The environmental situation in China is as complicated as the giant country itself. On one hand, the government has been more vocal over the last few years about the need for environmental protection and has invested in large green building and infrastructure projects. China is engaging in negotiations with the U.S. and other nations ahead of the climate change conference in Copenhagen in December.

On the other hand, or I should say, on the other 1,000 hands, China remains one of the most polluted places on the planet. China's largest cities are perpetually choked in smog caused by countless barely regulated factories and dirty power and chemical plants. They lose hundreds of square miles of land to the encroaching Gobi Desert every year and have all but killed the Yellow River through pollution and diversion. Untold numbers of Chinese citizens die or contract serious illnesses and disease because of the dirty air, water and soil.

It's hard to really understand the polluted hell that some places in China have become by just reading words. Next to actually going there, photography and video offer the next best way to know how bad it is.

ChinaHush has a hell of a photo gallery showing the scale of the pollution problem in China. It's heartbreaking. The photos were taken by Chinese photography Lu Guang (卢广), who won the $30,000 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography for his collection titled "Pollution in China."

Swing over and check out the entire gallery.

Also check out China's inclusion in our list of 15 most toxic places to live.

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Shea Gunther is a podcaster, writer, and entrepreneur living in Portland, Maine. He hosts the popular podcast "Marijuana Today Daily" and was a founder of Renewable Choice Energy, the country's leading provider of wind credits and Green Options. He plays a lot of ultimate frisbee and loves bad jokes.

Shocking photography of Chinese pollution
Photographer Lu Guang captured the grim reality of polluted life in an amazing photo collection simply titled "Pollution in China".