In the early years of the 1990s, Asian development boomed, with major consequences for the environment. Now, the Asian Crisis has slowed down economic growth, though major environmental concerns persist.
Some major effects of industrial growth are the depletion
of natural resources, destruction of natural habitats, pollution of the air and water, and health problems.
The heavy usage of fossil fuels, especially coal, by the industrializing economies of the region has meant high levels of air pollution. Also, industries including iron, steel, fertilizer, and cement typically
produce great amounts of pollution, and have expanded in recent years.
Water pollution is also growing because of increasing economic development. For example, the industrial sector accounted for 64% of all wastewater generated in China in 1992.
Large amounts of hazardous waste have been generated by industrial processes. In the 1990s however, as the harmful effects of waste became better known, waste production began to be reduced.
In addition to industry, the transportation sector has also been a major source of environmental degradation. In dense areas, automobile pollution has been extremely severe. For example, transportation accounted for 75% of all air pollution in Beijing in 1994.
Another important sector is agriculture, which has grown to feed a growing population. Farming has caused soil erosion, land salinization, loss of nutrients, and excessive
usage of water resources.
The tourism sector has caused the destruction of many natural ecosystems, such as coral reefs and forests, and has created other problems such as soil erosion and water pollution.