Pollution in China Endangering the Wellbeing of Children

This+photo+is+courtesy+of+the+New+York+Times.
This photo is courtesy of the New York Times.

This photo is courtesy of the New York Times.

This photo is courtesy of the New York Times.

Yue Yu, Writer

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Smog is not uncommon in China, especially in the winter. In December 2015, the government declared its first “red alert” in Beijing, part of a new emergency plan for air pollution. The red alert is the highest warning level out of the country’s four-tier system. At the time, residents complained of the inconvenience such an alert brought as schools, highways and some factories were shut down.

By the calculations of Greenpeace East Asia, the red alert affects 460 million people, with about 200 million people living in areas where the air was polluted more than 10 times above the guidelines set by the World Health Organization.

This photo is courtesy of the New York Times.

Smog is not uncommon in China, especially in the winter. Some cities, like Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chengdu, have dark and gray skies.  Schools are canceling outdoor activities. An international school in Beijing spent 5 million USD to build two massive domes for students to play and do sports inside with clean air. Children began to have chronic coughs and stuffy noses, traffic was nearly paralyzed and airports were shut down in some cities. People covered their heads and mouths with masks and scarves.

One of the main air-pollutants is black carbon, or soot. Some particles are tiny enough – qualifying as PM2.5 – to enter the lungs. They can damage lungs, cause a series of respiratory diseases. They can also cause higher temperature and more extreme weather, and they make the sea levels rise.

Researchers from Peking University have found that two-thirds of black carbon comes from coke (coal) production, brick making, diesel fuel and household coal. Poor production methods and widespread use of coal make China the world’s number one source of black carbon.

The president of China, Xin Jin Ping said, “China will increase environmental inspections and punish polluters accordingly to ensure the environment improves.” The central government had made a plan to solve the air pollution problem, including putting more money in the development of public transportation, working with the largest coal consuming sectors to help them develop integrated plans for decreasing coal use, and developing green energy.

This photo is courtesy of VOA News.

Erin Mccann. “Life in China, Smothered by Smog.” Nytimes.com. 22 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/22/world/asia/china-smog-toxic.html>

Scmp Editorial. “Officials must be fully committed to clearing the air.” South China Morning Post. 27 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.<http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/2057300/officials-must-be-fully-committed-clearing-air>

David Fullbrook. “In air pollution fight, China may start by tackling soot.” South China Morning Post. 17 Feb. 2017. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1143973/air-pollution-fight-china-may-start-tackling-soot>

Jing, Li. “Beijing issues 2016’s first red alert for air pollution after forecasting six days of ‘severe smog’.” South China Morning Post. 15 Dec. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017. <http://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2054863/beijing-issues-first-red-alert-year-after-forecast-six>

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