Air Pollution in China Frank yang History 8c current events

Public health is reeling. Pollution has made cancer China’s leading cause of death, the Ministry of Health says. Chinese cities often seem wrapped in a toxic gray shroud. Only 1 percent of the country’s 560 million city dwellers breathe air considered safe by the European Union. China is choking on its own success(Kahn & Yardley,1).

The economical success and growth of China has risen a new environmental problem. Air pollution is now a major problem facing the billions of inhabitants of this new large developing country. If Lao Tzu is alive today, he would be angered by the scene he sees the state of the air The people today are not following his ideas of connecting with nature but ruining it through artificial ideas such as the economy.

Air pollution is killing about 4,400 people in China every single day, according to a new study. Researchers from Berkeley Earth, a California-based climate research organization, calculated that about 1.6 million people in China die every year from health issues caused by the country’s notoriously polluted air(Mosbergen,1).

Air pollution is now one of the most deadly issues in China. Diseases such as asthma, lung cancer, heart diseases and strokes can be caused by tiny particles in the air called PM2.5. PM2.5 is almost impossible to filter by our noses and can easily enter our lungs. Sulfur dioxide is also a pollutant in the air and can cause respiratory and cardiovascular diseases as well as acid rain. Less than 10 percent of the cities of the 360 cities in China met the national air quality standards in 2015. Less than that met the standards in the other parts of the world. Many innocent Chinese would be harmed by this tiny murderer slowly taking away the lives of many. Air pollution is actually the fifth leading cause of premature death in China. Millions of Chinese are living without the sun in this harmful environment. Billions of people are affected by this problem of this enormous country both physically and emotionally. No one would enjoy this environment.

“The crazy expansion of high-polluting, high-energy industries has spawned special interests. Protected by local governments, some businesses treat the natural resources that belong to all the people as their own private property(Kahn and Yardley,1).” During the 1980s, China started to expand its economy. The local governments got the power to expand their high-polluting industries. These industries were protected by local governments. The business owners and local governments did not care about the environment and took pride only in the economy. This lead to the big environmental problem today. All China cared about during this time period was growth. All they wanted was to catch up to the rest of the world. They took pride in ruining the environment and just did not really care about the future. No one was even familiar with this issue and never thought pollution would be a problem. The air pollution problems grew worth and worth every year while the high polluting industries kept on expanding.

China consumes almost as much coal annually as all other countries combined, and coal burning in the country is the biggest source of both air pollution and greenhouse gas(Wong,1) Coal is the leading cause of air pollution in China as a major cause for a particle called PM2.5 that is in the atmosphere of China. It has claimed the lives of around 366,000 Chinese in 2013. Burning coal releases a lot of tiny but harmful particles to the air. China is the home to many coal power plants providing power to the inhabitants of China while polluting the air. China is one of the biggest consumers of coal in the world and as a result it is also one of the most polluted country in the world.

The reason for the heavy consumption of coal is because China has built way too much commercial and residential space in the last few decades for its growing polulation. 7.5 billion square foot of building space was built every year of the past few years. The Chinese buildings also rarely have thermal insulation and require a lot more energy to heat and cool. Over 95 percents of the newly built buildings do not even meet China's own standard for energy efficiency. These buildings require China to consume a lot of energy and to build more power plants. The newly built power plants are almost all low efficiency, coal-fired power plants. China consumes too much energy, therefore too much pollution is emitted from China's power plants. China's population growth is just too fast. The need for energy in China is growing too much. There is just too much need for energy for the billions of inhabitants of China.

Cars are the other main source of air pollution in China other than the stationary sources such as factories and power plants. China is the home to hundreds of millions of vehicles. The capital city of Beijing alone has over 5 million registered cars. Millions of cars in heavy traffic generate tons of dirty gasses such as carbon monoxide. The quality of the gasoline in China is also not as great as the rest of the world which causes cars to release more harmful pollutants, causing the air pollution to rise.

