Samples Pollution Just How Bad Is China’s Air?

Just How Bad Is China’s Air?

630 words 3 page(s)

While the rest of the world has suffered through an economic downturn, China has remained a financial juggernaut. Its economy ranks second in the world behind only the United States and it has experienced phenomenal rates of growth over the last two decades. In fact, the Chinese economy has buttressed the rest of the globe’s financial woes over the last five years, but as with anything it comes with a high price tag. In China’s case it is staggering environmental degradation that may never be fully resolved even with gargantuan clean-up efforts and staunch dedication.

There is a veritable laundry list of issues that need to be addressed, but the one that has truly caught the eye of the international community is the quality of China’s air. In a study released last year in the British medical journal The Lancet, researchers discovered in 2010 that China, which is largely reliant on coal, accounts for almost 40 percent of the world’s total of premature deaths at 1.2 million from the horrific state of the air. Therefore, this paper will explore just how significant this air pollution is, why it is so severe and what actions, if any, are being employed to halt it.

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Some experts estimate living in China automatically takes five and a half years off your life because of air pollution. Especially in or around Beijing, which is the nation’s industrial heartland. In 2012, it produced two times more crude steel than the United States and with their focus on remaining at the top of the economic heap it was considered highly unlikely they would pursue any policies that would curtail industry or engage in implementing alternative resources. Under excessive pressure, however, China appears prepared to make a real effort. Recent articles in the New York Times, The International Business Times, The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Wall Street Journal and The Voice of Russia have revealed China does appear willing to address this issue by restricting emissions on factories, although they have been known to ignore those goals before in the name of the economic growth, and they will publish the data on how truly serious the problem is for the world to review. Due to the nature of their political system and that many high ranking officials within the government have strong ties to the factories continuing to operate exactly as they are, this is a major coup.

This topic was selected because of the intense ramifications it raises for the world economy, international relations, the human factor and the opportunity to explore the link between China remaining a dominant economic power to cement their political institutions. They will not have support for their government if people do not have jobs and make money. If it comes to the point where they have no recourse, will communism continue to rule in China or will it exchanged for a new political system? Also, just how severe is the pollution? Can it ever really be eradicated after decades of simply turning a blind eye? And what does this mean for the Chinese people? Acid rain has to be destroying agriculture and the irony is China has always been predominantly an agrarian nation. There are a multitude of themes and connections to be explored here other than the facts about China’s air quality.

There is no lack of source material. This topic has been a hot button issue all over the planet for the last several years and there are a multitude of articles in newspapers, economic journals, medical journals and environmental journals. It almost seems like everyone other than the Chinese government has been monitoring this issue closely, intently and with great interest. In fact, it might be a case where there is too much source material.