Pollution in Beijing Out of Control

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According to “Apple to Toyota Add Face Masks, Purifiers on Beijing Smog” an article by Bloomberg News, pollution levels in Beijing are reaching dangerous levels for the fifth straight day. Companies such as Apple and Toyota are giving their employees face masks to wear in order to mitigate health consequences from working in Beijing. Some companies such as Hays PLC are planning to increase salaries for workers that are willing to work in highly polluted areas. This is not a good sign as the Chinese economy is only continuing to grow. Some companies such as Toyota are attempting to do their share to help with the pollution problem. They have “put more green plants in Beijing offices to help with air quality”. Clearly there is huge opportunity in China for “green” industries to help with this growing problem. Either that or strict regulation will be needed to make Chinese cities safe to live in. There will be potentially huge economic implications if Beijing were to become uninhabitable in the future. For now though people may just need to settle for face masks.


3 Responses to Pollution in Beijing Out of Control

  1. It is good to see that Toyota, JP Morgan, and other companies are taking the initiative to purify air in their offices and workspaces, but it is certainly going to take a lot more than a few plants and air fresheners to clean Beijing’s air. If Beijing is ever going to solve this problem, I suspect the government is going to have to take a serious initiative to reduce pollution. It will be difficult to do because I also suspect solving the problem will be expensive, and individuals will have to go out of their ways to do their fair share to ensure its success. A concern is that there is no guarantee most people will be willing to spend more to do their “fair share”. Cleaning Beijing and other cities in China will be a great challenge and I am interested to see what changes, if any, take place in the near future.

  2. This is a major issue for China especially as it continues to grow. The country needs to reassess energy policy and enact clean air initiatives much like the US during the 1970’s. While scrubbers on factories are a temporary fix, the problem lies within the countries dependence on unclean fuels such as coal. China consumes coal at the same level that the rest of the world combines does, and its extraction/transportation/consumption is not nearly as regulated as in the US.

  3. Please, let’s have no more on this same basic air pollution story without taking care that you add value!!

    In the US we didn’t pass national legislation until 1970, and of course implementation wasn’t immediate and largely applied only to new capacity; old (grandfathered) coal plants are still operating. What we should be paying attention to are either (i) quantitative measures of the impact of pollution, and (ii) the extent to which China has in fact implemented and is now enforcing measures to improve air quality. That air is getting worse may be a reflection that growth is outpacing the speed of implementation (eg, no one antipated today’s fleet of motor vehicles), or that boundaries were set too optimistic (controls in Beijing but less strict rules for locations upwind).