Skip to main content
Updated date:

China's Efforts to Reduce Pollution Has Saved the Nation But Is It Enough?

Author:

Formerly an economics and humanities student at UCLA, Oe Kaori is now an intern for the United Nations.

chinas-efforts-to-reduce-pollution-has-saved-the-nation-but-is-it-enough

The Breakdown on the Nation's Pollution Issue

China has embarked on one of the largest and most ambitious industrial projects in its history, but its precarious industrial processes have also made it one of the world's leaders in air and water pollution, if air, water and soil are allowed to be polluted. China leads the world in the number of coal-fired power plants - most of which are burned by its state-owned companies that finance, build, and operate plants in other countries.

This, together with the severity of the problem, means that China's war on pollution has so far had a mixed record. Air pollution in Chinese cities, especially in the north, rose in January and fell for the rest of this year. Most of them have met targets for improving air pollution, but some have not, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

The West has not fared much better, but the historic wildfires of last summer have meant that average air quality in the US and Canada is good by global standards. May was the worst month for air pollution in China since there is no longer any need to burn coal to heat homes and businesses in cold weather. It does not provide good data for May alone and has weakened since late spring, according to the WHO.


Citizens walking through smog in Beijing

Citizens walking through smog in Beijing

The CCP and Their Responsibility

China's leaders are facing the challenge of balancing economic growth with environmental and social well-being, and they have responded by taking action to improve air quality. But, despite China's emergence as one of the world's leaders in environmental issues, its government has fallen far short of expectations in responding to the crisis.

Moreover, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has suppressed civil society and a free press, slowing down changes that would benefit the environment, human rights, public health, and economic growth. It is recognised that China is not only responsible for high pollution levels, but also suffers significantly from them.

However, the large coal-fired industry, which plays a key role in China's economic development, is increasingly contributing to its air pollution problem. Households account for more than half of the country's total greenhouse gas emissions, and they have a disproportionate impact on air pollution, as their emissions are less filtered. This is the fastest of all major nations in terms of emissions per capita, and one reason why China has extensive air pollution.

Partly because of these financial costs, the study estimates that there are 1.1 premature deaths related to air pollution in China each year. India and China have the highest per capita air pollution-related deaths, accounting for more than half of the world's air pollution deaths. The cost of labor productivity lost to air pollution in the United States reaches up to $1,000 per person per year and $2,500 per man, woman, and child.


chinas-efforts-to-reduce-pollution-has-saved-the-nation-but-is-it-enough

The Air Quality is Killing Its Citizens

Rapid industrialization has hit China, and air pollution in China continues to affect downwind countries. Despite significant improvements in major cities, air pollution in China remains unhealthy overall, and high pollution levels lead to health consequences. Air pollution at 7 has increased significantly since the 1990s, resulting in thick smog that often engulfs entire cities 6.7. According to China's environment ministry, vehicle emissions cause 43 percent of all smog illnesses in cities.

PM 2.5 particulate matter pollution has fallen, polluting soil - ozone pollution is rising, and this builds on what Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during his recent visit to China, which he said was "building on China's record air pollution in the world's second-largest economy. PM 2.5) Pollution, which results in uncontrolled and uncontrolled dumping and release into the atmosphere, which corresponds to millions of tonnes per year. In China, too, harmful air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, fine dust and fine dust are on the rise.

Beijing's air pollution is affecting the health of its citizens and threatens to limit the city's future success and expansion, according to China's environment ministry

The WHO air quality guidelines focus on the levels of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) in the air. Air pollution is measured by the Air Quality Index (AQI), which ranks air pollution from 0 to 500 and displays different numbers and levels with a colour to measure how dangerous air quality is on a given day. A reading of 100 or below is called "Blue Sky Days" when smog is not easily visible. The level reaches 755, as measured by the United States Embassy in Beijing, which uses its own pollution measurement system.

Any Calls to Action?

Well, that's the hard part since China is a government run country. It's up to their government to impose higher standards and practices towards pollution problems. If the citizens model after their beloved government then the CCP has an image to maintain for China's pollution problems.

Sources

https://chinapower.csis.org/air-quality/

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/49/24463

https://qz.com/159105/2013-will-be-remembered-as-the-year-that-deadly-suffocating-smog-consumed-china/

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fenvs.2019.00015/full

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5201360/


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Oe Kaori

Related Articles