Theserious air pollution issue in China
TheSerious Air Pollution Issue in China
Theissue of air pollution has been a great issue of concern all over theglobe because of the hazardous effects that it has on the environmentand human beings. The magnitude of the issue is reveals4 through thecoming together of nations to sign agreements such as the Kyotoprotocol that was aimed at mitigating climate change due to the issueof climate change. During this period, the United States was thenumber one emitter of carbon dioxide. However, reports released bythe International Energy Agency projected that China would overtakethe U.S in carbon dioxide emissions by the year 2009 which was adecade earlier than expected. This robust economic growth creates agreat challenge to the global efforts that are aimed at reducing airpollution [ CITATION Wis06 l 1033 ].Thisjust serves to reveal the great challenge of environmental pollutionthat faces China as a rapidly growing nation economically.
Theapproach of this paper however will look at the issue of haze as aresult of pollution through gaseous emissions in industries in China.The heavy air pollution blanket in China has reached hazardouslevels. The recent incidence where Beijing raised the pollution alertfrom red to orange reveals the magnitude of the threat posed by airpollution. The orange alert means that schools have to be closed soas to avoid more damage to health of the children who are attendingschools. It has been documented by the World Health Organization thatout of the seven million people killed by air pollution globally inthe year 2012, forty percent of this number lived in regionsdominated by China. World health organization went forward to reportthat air pollution today is responsible for more deaths globally ascompared to AIDS, diabetes, and road injuries combined [ CITATION Che14 l 1033 ].Consideringthis one impact out of the many impacts that arise as a result of airpollution, there is a great need to address the issue of hazepollution and the impacts that it has both on the environment and thepeople. This paper therefore focuses on the issue of air pollution inChina and specifically the issue of pollution by haze.
WhatIs Haze and How It Threatens People’s Health
Hazecan be defined as a slight obstruction on the lower atmospheric thatis typically caused by fine suspended particles. It can also berefereed to as fog. This accumulation of particulate matter in spacefrom emissions in industries and from moor vehicle exhaust gasescauses there to be a fog that affects the visibility. This fog isencompassed by smoke and other particulate mater and apart fromobstructing visibility to aircrafts and vehicles it poses a serioushealth threat due to the carcinogenic materials that it carries.According to a report by Edward Wong, there has been reported to beintolerable levels of particulate matter in the air in the Chinesecapital. The measured matter were the finest particles that arereferred to as PM 2.5 that are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller.Their level of toxicity in the air was estimated to be beyond index.It was estimated that the exposure to PM 2.5 led to the combined 8,572 premature deaths that occurred in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou,and Xi’an in the year 2012 [ CITATION Wad14 l 1033 ].
Beforelooking at the specific effects that haze has on the health ofhumans, it would be important to identify the sources of materialsthat form haze in China. China is an industrialized country with manyindustries that produce a wide range of goods. This has led toincreased emission of industrial gases from these industries. Thefumes that are produced from these countries are the ones thatcombine with other particles in the air to form the smog. The burningof coal as a source of energy is the main source of pollution andamounts to about 19 percent of the pollution. another source of smogin China is motor vehicle exhaust gases. Being a highly populatedcountry, China is a country that has many automobiles. The hugenumber of motor vehicles contributes to the smoke that forms thehaze. Motor vehicle emissions contribute about 6 percent of theoverall pollution [ CITATION Daw13 l 1033 ].Anothersource of haze is dust that rise from the construction sites. Theweather also has changed and has led to the trapping of the pollutionand allowed it to accumulate rather than allowing it to blow out [ CITATION Lin13 l 1033 ].
Thekey air pollutants of concern are particulate matter (PM), sulphurdioxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide. The healtheffects of haze are caused by the irritant effects of the fine dustparticles on the nose, throat, airways, skin, and eyes. The PM 2.5also has an effect since it is lodged in the lungs where it causesrespiratory problems. The health effects that occur as result of hazedepend on the severity of haze as measured by the PollutantsStandards Units. Another factor that affects the health effects isthe individual variation regarding the ability to tolerate airpollution. The health effects include sneezing, running nose, eyeirritation, dry throat and dry cough. These pollutants have theeffects of increasing the severity of diseases such as asthma,chronic lung disease, chronic sinusitis, and allergic skinconditions. Long term exposure to the pollutants increases the riskof diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, reduced lung developmentand the development of chronic respiratory diseases such as asthma inchildren [ CITATION Devnd l 1033 ].
Thereis a need to determine the group of people who are more vulnerable tobeing affected by haze. The children, the elderly, and those peoplesuffering from chronic lung diseases are more vulnerable to beingaffected by haze and they should take extra precaution so as toprotect themselves from these adverse effects. There is therefore agreat need to protect this vulnerable group if we have to take careof our future generation. The raising of pollution alert form red toorange which is the second most dangerous level reveals that there isa great danger to the general population in China. Some of thepollutants contain carcinogenic materials that increase the risk ofcancer. When people breathe these carcinogenic materials, thematerials trigger cancerous growth in their bodies and thus therewill be a gradual development of cancer with time [ CITATION Devnd l 1033 ].
