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Causes and Consequences of Air Pollution in China

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Environmental Studies
Wordcount: 1356 words Published: 23rd Sep 2019

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Causes and Consequences of Air Pollution in China


This essay provides the facts and analyses causes, consequences and solutions regarding air pollution in China. China is one of the most serious levels of air pollution in the world. Three main causes including motor vehicles use, coal combustion and household cooking and heating will be mentions. Damaging Chinese people’s health and economy are main consequences and feasible solutions are suggested accordingly to obtain sustainable health benefits.

Key words: Air pollution in China, Chinese air quality, adverse health effects, coal burning, environmental degradation.

Air pollution consists of chemicals or particles in the atmosphere that is threatening seriously people’s health and the environment. China is the twelfth most populated nation around the world. Only 8 out of 70 large cities in China can satisfy the proper standards of air quality that were measured by Chinese Environmental Protection Ministry (J. Halpin, 2016). Among 20 cities having the worst air pollution, 16 are belonged to China. People coming to China cannot distinguish between morning fog and coal smoke to form as a layer covering everything in some cities such as Taiyuan, Beijing or Shanxi. It has been unimaginable when a certain percentage of Chinese pollution on the West Coast seriously affected to California’s coast. Therefore, air pollution should be considered as one of the most important priorities that should be improved significantly in the future.

The first cause of air pollution in China is using motorcycles as one of the main transportations. Pollutants from these vehicles’ emission, including hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), sulfur oxides and particular matter (PM10), account for the considerable proportion of the leading reason to result poisonous environment. The second cause is coal-burning practices. Air quality is worsening when China is still applying outdated and inefficient technologies in many factories and industries. An increasing number of coal power building projects that are exceeding the government’s permission. According to the World Health Organization, the Chinese highest level of air pollution that was recorded in 2015 was around 500. This is named “hazardous” and also the maximum of the Air Quality Index (AQI). The third cause is residents’ habits of cooking and heating with solid fuels leading to indoor pollution. Coal, wood and charcoal produce harmful practices when these solid fuels are heated. Despite of the rapid urbanization, around one in three Chinese people are still using solid fuels for household purposes. Chinese people rely on coal for nearly three-quarters of their energy needs, using approximately 2 billion tons of coal yearly (Millman, Tang & Perera, 2008).

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When it comes to consequences, health is the obvious consequence. The risks of suffering from respiratory, cardiovascular diseases and pulmonary cancers are increasing dramatically. According to the Berkeley Earth Project, from January to April in the year of 2014, more than 90 percent of Chinese citizens experienced to around 120 hours of unhealthy air quality that will definitely result in the adverse long-term health effects. More than 300,000 deaths are related to air pollution and about 20 million cases are diagnosed respiratory illness. Burning coal as private cooking and heating contaminates indoor air that negatively effects fetal and child growth. The Global Burden of Disease in 2015 showed that above 1 million people died prematurely because of surrounding unqualified environment. In addition, air pollution has the negative impact on the economy in China. Environment accidents and damages cost the country billions of dollars every year. Travelers also avoid having trips to China because of unqualified outdoor recreation. Carbon emissions and other harmful pollutants have a negative impact on Chinese agriculture. Therefore, air pollution is costing a great amount of China’s economy.

In order to mitigate this problem, the government shows that renewable energy sources such as wind, solar or tidal power will be more available and invested for Chinese people and nearly 4 million households have been converted to natural gas (Yu.K 2018). The government should enact more stringent regulations to penalize heavily for businesses that are against to operate in compliance with the law. In these laws, businesses’ machines and factories must meet the standard of quality for employees. For example, business owners can purchase air filters, automated equipment or upgrade machines with higher technology that increase productivity and ensure the workers’ health. Consequently, these companies will save money from health insurance and avoid sick absence of employees that negatively affect their productivity. China announced the detailed plan to reduce air pollution by 2020 by developing railways and waterways, along with decreasing the number of people using roadways. China is having the right pathway by building more friendly transport systems, raising the awareness of citizens and investing from the government to achieve “bluer sky” country in the future. 

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