimply put, Singapore can afford to import pollution-intensive products such as cement and steel instead of producing them domestically.

The pollution caused by the manufacture of these products is offshored to neighboring countries where there is an urgent economic need for industrial development. This offshore pollution is not unique to Singapore. very common Between Economically advanced and less advanced regions of the world.

Pollution from the textile industry began flowing offshore in the 1990s. global industrial relocation After World War II, it moved from the United Kingdom and the United States to Japan, and in the 1970s to the Asian “Four Tigers,” including Singapore.

The industry and its pollution then moved to China in the 1990s and, from the 2000s onwards, to developing countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Africa.

It will be difficult for developing countries to turn their backs on these proposals. They need foreign investment and the profitable industries it supports. As such, it is primarily the investor’s responsibility to choose the investment path. Green development through responsible financing.

China is one of the largest foreign investors in Southeast Asia. 2021, China announced That Belt and Road Initiative Stopped funding new coal-fired power plant projects abroad.following this $15 billion Investing in Indonesia could help mitigate pollution from dirty coal not only in the region, but in other developing countries around the world.

Singapore is the largest intra-ASEAN investor in the region.In the same year, Singapore’s largest bank announced it would stop financing coal-related projects. by 2039These contrasting responses highlight different levels of awareness about responsible financing.

To solve the problem of transboundary air pollution, developed countries should provide green technologies to countries exporting pollutant-laden commodities, promote sustainable and responsible financing, and contribute to polluting industries. investment can be reduced.

For developing countries to actively improve the local environmental quality by choosing the path of sustainable development, improving emission standards, promoting green manufacturing and raising people’s environmental awareness. requires the determination of

All countries deserve an equal opportunity for development, but it is also universal human rights breathe clean air. Conflicts can be resolved if all parties put their differences aside and rally their efforts to build a sustainable future.

Chen Qingqing (ORCID) is currently a postdoctoral fellow at Tsinghua University, Beijing. Her research primarily focuses on transboundary pollution and sustainable development in developing countries. This research was funded by the Academic Research Fund Tier 1 (FY2017-FRC1-005) of the Ministry of Education, Singapore.

Originally published in creative commons To 360 information.

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