Air Pollution in China Rebecca Rosenzweig - History 8 - Garrison

The Tao Te Ching asks that people "See the world as yourself. Have faith in the way things are," but with the rising air pollution levels in China, things are no longer in their natural state. The pm2.5 particles in the air are negatively affecting not only nature, but people as well. The dangerous particles can enter the lungs or even the bloodstream, and cause about a million deaths per year (Tatlow, 1). The country has officially declared a "Red Alert," the highest pollution warning (Discovery Education, 1).

Smog in Beijing -

Unity with manifest Tao, nature, is essential for Taoists, and is the goal of the religion. In this case, nature is being harmed, preventing Taoists from ever reaching this goal. One way government officials in Beijing are making efforts to fix this crisis is by banning all fireworks from the Chinese New Year festival (BBC, 1). They are hoping to "take action by not setting off, or setting off fewer, fireworks and firecrackers, and allow Beijing to have a bluer sky, fresher air and a more beautiful and safer environment." Lao Tzu did not believe in government involvement, nor did he believe in having to work hard to fix these problems, but the efforts of the government may be the only way.

Real - time air emissions in China -

Various efforts are being made in order to put a stop to this crisis. The numbers of cars on the streets are being limited due to the emission of greenhouse gasses, over 700 factories in which coal is being used, and many schools across the nation are being shut down. It is being debated whether or not to put air purifiers in schools so that children can continue to be educated, a very important confucian belief (Tatlow, 1). Any major factories that are causing pollution face the risk of being fined (BBC, 1). These efforts reflect Lao Tzu's belief in keeping the world at its natural state, and once the smog is cleared up, Taoists can once again unite with nature.

  1. What percent of China's nature has been affected or damage by the pollution?
  2. When did pollution start to become a problem?


"Beijing Makes 'No Fireworks' Plea amid Smog Concerns." Last modified January 27, 2017. Accessed February 2, 2017.

"China: Red Alert for Pollution." Video file, 00:24. December 21, 2016.

Tatlow, Didi Kirsten. "China Has Made Strides in Addressing Air Pollution, Environmentalist Says." The New York Times (New York, NY), December 16, 2016. Accessed February 2, 2017.

Pope, Chas. "Time Lapse." Video file, 00:50. ABC News. January 2, 2017. Accessed February 7, 2017.

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