e pollution that has been experienced in China far outpaces the pollution that was witnessed by Europe and the United States during the Industrial Revolution.
Since the Merji period, industrialization in Japan has always been accompanied by environmental pollution. In 1878 for instance, the Ashio Copper Mine caused copper poisoning due to drainage (Imura & Schreurs, 2000, p. 115-167). Repeated floods had caused excessive inorganic compounds from the Ashio Copper Mine to flow into and damage 1600 hectares of towns, villages and farmland. A number of environmental disasters happened in the 1950s and 1960s. The extremely painful itai-itai disease was caused by cadmium poisoning from industrial waste. Air pollution from Yokkaichi led to an increase in the number of people who suffered from asthma.
The major environmental challenges in China are water shortage, water pollution, desertification of land, emission of green house gases, increased population growth and increased air pollution from motor vehicles. In 2006 the Chinese government received six hundred thousand complaints concerning the environment. The government recognized the concerns on the degradation of the environment as well as the threat that environmental degradation posed on the central government. There was an increase in the number of protests by the citizens of China.
To improve the environmental standards in China, the government has targeted the potential environmental offenders. The government passed new energy efficiency standards that were to be observed when constructing apartments and office buildings. By the year 2020, owners of older constructions are expected to spend at least 200 million US dollars in improving the efficiency of their buildings. In 2007, four immensely populated cities and four major power firms were banned by the State Environmental Protection Agency from embarking on any new developments until all the existing projects complied with the new environmental