Air Pollution in China

There is a pollution joke circulating China about a couple on a date.

A girl walks around in a park where she is supposed to meet her boyfriend. Suddenly, she bumps into a bench, so she sits down, waiting for her date. He still doesn’t come, but after awhile as she leans to the side and rests her hand down, it touches something soft and warm. She squints and leans forward, then sees that the object is another hand. As she looks up, she is staring into the face of her boyfriend, who’d sat down earlier on the same bench, waiting for her.

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They’d been sitting right next to each other the entire time, not seeing the other person because the pollution was so thick. Though people may chuckle at this, air pollution is no laughing matter. In China, it is a common matter, as the increasing popularity of new constructions has taken over. In the United States, the city suffering the worst air pollution is Bakersfield, CA, where the average particulate pollution was a measure of 18.2 micrograms per cubic meter.

At the same time, the most polluted city in China is Xingtai, with an average of 155.2 micrograms per cubic meter. According to the World Health Organization, anything over 10 micrograms per cubic meter is a health hazard, so of course, the hospitals in China are packed with people suffering from pneumonia or other lung diseases. If there is not some kind of action taken, people will continue to suffer, become sick, and even die, like the 1.2 million premature deaths in China during the year of 2010.

Though particulate air pollution is an immense issue, coal consumption and carbon dioxide emission is another statistic becoming dangerously high. Coal is the cheapest fossil fuel that mankind has laid his hands on, and he has taken advantage of it. During 2011, the world released over thirty three gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. In the same year, China consumed 3.8 billion tons of coal, which would produce approximately 13.

9 billion tons of carbon dioxide if it were all burned. That would amount to forty-two percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emission, only accounting coal. Though it seems ghastly now, China was not always such a large consumer. In the year 2000, China consumed 1.5 billion tons of coal- only thirty-nine percent of what it consumed in 2011.

Out of the ten countries that consume the most coal, China increased the most by far. It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? The enormous role that China plays in the story of our air, as the antagonist- spewing harmful dust particles for constructions and consuming coal, the cheap and unhealthy fossil fuel. After modern man’s two hundred thousand years of living, it is incomprehensible to see how little he has learned about and cared for the planet that has been his host for all that time; however, it is our job to turn this detrimental trend around. Citation: Denyer, Simon, and Richard Johnson. “Worst Air Pollution in China and the U.

S.”Washington Post. The Washington Post, 18 Feb. 2014. Web.

28 Mar. 2014. Hong, B.D, and E.R Slatick.

“Carbon Dioxide Emission Factors for Coal.” eia. N.p., n.d.

Web. 27 Mar 2014. Nijhuis, Michelle. “COAL Part one: the invisible carbon.”National Geographic. Apr 2014: 32-40.

Print. Rapier, Robert. “Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures.” Global Carbon Dioxide Emissions — Facts and Figures. N.p.

, 2 July 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2014. Wong, Edward. “Air Pollution Linked to 1.

2 Million Premature Deaths in China.” The New York Times. The New York Times, 01 Apr. 2013. Web. 28 Mar.