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HONG KONG, HongKong [HK]
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Pollution in China

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There are many rumors going around that China is a dirty and polluted country, that the smog is akin to London in the early 20th century. Well, having lived in China for 3 years and visited a few cities I can say that the pollution isn’t quite that bad but there are still more than 1 million Chinese dying each year from air quality related sicknesses.

Recently, the Chinese government has been doing quite a lot to bring pollution levels down starting by giving local governments a limit on the amount of pollution they can create. Of course when you are a country that relies on manufacturing there is going to be an issue with pollution.

There is a lot of pressure being put on China to reduce the amount of pollution they emit by governments around the world, especially the US who have begun publishing there own findings taken from “air quality” monitoring equipment based at their embassies and consulates alongside the findings of the Chinese government to compare.

The links to the air quality indexes can be found at the bottom of this article.

Looking at history it is clear that China has a long way to go, but at the same time has come a long way also. Pollution in my country, the United Kingdom, a mere 60 years ago was so bad that 4,000 people died during “The Great Smog of ’52” and 100,000 more had lifelong medical problems because of inhaling the smog, it is due to this that London earned the nickname “The Smoke”.

Looking back to China, there are more and more people becoming aware of the issue surrounding pollution and are taking active steps to pressure their government on the issue by staging protests. However according to protests are simply not going to work, because the government has a stake in the largest polluters in the country and cutting their production will in turn hurt the state.

China wants to cut down on it’s pollution but China is a unique country and has always relied on it’s factories, cutting down production is not the solution, instead it needs to consider more innovative ways to lowers it’s pollution and this isn’t helped by the growing wealth in the country. Over 1 million cars were registered in Beijing alone in 2010, buses are also a chief polluter and many cities are only now introducing a subway system.

Cities such as Dongguan, in Guangdong province has taken the step to cut it’s pollution levels by giving all new vehicles registered a color coded emission system with higher level emissions being banned from entering the downtown area.

So in short, China is improving on it’s air quality but there needs to be a lot done to make it achievable, the government is moving in the right direction but in my opinion it’s not going to meet international standards as quickly as some might like.

China Ministry of Environmental Protection:

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