Air Pollution, a breath of foul air By David Puckowitz (Brooks A)

The main issue in China is that the air pollution is through the roof. Premature deaths are high, with many different diseases like cerebrovascular disease, ischemic heart disease, and obstructive pulmonary disease running wild. China's factories, vehicles, and coal burning are all main contributors. Air pollution is the opposite of what Taoism stands for, leaving things unchanged, and finding beauty and power in simplicity. Air pollution is changing the simplicity and beauty of nature, humans can no longer enjoy it.

This is a photo of an air pollution mask. These are used to filter out all of the dangerous particles in the air (like PM2.5), and make it into safe air to breathe. These are neccesary when going outside in China, and where there are no air pollution filters. There are many different air pollution masks, and it has become a business to sell them, which shows the consistently bad air quality of China.

China's pollution problem, and it is effecting the quality of the air. In 2015, it was linked to 1.6 millions deaths, that is 4,000 deaths every day. In 2013, there were 1.37 million premature deaths alone, and 50% was cerebrovascular disease, 28% was ischemic heart disease, and 12% was obstructive pulmonary disease. This is no surprise however, because 84% of China's population is living in areas with unacceptably high levels of air pollution, above 35mg of PM2.5. PM2.5 are the finest and most dangerous particles, and they are measured by the concentration of PM2.5 mg per cubic meter, and this measurement is called AQI. Beijing is one of the worst offenders, with the populated city recently calling a five day red alert, where the PM2.5 levels were over 500 AQI. On that day, China's Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a color scale alert of either blue, yellow, orange, and red (red being the worst). 22 cities including Beijing, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, and Zhengzhou were issued a red alert, and 9 other cities were issued an orange alert. The air pollution is from the overuse of vehicles, and also from burning coal in factories, so in the winter when coal fired heating systems are in use, air pollution is at its worst. What makes this even worse, China is burning about as much coal as the rest of the world combined.

This image illustrates the massive amount of coal burned from factories in China.

In this photo, the bride and groom are wearing air pollution masks, because of how bad the air quality is.

The issue is important because if it is not addressed, the number of deaths, especially premature, will rise exponentially. Many cities in China will soon be uninhabitable, because the concentrations of PM2.5 will be too dangerous to breathe, and going there would absolutely require an air pollution mask at all times. The fact that the air pollution in the Chinese cities is so bad, raises questing like: how did it ever get so bad? Wouldn't they have stopped if they realized the air quality is worse? Once they realized, why did they not do anything about the vehicle and coal burning problem? Even so, I have high hopes that it will get better. Before 2013, levels of PM2.5 were not monitored or made public anywhere. Now it's monitored and released in more than 400 cities. Before, in 2006, you could only get about 2,500 records of air pollution violations a year. Today, it's more than 290,000. FInally, the government has finally put forth the 13th year plan, where it plan to reduce air pollution by 2020. Unlike the 11th year plan and 12th year plan, this has numbers and goals that are set in stone. they will decrease air pollution in cities with PM2.5 levels of over 35mg by 18 percent.

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