Chinais an industrious country with a great number of people. Therefore,there is a greater demand for energy and mode of transport. This hascontributed to the increased level of haze in China and also in thecapital Beijing. One of the causes of haze is the overuse of naturalgas and petroleum products. China as a country relies on coal,petroleum products, and natural gas as a source of energy. Thesesources of energy emit by products hat are very harmful to the healthof humans and hat are very detrimental to the environment. When thissmoke accumulates in the air, it causes the obstruction that iscalled haze. The accumulation is as a result of still weather that donot allow for removal of this smoke. There are many industries inChina that produce huge pillars of smoke everyday. The number ofmotor vehicles on the roads is also vast and this contributes too tothe smoke and gaseous pollutants that are released in the air [ CITATION Reb14 l 1033 ].
Anothersource of haze is human activities. With the introduction of heavymachinery that is capable of moving the earth, there has beenproduction of vast amounts of dust into the environment. This dustincludes the one that is associated with manufacture of products suchas cement. When this dust accumulates into the atmosphere, it createsa difficulty in visibility. This dust also carries materials that canbe considered carcinogenic and that have adverse effects on the lifeof the affected people. It has been common for a person walking inBeijing to feel the air smelling like a chlorine factory due to theamount of pollutants that are in the atmosphere [ CITATION Cod05 l 1033 ].
Anotherfactor that has led to the presence of haze in China has been thechange in weather. There has been an instance of very still weatherin China that has not allowed for the removal of the air pollutants.This has resulted to the accumulation of these pollutants to greatlevels that have led to the obstruction. This obstruction has beengreat that it could be observed even from the space. Most of thefarmers in rural China have adopted the activity of burning stubbleso as to clear their farms in the preparation for planting. The smokethat has been emanating from these fires has also contributed o thesmog that has been experienced in China [ CITATION Cod05 l 1033 ].
TheInitiative That the Chinese Government Has Taken To Stop This Menaceand the Possible Ways It Can Pursue Further
Thegovernment of China in an initiative to reduce air pollution bannedthe use of private cars base on if their number plates are odd oreven numbers. This was aimed at reducing the traffic density by 35percent. Moreover, the government banned the trucks that wereresponsible for transporting waste and dangerous chemicals from thecapital roads. By restricting the number of cars that should be onthe road, the government was able to reduce the emission of airpollutants and fumes from cars. This initiative has been adopted bythe government when there have been national events in the country.Beijing is mostly affected by the haze with obstruction and foulsmell evident in the air. So as protect the visitors the governmenthas applied this strategy for a very long time [ CITATION Lee14 l 1033 m Rob14].
TheChinese government has also taken an initiative to com up with areport on the pollution emission by the industries in China. Thisreport brought to light the organizations that have violated theanti-pollution standards and these organizations were fined for thiscause. This fining of the companies that have been emittingpollutants in hazardous levels will make the companies to beresponsible for their emissions. This responsibility if upheld willlead to decreased emissions and thus reduced hazardous effects ofpollution. There is also an initiative buy the government to closesome coal fired furnaces and removing high emission vehicles from theroad. This is a very important step if the country has to win ton thewar against pollution. Energy production has to shift its reliancefrom coal and petroleum energy to renewable energy sources such assoar and wind energy. The approach to this direction will see many ofthe industries that have been using coal upgrade to renewable sourcesand therefore the result will be reduced amounts of pollutants [ CITATION Wad141 l 1033 ].
Anotherinitiative that the government can approach to solve the problem ofpollution is to come up with laws and Acts that prohibit emission ofpollutants beyond a certain standard. This Act can ask all thefactories producing smoke and all the vehicles to be fitted withfilters so as to clean the emitted air. These restrictions iffollowed strictly will lead to increased success in the fight againstpollution. Due to the great number of people who own private cars inChina the government can ban the use of these cars in some areas andintroduce more safer modes of transport that do not emit pollution. Agood example is that the government can restrict the cars enteringBeijing to be only some specific public transport vehicles. This willreduce the emission in the city. However, if this has to work thereis need for commitment and dedication towards achieving this issue.
Whatthe Citizens Can Do To Reduce Pollution
Oneof the causes of haze is the smoke that arises from the burning ofstubble in the rural areas. The citizens need to change from thispractice and avoid instances that produce smoke. They can practicemanure making by using the stubble instead of burning it. The peopleshould also avoid the use of sprays that contain aerosols as theseare some of the dangerous air pollutants. The people should quithabits such as smoking that increase harmful gases and smoke in theatmosphere. Above all, the people should respect governmentinitiatives and strategies that are aimed at reducing pollution [ CITATION Lee14 l 1033 ].
Chinaand mostly the capital Beijing has been faced by the issue of airpollution and specifically haze. This has been as a result of theemission from industries, motor vehicles and dust and smoke fromhuman activities. This has had a great effect on the health of thepeople and has also affected the economic growth of the country. Thenumber of tourists has reduced drastically. The fog has been blockingthe visibility causing plane cash, diseases, and poor visibility.Some roads have also been closed as a result
Thishas created the need for the government initiative to end thepollution. Incentive like alternate day car use, closure of some coalfired furnace, and fining of the industries that have beenresponsible for the pollution so as to minimize pollution. The peoplealso need top adopt other techniques of dealing with waste productsfrom the farms other than burning them. The problem of China is ofown making and together they can be able to solve this problem.
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