Air Pollution in China

Topics: Pollution, People's Republic of China, Term Pages: 6 (2084 words) Published: February 2, 2009
Air pollution in China has increased at a phenomenal rate along with its increased economy. It is currently held responsible for over 410,000 Chinese deaths a year [1] Guardian unlimited, Jonathon Watts. Some publications have taken to calling it the ‘air pollution capitol of the world’ due to the abnormal rates of pollution it has. The local population are being put at serious risk from the high levels of pollutants they are inhaling, causing serious illnesses such as lung problems, cancer and in many cases death.

The blame for this pollution lies in the huge steel and chemical factories up and down the country which daily pump tons of pollutants and toxins into the air. Sulphur dioxide, soot and ash are thrown in to the air, so much so that in some cities, the ash and soot literally has to be swept off the street. State run enterprises are not exactly helping the situation either with a newly planned petrochemical plant underway which will cause even more pollution to the already dangerously polluted air. In addition to this the rapid rise of car ownership attributes to the growing problem. Streets are clogged with cars, whose exhaust fumes fill the city air, and are breathed in, by millions of its inhabitants. A secondary consideration of air pollution is water pollution. Acid rain falls from the skies over China, which runs in to rivers, lakes and streams, consequentially polluting the water supply.

‘China is the world's second-largest producer of greenhouse gases, and the World Bank has warned it is home to 16 of the planet's 20 most air-polluted cities.’ [1] Guardian unlimited, Jonathon Watts Pollution is beginning to negatively affect agriculture, and is literally threatening the survival of their crops. Incomplete combustion of fossil fuels produce hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides, which are highly reactive gasses that build up in the lower levels of the atmosphere. Thought needs to be given to air pollution in order for the Chinese population to be able to sustain their food supplies for the future, or they will face the costly process of having to import millions of tons of food products a year, which will make food a more expensive commodity in the market place. With a large proportion of the population already having a poor standard of living these additional costs could not only be financial, but detrimental to their health, where having a good diet could be reserved only for the rich.

‘Data collected at rural Chinese sites indicate that ozone pollution has already reached the point where it's harming agriculture—raising questions about whether the world's fastest developing country will be able to feed itself in the next century’ [2] Science news online: R. Monastersky.

Pollution in China is attributed to its rapid economics growth, producing products to be exported all over the world, but also to the uneducated nature of its population. Many people within China are poor labourers, without much education. They are not educated in the effects of the pollution on themselves and their families, nor the global environment as a whole. Without being educated in such matters they can have no control over the levels of pollution, knowing what they can do to reduce it, and have no say in whether it should be allowed to continue. With such high levels of air and water pollution, the Chinese population often don’t know what it is which is literally killing themselves and their families and therefore have no power to stop it, or protest against the causes of it. With lack of regulation in manufacturing industries, there are no thorough controls in place to prevent the pollution from occurring, and no direct plans to resolve and combat the severe amounts pollution already caused. It is apparent that there are currently minimal or lacking strategies in place to deal with this issue of pollution, merely observed from the fact that the issue of pollution is worsening each year. With such lax regulation of...
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