As is well known, air pollution is a serious problem in China. For years, many cities, including its capital, have recorded levels of outdoor pollution that occupy the top positions worldwide.
In general, cities are polluted places. By contrast, cities in which the World Health Organization recommendations are met for the air to have a minimum of purity represent an exception.
In China, of course, not the whole country suffers from it. The problem is also concentrated in cities, but the situation has reached dimensions that pose a serious threat to the health of more than 100 million people. Keep reading this AgroCorrn article to learn more about China’s pollution problem and its red alert status .
- Red alert in 50 Chinese cities for pollution
- Growing pollution in China
- Causes of air pollution in China
- Almost a million deaths by 2030
Red alert in 50 Chinese cities for pollution
If many cities in southern China carry their own in pollution, shortening the lives of their inhabitants an average of about 5 years, lately however the northeast of the country are making news.
Its high levels of contamination have been alarming for weeks. In the last few days alone, around 200 flights in the capital have been canceled. The red alert has also been a kind of voluntary curfew.
The authorities have recommended more than 100 million people not to go out on the streets. In total, a dozen cities have issued a red alert in Shandong province, with a population of 96 million.
Growing pollution in China
According to official sources, the air quality in the Chinese capital has worsened since November. It had been three years since there had been such high levels of pollution.
“The use of coal is to blame for the increasing pollution,” say experts from the Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences. Exceeding 600 microns of PM 2.5 particles per cubic meter, the most harmful, has been considered from “very unhealthy” to “very dangerous”, according to the scale used in the United States.
Almost fifty cities and two provinces in northern and eastern China are on alert. In Tianjin they have been in this situation for more than 25 days, which forces them to suspend classes in schools, close works and limit circulation, among other measures that are not always sufficient.
Going off a red alert isn’t much of a relief. Even when Beijing withdrew its high alert, the city was still engulfed in a dense toxic cloud . Only the blue alert allows a respite and return to a normality that has become an exception.
Causes of air pollution in China
While in more developed areas, such as Europe, pollution comes mainly from transport, in other areas of the planet other sources of pollution are added. In the case of China, the use of coal to generate electricity is one of the main aggravating factors.
In fact, coal is the main source of energy in the country and, for example, when winter arrives, heating systems pollute the outside air significantly. To such an extent that many days it ends up aggravating the problem in such a way that it is recommended not to go out to the street and even prevents visibility on the streets.
However, the situation cannot be understood without considering the rapid economic development of the Asian giant. During the last decades, gases from industries and transport in urban areas have increased exponentially. Not surprisingly, the country has practically become the world’s factory, and pollution takes its toll.
Global air pollution, therefore, responds to very different causes, which varies in each area. Only by analyzing suspended particles, which can be of very different types, can their specific profile be established. Among others, we find sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide , mold, nitrogen oxide, asbestos or, for example, rubber.
The most dangerous are the smallest, called PM 2.5 suspended particles , which are characterized by their ability to penetrate the circulatory system through inhalation, after reaching the lungs.
Almost a million deaths by 2030
Numerous studies conclude that the impact on citizens of exposure to harmful particles on a regular basis is responsible for the fact that lung cancers and other respiratory diseases have skyrocketed in the country.
Recent research focused on the effects on the heart indicates that if their cities had “acceptably clean” air, 923,000 premature deaths from cardiovascular disease could be avoided in the next 15 years.
The American Heart Association, the author of the study, estimates that controlling PM 2.5 would reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases by an average of 7.2 percent and heart attacks by 2.7 percent.
To do this, the country should run at half gas. That is, they should restrict urban traffic, close factories and limit the activity of the construction sector, among other measures.
To get an idea, currently the annual average in Beijing is 86 microns per cubic meter and 62 that of all cities in the country as a whole, compared to the 55 microns noted in the study. However, an acceptable air would be around 25 and for it to be optimal the PM 2.5 concentration should not exceed 10 microns per cubic meter.
In recent days, the capital has reached up to 620 microns per cubic meter and in Xinxiang, in Hunan province, 727 have been reached. Therefore, if 25 microns are the health barrier established by the WHO, these figures are more than 200 times higher. When the figures speak for themselves, comments are unnecessary.
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