Air pollution in China

by Alex Lyons

What is air pollution?

Air pollution occurs when the air contains gases, dust, fumes and odour in harmful amounts. That is, amounts that could be harmful to health of humans and animals or it could cause damage to plants and materials

Human and Natural causes of pollution

Humans can have a great impact on pollution as the factory industry in growing immensely in most parts of China.

Some examples are,

  • Burning fossil fuels - the transportation of cars, trucks, trains, shipping vessels and airplanes all burn big amounts of fossil fuels in order for them to work
  • House hold and farming chemicals - crop dusting, fumigating homes, house hold cleaning products and insect repellents all emit harmful chemicals into the air

Natural causes also play a part in pollution, most natural causes are provoked by human actions.

  • Acid deposition - although rainwater is already acidic, as a result of carbon dioxide in the air dissolving in the water makes the water more acidic.
  • Dioxide - which is found in volcanos and forest fires is let into the air

facts on China's pollution

  • Because the amount of pollution that's hangs over some cities in China is so bad, when it rains it will acid rain which can be very lethal at times
  • Most children born in areas with heavy pollution cover are most likely to be born with asthma or contract it later on in life
  • The main causes of pollution in China are power plants, factories and heavy industries
  • There is high risks of premature deaths
  • China depends on coal for 70% of its energy
  • China is the greatest emitter of green house gases
  • Air pollution in some cities, such as Beijing are rated at more than 100 times higher than the set limits
  • Lung cancer rates have increased by 400% in the past 4 years
  • Conditions tend to worsen during the winter months due to increased coal burning that creates heavy smog that can last for weeks
  • Huge amounts of smog reach up to 12 km in the atmosphere

How China could reduce pollution

  • Taking public transport instead of a car
  • Using less electricity or using energy efficient lights
  • Stop using fossil fuels and use renewable energy
  • Restrict construction of power plants
  • Take air quality into consideration
  • Acknowledge health risks
  • Use energy efficient ways of construction

Health risks

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How does China's pollution affect the world

Pollution that originates in China has an impact on the atmosphere in the northern hemisphere, it causes storms and high impact cyclones. North America is one of the places most affected by air pollution from China. The pollution affects cloud formation, storm intensity and climate. China's air pollution is also creating heavy storms over the Pacific Ocean which moves into weather systems in other parts of the world. Yuan Wang, from the jet propulsion laboratory at the California institute of technology says. "The effects are quite dramatic. The pollution results in thickerand taller clouds and heavier precipitation. Since the pacific is important to the global general circulation, the impacts of Asias pollution tends to affect the weather patterns of other parts of the world during the wintertime especially a down stream region like North America".