Chinese government needs to take responsibility for pollution


Annissa Lai, Staff Writer

Many people can recall when China hosted the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics and issued an order to close down factories and regulate traffic to improve the air quality for the duration of the event.

Taking into account the high level of pollution in China, this helped tremendously. Before and after the games, the blue sky was actually visible. But after all the athletes, media , and spectators left, everything returned to the way it was before.

China should change its policies to include environmental and health concerns because the conditions have become too hazardous for people to live.

Six years after the games, air pollution in China is still a severe environmental issue. With industrialization, including heavily polluted factories, China will have to face the growing consequences sooner or later.

In a recent USA TODAY, readings for PM2.5 pollution marked above 500 micrograms per cubic meter. The World Health Organization considers 25 micrograms to be safe.

Because China is a quickly developing nation, it prompts heavy air pollution. According to The Economist, China’s “environmental problems do have historical parallels.” Pollution is necessary for countries craving rapid growth, but they should regulate the amount allowed.

People in China should start taking more public transportation instead of driving private cars to reduce the amount of air pollution, while factories should focus on decreasing industrial pollution, Another solution could be to move heavily polluted factories to remote sites away from major cities.

The ramifications of high pollution is alarming. Industrial pollution in China has made cancer the leading cause of death, according to the Chinese Ministry of Health.

This should put the Chinese on alert and persuade them to take action against this horrible occurrence.

Every year air pollution kills hundreds of thousands of people living in China, while 500 million people there have no clean or safe drinking water according to the New York Times in a 2007 article.   These shocking statistics are because China has only focused on its GDP growth, ignoring the detrimental effects to the environment.

The cost of industrialization is a high price to pay. Health problems plague citizens everyday as most are accustomed to wearing face masks to avoid breathing the air pollution.

According to a 2013 article in TIME magazine, 1.2 million premature deaths resulted from air pollution in China. It has reached the point where most days, cities are looked upon by huge gray clouds of smog.

The health crisis is a side effect of China’s urbanization. The illnesses that will prey on the people living in the cities are eminent already, but China must take responsibility for its people.  China contains 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities. As China’s industry grew, industrial, water, and air pollution increased with it.

China’s issue is not just confined to its country. Recently, studies show that pollution from China has carried across the Pacific Ocean to the Western United States, according to the New York Times. It is a relatively small amount compared to the pollution from other industries in the U.S., but it could grow over time.

In response to this, China has proposed a 5-year plan starting in 2016 to make clean energy investments, hoping to change its policies by 2020, according to  But it is a long shot because it all depends on how serious China is about solving its pollution problem.

The Chinese government must take into consideration the alarming impact pollution has evolved into from industrialization. One important question to ask is if the price for urban growth is worth the health problems that come with it.

Chinese policies must change to incorporate the environmental and health perspectives to solve the excessive pollution, otherwise the polluted cities nationwide will not be a suitable place for its citizens in the future.