Portfolio: Lu Guang

From “Pollution in China”  project - Photo by Lu Guang

From the project “Pollution in China” – Photo by Lu Guang

Winner Of W. Eugene Smith Award 2009

Pollution in China

China’s environment minister has issued an unusually stern warning that pollution threatens to imperil growth, positioning it as a central theme of the next five-year plan to be launched at the annual National People’s Congress this weekend.

“Natural resources are shrinking, degenerating and drying up. Ecological and environmental decay has become a bottleneck and a serious obstacle to our economic and social development,” said Zhou Shengxian. “If our homeland is destroyed and we lose our health, then what good does development do?”

His comments echoed those of Wen Jiabao in a web chat on Sunday, in which China’s premier emphasised the need for slower, cleaner growth and announced a new, lower, gross domestic product growth target of 7 per cent.

“Environmental concerns will play a major role in massaging the way the economy is going to grow in the 12th five-year plan,” said Zhang Jianyu, head of China’s environmental defence fund.

“The next five-year plan will be challenging because China is going to move from this export and investment-oriented approach into a more stable, balanced, sustainable approach.”

Lu Guang

Born in 1961 in Zhejiang Province, China, Lu Guang has been enamored with photography from the moment he held the camera for the first time in 1980 when he was a factory worker in his hometown of Yongkang County. From 1993 to 1995, he studied at the Fine Arts Academy of Tsinghua University in Beijing. A freelancer since 1993, his focus has been stories on major social and environmental issues in his own country. His photographic projects include essays on gold diggers, small coal mines, the SARS epidemic, drug addiction, AIDS villages in Henan Province, the Qinghai-Tibet railway.

Lu Guang has been documenting the ecological disasters in China resulting from the rapid growth of the economy since 2005, focusing on environmental pollution and the problem of schistosomiasis (bilharzia). Over the last three decades, peoples’ living standards have constantly been on the rise in the country. At the same time, industrial pollution has brought serious consequences for public health and for the environment at large.

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