Air Pollution in Beijing

By Susannah Malloy


I have always cared about climate change and how it affects our health and environment. I believe this is an important issue that our whole world should be aware of so bad situations can improve. I know that pollution is a major cause of climate change and there is a lot or pollution in China's cities. Going into this research project I knew a lot about USA's pollution but not other parts of the world. Since I had heard about China's pollution situation I was interested to learn more. I learned that Beijing is the city with the worst pollution and was interested in how it affected people's health. I also wanted to know if Beijing was giving this issue attention. I am glad I know more about the air pollution in the most polluted city in China now, because that is the first step to solving a problem.

Have you heard of Beijing's bad air?

China’s capital Beijing has been dealing with air pollution issues for a long time. In 2015 Berkley Earth, a U.S non profit group published a study on this issue. According to the study 1.6 million people died early deaths in one year from air pollution related conditions in Beijing. This is equivalent to 4,400 people a day. Interestingly enough the study reported that some pollution comes from Beijing’s cars but a lot comes from factories 200 miles away from Beijing in Hebei Province. There are many contributing factors to Beijing’s air problem.

Health Affects of Beijing Air

The researchers figured out that the most dangerous components contributing to the pollution are particles that humans can consume into their lungs or bloodstream. This causes asthma, heart attacks, lung cancer, and strokes. Another fact that demonstrates the poor air quality in Beijing was reported by Richard Muller. He is the scientific director of Berkley Earth who says, “It’s as if every many, women, and child smoked 1.5 cigarettes each hour.” Just like in the nearby province Hebei there is pollution in many areas in China. The New York times reported in 2015 that, “⅜ of the Chinese population breathe air that would be rated “unhealthy” by United States standards.”

What has Beijing done?

In 2013 the red alert system in Beijing was established to protect people and the environment on days of awful air quality. This system entails keeping people indoors on bad days, advises school to close, closes certain industrial plants, shuts down outdoor construction sites. This system also dramatically limits car use to one half of cars having to stay in their garages. Unfortunately a red alert was not called for until December 7 2015 and then another one was announced two weeks later. Some people are speculating that the government is proving that they are aware of the polluted air and are trying to control it. The good news with this issue is that the Chinese government is shutting down power plants that use the most fossil fuels. They also plan to invest six trillion dollars on clean energy in the future.

Did you Know?

Air pollution is cited as one of the reasons many of China's newly wealthy citizens are leaving the country for the United States, Australia or other countries?

Alberta-based Vitality Air in Canada is selling and exporting bottles of "fresh clean air and oxygen" from the Rocky Mountains to Beijing.

A week before the 2008 Olympics U.S cyclists were some of the first people seen in Beijing to wear face masks? Now many people in wear them regularly to avoid breathing the polluted air.

Works Cited

Citing pictures

Works Cited

"Beijing Smog: First Red Alert for Pollution Issued." CNN. Cable News Network. Web. 09 May 2016.

MailOnline, Damien Gayle for. "Out of Breath? Thousands Complete Beijing Marathon Wearing Face Masks Because of the City's Unbearable Smog ." Mail Online. Associated Newspapers, 19 Oct. 2014. Web. 09 May 2016. "Olympics: Is The Air In Beijing Safe?" TreeHugger. Web. 09 May 2016.

Research Cites

Works Cited

"Canadians Are Selling Cans of Fresh Air to China." CNBC. 15 Dec. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.

"China Air Pollution Far Worse than Thought: Study." CNBC. 18 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.

Levin, Dan. "Study Links Polluted Air in China to 1.6 Million Deaths a Year." The New York Times. The New York Times, 13 Aug. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.

"The Red Alert That's Shutting down Beijing, Again." CNBC. 18 Dec. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.