China's new pollutant discharge policy requires all stationary sources of pollution to obtain discharge licenses by 2020, according to a regulation released by the Ministry of Environmental Protection(Xinhua News Agency,1). China has now realized their big problem, air pollution and has taken action starting with a national plan on environmental improvement for the next five years. They are ready to clean up the polluted air. The government now can monitor and control the amount of pollution discharged into the air from the stationary sources. Fines will be given to people who do not comply. China has already started to make a change to its environment. They now can monitor and control the amount of pollution stationary sources can discharge per day. Stationary sources are the biggest source of air pollution in China.

Major progress has already been made. Before the 13th five year pollution plan, industries that pollute the air were taken pride in and protected by local government through different loopholes. That could not happen anymore as a goal has been already set by the central government. The government is setting a goal of a reduction of 18 percent in areas where pm2.5 exceeds 35 micrograms per cubic meters by 2020. This will force the reluctant local governments the solve this problem by reducing emissions of factories and power plants. A lot have already been done to solve this problem but there is still much room for improvement for China to catch up with the rest of the world.

Almost everyone in China knows the health issues air pollution could cause. They know this problem would take a long time to solve and they need to go along with it before that. During days with a high pollution, people would limit outdoor activities. When leaving the house is required, people would wear pollution masks. People who can afford air purifiers would place them around their house. They are very useful and could make the air indoors a lot better. A lot of less fortunate families cannot afford to clean up the air in their houses and could not do anything to avoid the health risks. An artist visiting China could not stand the heavy air pollution over the city and decided to build a giant air purifier to try to go along with this problem. The tower makes a difference in the air by attracting and capturing the pollution particles PM2.5 and PM10 replacing them with clean air. The surrounding air would be a lot more cleaner. The air purifier can clean 30,000 cubic meters of air each hour. School have already been closed many times during the high pollution days. These are not long term solutions but just short term ones. The air problems still have to be solved from the main sources.

If Lao Tzu is alive today, he would be angered by the pollution he sees in China. China is now in a state that is the exact contrary of what Lao Tzu taught about. It is now the perfect example for what Daoists does not want. Lao Tzu talked about connecting with nature while nowadays in China nature and the manifest dao is being ruined by the things Lao Tzu does not believe in, industries. He thinks that they are just artificial obstacles that blocks your path to the goal of life by connecting with nature and the dao. He would tell the Chinese about Wu-wei. He would tell everyone to do as less as possible and to follow their minds. Everyone would be doing nothing. Everyone will have a mirror-mind that would reflect on what happened already to guide their way through this problem. They would be waiting for the air pollution problem to dissolve. Lao tzu would then tell everyone to let go of the artificial concepts blocking them from nature. The industries will be gone. Air pollution would be gone. Lao Tzu would also try to find an opposing force for the air pollution to balance it out so that their is no more problem anymore. He would connect with nature and the dao to let them guide him through this problem.

Air pollution is a very serious issue that the Chinese government should work harder to solve. Millions of innocents are harmed every year by air pollution and the number will continue to rise as the population in China rises. But why can't China go green? Why can't they just modernize their factories and other sources of pollution so that they are more clean and efficient? Would that cost to much for a developing like China? Air pollution is now a global problem. There are no dividers on Earth that can seperate a country's sky from another's, Air pollution could be blown from somewhere to anywhere else on Earth. It is a serious problem that would harm more and more people if it is not stopped. It is one of the most important issues in China and even the world.


CNN Wire. Global Issues in Context (GALE|A456689707).

The Huffington Post. "Air Pollution Causes 4,400 Deaths In China Every Single Day: Study."

New York Times. "As China Roars, Pollution Reaches Deadly Extremes." August 26,2007. Accessed February 3, 2017.

New York Times. "China Has Made Strides in Addressing Air Pollution, Environmentalist Says." Accessed February 2, 2017.

New York Times. "Coal Burning Causes the Most Air Pollution Deaths in China, Study Finds." Accessed February 2, 2017.

Xinhua News Agency. "China intensifies control on stationary pollution sources." Xinhua News Agency. Global Issues In Context (GALE|A476677965).

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