China Smog Travelling to America

Published on Author Mitchell Brister

It is well known that China produces more pollution than anywhere else on earth. Twenty one percent of the Chinese pollution produced every year can be traced to exports that are specifically made for the US. Although we have moved a lot of manufacturing to China, and thus a lot of our pollution it seems that some of this pollution has come back to bite us. A new study has shown that Pacific Ocean winds are pushing pollution over to America. There is one day of smog that is over the federal limit a year in LA because of the pollution coming from China.

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4 Responses to China Smog Travelling to America

  1. The pollution problem in China is not only China’s problem anymore. Several countries in Asia are affected by its pollution and dust clouds. In Korea, dust clouds (or Asian Dust) from China causes lots of health problems and lung cancers. Also, as you mentioned, sand storms also hit California and America.
    There might be a way to solve this problem (maybe planting lots of trees in China?), but it will be at a huge cost. Will China try to fix this problem? I am not sure.
    I also think this problem also affects the economy (and possibly global economy). Possibly increase in transportation cost for exports/imports and other things.

  2. China obviously recognizes the problem and it seems to me that they are taking steps to reduce the amount of pollution they produce. In the article I read for my blog post, it mentions that the Chinese government is closing down inefficient and polluting industries. I agree with gjeong, though. It will take an extensive effort and cost a great deal of money to undo the damage they’ve done.

  3. The only realistic solution to this problem lies in large-scale investment in alternative energy industry and research. Reforestation will not address the problem, because the pollution is more than just CO2: black carbon, or soot, warms the atmosphere and coats snow flakes in black flecks, increasing its heat absorbance and thus warming the surface as well (while causing a myriad of problems as smog). While Beijing has been taking serious steps to curb emissions (introducing a new pollution tax and even shuttering some coal plants with up-to-standard technology), these efforts are predicted to lower China’s share of energy production from coal by just 5% (from 70% to 65%). Small-scale geoengineering solutions (like one former US-EPA official’s suggestion of attaching giant sprinklers to skyscrapers) can then be considered as short-term, local remedies while capital shifts to clean energy.

  4. One challenge is that China has a lot of old, inefficient coal-fired power plants and old steel mills. In addition, they don’t have scrubbers and other abatement equipment. If China could switch to natural gas the result would be very large.

    There’s also vehicular emissions, again lots of old cars without modern engines and exhaust systems, an issue for cars but particularly for diesel trucks and buses. To make a difference there, China needs to move to low-sulfur diesel fuel (the US did that only recently, long after the EU). Without low-sulfur fuel, current technologies that make diesels cleaner than gasoline-powered cars won’t work.

    And don’t downplay the amount of emissions the US generates, roughly the level of China, even though we’ve 1/5th the population.