Air Pollution in China BY Maurice campbell

What is Air Pollution? Why did I choose Air Pollution as my topic?

Citation: (Here is a picture of the air pollution in china. The fog that you are seeing in this photo is smog.)

Air pollution occurs when gases, dust particles, fumes or smoke are introduced into the atmosphere, in a way that makes it harmful to humans, animals, and plants. The air becomes very dirty and unclean because it is filled with pollutants. Examples of pollutants are carbon monoxide from car mufflers and sulfur dioxide from burning coal. I chose air pollution as my topic because, when I was in sixth grade my sister visited China. Each day, she would text us about the bad air quality. When she came home, most of her clothing, especially her jacket(s) and shoes were filthy. They were filled with a visible layer of dust particles. I didn't know much about air pollution in China, so I choose this topic to learn why my sister came home, with most of her clothing dirtied with dust particles.

What is the main issue causing air pollution in China?


The air pollution in China is terrible, especially in the northern cities, such as Beijing, Jinan, and Zhengzhou. Coal burning is the main reason of air pollution in China. Coal is a flammable black or brownish-black sedimentary rock made up of carbon and hydrocarbons. Coal is burned to produce energy. When coal burns, the atoms in the fuels combine with oxygen from the air to make new molecules. As we learn in Science, coal is made mainly of carbon. This burns to produce carbon dioxide. Diesel fuel and fuel oil that cars and machines use contain hydrocarbons. Their molecules are made of carbon and hydrogen atoms. When these fuels burn, the carbon and hydrogen atoms combine with oxygen atoms to produce carbon dioxide and water vapour. Carbon dioxide is an air pollutant. The Chinese economy is growing and it needs energy to keep it going. Many new coal-fired power plant were built. Coal provides over 60% of China’s electricity. There are lots of vehicles that are driven which produce pollutants. The breathing of these pollutants affects many people living in China, in many different ways.

How do the people in China get affected by the air pollution?

Citation: (Here is a picture of the statistics of how the people living in China are affected by the air pollution)

The air pollution in China is really bad. It affects many people living in China. A visitor to China can get dry eyes, nasal congestions and tiredness and sometimes headaches from the poor air quality. The air pollution can cause the people living in China to get human respiratory diseases. The inhaling of smoke and solid-fuel burning puts people at risk of catching lung cancer and other respiratory conditions. Studies have shown that smoking and solid-fuel used together contributed to 75% of lung cancer deaths in China. Household pollutants, such as coal and wood smoke put you at risk of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (“COPD”). Coal combustion for heating (open fires) and cooking puts children at higher risk of asthma, in China. The chart above shows the percentage of deaths because of the bad air pollution in China. The air pollution in China is so bad that a few times, the government has declared war on it. The City of Beijing issues red alerts, where they close schools, factories and construction sites and order half of all private cars off the road. This was only temporary. The red alerts are seen as signs of progress in the Chinese government’s understanding of how they should react and respond to when air pollution gets very bad. Coal burning is the biggest single source of air pollution in China, and burning of coal. Studies have shown that coal burning has been declining since 2013 in China. Although, China has bad air pollution, it is getting better, but slowly.

Legacy of Maoism

Maoism is the adaptation of Communist teachings by Mao Zedong. He was the leader of the Chinese Revolution in 1949. Mao tried to rapidly convert the Chinese economy to a socialist society through industrialization and collectivization, in a period in China known as, "The Great Leap Forward”. Mao wanted to make China into a society that competed with other modern countries where machines were used to manufacture goods within a short, five-year time period. China invested a lot of money into industrial production by using the money that before that went into agriculture. The government insisted for every citizen to stop growing crops and instead build small furnaces for melting steel. Coal was used to operate these small furnaces. Coal was used to power steam engines, heat buildings and generate electricity. As what I mentioned before, after you burn coal, it adds to the air pollution. I believe this industrial plan lead to how air pollution has affected China today.

Why is it important to know/learn about air pollution?

It is important to know about air pollution because we should not let it affect the economy and our lives. As I stated before, air pollution causes many health issues. We should try and resolve some of the issue (air pollution) now, by using alternative source(s) of energy besides coal and by making more energy efficient factories and automobiles. Air pollution has a lingering affect on the economy because it makes people sick. It also leads to many deaths. By knowing all the causes of air pollution, it could help us come up with solutions to fix it.


Albert, Eleanor. "China's Environmental Crisis." Last modified February 2014. Accessed February 3, 2017.

Guan, Wei-Jie, and Xue-Yan Zheng. "Impact of Air Pollution on the Burden of Chronic Respiratory Diseases in China: Time for Urgent Action." ProQuest 5000. Last modified October 15, 2016.

Tan, Huileng. "Northern China Suffocates under Blanket of Hazardous Air Pollution." Last modified December 20, 2016. Accessed February 3, 2017.


Created with images by bfishadow - "Smog in Beijing"

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