Beijing air pollution reaches crisis levels; can China survive its toxic environment?
(NaturalNews) China is the world’s worst industrial polluter, spewing tons of toxins derived from man-made production into the air, soil and water at a steady rate. It has refused to comply with the same standards adopted by other leading nations of the world.
And the level of pollutants is starting to catch up with China’s residents, who have to breath it. Recent weeks have seen declarations of “extremely dangerous pollution” in Beijing, with particulate matter reaching more than two dozen times the level considered safe for airborne toxins.
Workers and commuters commonly wear face masks to combat the often pungent odors and dust, while many suffer from chronic coughs and irritation in their airways and nasal passages.
The smog has reportedly worsened in the last couple of years, obscuring the skyline in major cities and severely limiting visibility. This toxins further compound in the winter with the heavy use of coal for heating and the often stale air.
While the World Health Organization (WHO) considers fine particles (PM2.5) safe below 25 micrograms, Beijing monitoring stations have recently recorded levels between 350-500 micrograms and as high as 671 micrograms. In Harbin, the tenth most populous city in China, which is located in the far northeast of the country, PM2.5 levels soared as high as 1,000 micrograms.
A Harvard study published in 2013 found that China’s refusal to curb air pollution was contributing to shorter lifespans among its population, particularly in the north, including Beijing. The almost absurd levels of total suspended particulates just from using coal to heat homes has shaved off a calculated 2.5 billion years of life expectancy for the 500 million residents of northern China, depriving individuals of an estimated 5.5 years of life.
From the Author: If we think we’re free from pollution from other countries…think again. I’m sure you have seen many articles/pictures with the people in China wearing masks and its only going to get worse. Just this year in California, allergies are at an all time high. Asthma is on the rise for families that have no prior history of Asthma.
Every day cargo ships from Asia and the Pacific basin unload containers on California docks. The containers are dispatched from the rail yards along the harbor onto 1,200 freight trains that ferry goods up and down the coast. 35,000 semi tractor trailers then deliver it by highway to the rest of the country. Since the 1970s, the massive port complex has exploded to five times its original size.
Los Angeles and Long Beach , entry points for these goods, has the largest amounts of air pollution in California . Thus, the California loading docks are in a sense increasing the pollutants that are creating a very real “environmental nightmare.”
All of this to say, the problem is growing at an alarming rate. So when you hear someone say nonchalantly that there is something in the air, their not exaggerating. I wouldn’t be surprised that those that have complained of flu-like symptoms this year could be suffering from the very pollution that is killing 1-2 million in China every year. Wearing a mask may one day be as common as wearing a hat or carrying a purse. In the mean time, we need to make sure the air we are breathing daily is as clean as it possibly can be.