The Fruits of Civilization (65-3-4) Air Pollution in China

 Air Pollution

The root cause of air pollution in China: China’s industrial structure. ~ Chinese environmental scientist Ma Jun

It simply is not safe to breathe in China. Smog kills 4,000 people a day.

Beijing’s air is regularly 40 times filthier than the World Health Organization deems to be the limit of safety. Shanghai has had to delay flights because the blanket of smog is so thick. In the northern half of China, air pollution lops off over 5 years of natural lifespan.

Everybody needs to breathe. ~ Chinese air purifier saleswoman Bi Xiuyan, explaining the demand for her expensive products

China is not the only one to suffer for its lax environmental controls. Air pollution from Chinese factories makes its way across the Pacific Ocean and contributes to smog in the United States.

Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries’ air. ~ American ecologist Steven Davis


The government hasn’t given a thought to the safety of the people. ~ Chinese farmer Li Laiyin

The average level of toxic lead inside China’s urban residents is nearly twice that considered highly dangerous. The negative impact on youth health and intelligence is profound. Many thousands of children have died of lead poisoning.

Little has been done to address the massive impact of lead pollution in China. It has affected a while generation of kids. Children with dangerously high levels of lead in their blood are being refused treatment and returned home to contaminated houses in polluted villages. Parents, journalists, and community activists who dare to speak out about lead are detained, harassed, and ultimately silenced. ~ American health and human rights activist Joe Amon

Over 2 million Chinese die of pollution every year, and that number continues to rise. At least 8% of China’s GDP is spent on health care attributable to pollution.

In the 21st century, the Chinese government has instituted ineffectual programs to combat some of the environmental damage that has already been done. But intra-government conflict and Chinese aspirations for consumer lifestyles comparable to the wasteful West are guaranteed to further environmental destruction.

The main reason behind the continued deterioration of the environment is a mistaken view of what counts as political achievement. The crazy expansion of high-polluting, high-energy industries has spawned special interests. Protected by local governments, some businesses treat the natural resources that belong to all the people as their own private property. ~ China’s deputy minister for environmental protection Pan Yue

The Chinese public occasionally protest, and even riot, against the severe pollution in their country. The authorities react violently and suppress unrest. Beyond beatings and tear gas, ringleaders are often imprisoned.

From January 2017, the Chinese government had local meteorological bureaus stop issuing smog alerts. This information was suppressed to dampen public anger about toxic air quality.

Environmental quality is not satisfactory and environmental protection work is arduous. ~ Chinese environmental protection minister Zhou Shengxian

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Despite horrendous pollution, the degraded environment is 4th on the list of Chinese anxieties, after inequality, corruption, and the power of vested interests. Everything is relative.

Filthy habits have inured the Chinese to pollution. With over 300 million smokers, the Chinese are the world’s most avid consumers of tobacco. 750,000 Chinese die annually from smoking.