Industrial pollution and environmental degradation essay

Many of the largest polluters come from the chemical, pesticide, oil refining, petrochemical, metal smelting, iron and steel, and food processing industries. All are major users of energy that produce large amounts of waste products and pollution. Other industries have less potential impact but are still considered highly problematic when it comes to pollution. These industries include the textile, leather tanning, paint, plastics, pharmaceutical, and paper and pulp industries. Industries that are often outside the traditional manufacturing sector—but nevertheless contribute to environmental degradation—include the construction industry, to name but one example.

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The important role of industrialization in the development process of developing countries cannot be overemphasized. There is need for structural transformation from small-scale agriculture to industrialization in order for developing countries to experience inclusive and pro-poor growth. However, industrialization requires massive use of energy resources which could lead to pollution and environmental degradation. China would not have achieved the impressive economic growth and development it has recorded in recent years if she had cared about pollution at the initial stage of development. Other developed economies like the OECD are also focusing on environmental sustainability after achieving considerable growth and improvement in the living standard of their citizens. The Chinese economic model is energy intensive, with strong focus on investment and industrialization, and is being adopted by a number of developing countries.

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At every point and in every level of development, countries need to make choices between often conflicting goals. Developing countries desire to ensure energy for all at a competitive price to achieve and sustain economic growth and poverty reduction. The energy poverty experienced in these regions has been linked with the high level of income and non-income poverty in the regions. In their desire to develop and improve the standards of living of their citizens, these countries will opt for the goals of economic growth and cheap energy for all. This may lead to environmental pollution and degradation. More so, energy access, and at a lower price, is necessary to make the industries in developing countries competitive and contribute to economic growth, job creation and development. Ensuring energy access to the population and enhancing the competitiveness of local industries may require providing energy at lower prices through energy subsidies. This will encourage energy over-consumption, waste and inefficiency and also fuel environmental pollution.

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