Already "the physical manifestations of the dash for gross domestic product are obvious over much of the continent. In Mumbai, shanty towns breed resentment among street dwellers starving next to the luxury apartment blocks of the rich. In Hong Kong and Shenzhen, air pollution clogs the lungs of billionaires and their immigrant maids alike. In Kuala Lumpur, cars belch fumes in barely moving traffic jams because no government has yet built a metro system."
Some governments are beginning to take notice of the need to plan for a future beyond economic realm that is equally sustainable. "What is really needed, though, is a new approach to growth. Noeleen Heyzer, head of the UN's economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific, says the impact of trying to maintain the existing growth pattern over the next 15 years would be environmentally and socially devastating. Governments in Asia, she says, "simply do not have the luxury of growing first and cleaning up later."