Globalization attracts multi-national companies to shift their manufacturing plants to from Global North to Global South. As regarded as Factory of the World, China has gained economic growth and facilitated urban development under globalization, but meanwhile it has brought numerous environmental disasters to China. Not only is the air severely polluted, another essential basic resource – water is also seriously contaminated because of the massive industrial waste water generated by foreign-invested industries. This essay aims at examining how globalization influences the water quality in Yangtze River Region of China, with a particular focus on the textile and clothing industries. It will first provide a literature review on the relationship between globalization of textile and clothing industry and the deteriorating water quality in Yangtze River Region, followed by providing a case study on a textile industry with global business in Yangtze River. At the end, it will suggest various solutions on mitigating the water pollution problem brought by globalization of clothing and textile industry in Yangtze River Region.
Literature Review – Relationship between globalization and the deteriorating water quality in Yangtze River Region
全球化促进了国际分工，划分了生产成不同的独立阶段，从研究与开发（R&D），提取原料制造（Kelvin H，2006；Michelle D.，2009）。它使跨国公司（跨国公司）通过保持他们的总部在本国同时转移他们的制造厂对欠发达国家（LDCs）实现规模经济，以廉价的土地和低技能劳动力以及丰富的原材料是。在全球化背景下，中国已经成为“世界工厂”（Kelvin Z.，2006）。再加上开放政策，吸引了许多跨国公司制造链移到那里（Kelvin Z.，2006）。然而，在巨大的经济回报是外资带来的，制造厂也加剧了中国的水污染。据绿色和平组织（2011），70%的湖泊，水库和河流受到不同种类的污染物的污染。
Globalization facilitates the international division of labor, which has divided production into different separate stages, ranging from Research and Development (R&D), raw materials extraction to manufacturing (Kelvin H, 2006; Michelle D., 2009). It enables the transnational companies (TNCs) to achieve economies of scales through keeping their headquarters in their home countries meanwhile shifting their manufacturing plants to Less Developed Countries (LDCs), in which cheap land and low-skilled labor as well as abundant raw materials are available. Under globalization, China has become “Factory of the world” (Kelvin Z., 2006). Added with its Open Door Policy, it has attracted dozens of TNCs to shift their manufacturing chain to there (Kelvin Z., 2006). Yet, while the huge economic returns were brought by foreign investment, the manufacturing plants also intensified the water pollution in China. According to Greenpeace (2011), 70% of its lakes, reservoirs and rivers are polluted with different kinds of pollutants.
A huge number of foreign-invested manufacturing plants shifting to China have led to deteriorating water quality of river basins, with Yangtze River the most significant. According to Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs, Yangtze River Basin was released the largest amount of industrial waste water among the river basins in China, with 77.82Â 108tonnes during 2010. It released three times larger than Yellow River where 22.92Â 108tonnes of the waste was recorded (IPE, 2012).
This paper chooses textile industry as a mean to illustrate how globalization of textile and clothing industry worsens the water quality of Yangtze River because it is a huge user of hazardous and persistent chemicals, and it is reported to be a major source of water pollution (Greenpeace, 2011). During the industrial wet processing of textiles like dyeing, washing, printing and fabric finishing, enormous industrial waste water is generated and discharged to the river, adversely affecting the water quality.
Case study – Clothing and Textile industry in Ningbao – Youngor Textile Complex