Chilling Reality of China’s Air Quality

There is no doubt that the pollution problem in China is paramount to anywhere else on the planet.  A new article from the New York Times reveals that 1.2 million people died because of the health problems associated with poor air quality in the country. That’s more than any Americans killed in any war in history.

It’s easy to overlook a statistic as just another somewhat interesting number that really has no meaning in our own lives.  But 1,200,000 lives ended prematurely.  That’s more than 3,000 people a day.  That means 2 people every minute. For what?

High production levels feeding a need to supply the world with poorly-made products has China burning through half of coal used globally.  From an economic standpoint, this is good news for the US since we have a quarter of the world’s reserves.  But if you care about your health, this is obviously a problem.

In my opinion, there are two main issues that need to be solved, and quickly:

  1. Educate the people and create a change in lifestyle
  2. Create regulations on large companies that are responsible for high rates of combustion

    Pollution level comparison of Beijing, China
    Comparison of Beijing, China air pollution levels. Photo credit: Max Fisher, The Washington Pot

There are simple things that people can do that could seriously add up to phenomenal air quality improvements.  Since most coal is burned for electricity, people could start by reducing this consumption.  It’s as easy as turning appliances off when they’re not in use.  Because roughly 65% of gas in the home is used to heat up or cool down the house, try energy saving tricks like shutting doors to unused rooms or keeping a reasonable thermostat.

The other large sector of pollution is undoubtedly from industrial production and large companies.  And this is where I really cannot grasp China’s lack of responsible production.  It is a communist country.  Shouldn’t it be easy for the government to create regulations on industry production and pollution rates?

They’re economy is already booming from the surge of American economic interest (since they are cut a break from pollution rates that otherwise in the U.S. would have cost a huge fee).  Is it the country is being selfish and just trying to indulge in all the profit that they can possibly get their hands on? How can a government, established to protect the people, not care about the health of it’s citizens?  And when, if at all, does the United States intervene?  If it were a blatant mass genocide or even the brutal act of torturing a few people, we would jump in ready to blast the place.

The effect that pollution has on human health is brutal.  It should not be disregarded as just another fact.

One Comment Add yours

  1. I think we know which corporations have moved to China and which ones are contracting the “cheap” products produced there. Yes the government is being greedy there but where is the money coming from. Regardless it is a disaster.

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