Air Pollution in China

Categories: Air Pollution
  1. Introduction
  2. Significant Types of Air Pollution Problem in China
  3. The Problem in the Emission of CO2
  4. The Problem in Acidic Rain
  5. Major Causes of Air Pollution in China
  6. Significant Impact of Air Pollution in China
  7. Economic
  8. The Effort of The Chinese Government to Tackle Air Pollution
  9. Effect of China Anti-Pollution Polices
  10. Conclusion


Air contamination is a common occurrence that has an immense impact on the health and biodiversity on the planet. 

According to World Health Organization, in 2012, household air contamination caused over 4.

3 million deaths across the world due to inefficient technology and the unclean fuels (World Health Organization 7). Jointly air contamination caused 6.5 million deaths in 2012, and this was largely the highest ecological risk reported by the World Health Organization (WHO). In China, general pollution and risk has largely affected the nation. With the growth of industries, China has experienced rapid development in its industries (Saikawa 9). According to Saikawa, the escalating urbanization of the Chinese population has made the growth of many urban clusters (9).

These big clusters of towns and cities in near proximity have considerably contributed to the worsening of the surroundings. In modern years, smoke has caused a worsening air excellence in big cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. The two nations have recurrently made headings in the Chinese broadcasting Media. The Ministry of Environmental Protection of China explained that, in 2013, over eighty percent of Chinese metropolises did not convene the nationwide air excellence standard and regulation (Wencong 5). The paper will focus on the major types of air pollution, causes, the impact of government on tackling and china anti-pollution policies.

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Significant Types of Air Pollution Problem in China

The primary driver that has contributed to air contamination in China is the manufacturing industry. The industrialized manufacturing companies have engaged in the growth of the Chinese financial system while further contributing to the creation of atmospheric greenhouse gasses. The primary challenge is the increase in the concentration of CO2 emission per unit of GDP with reports indicating it has increased in 2020 from 40 to 45 percent since 2005 (Fullerton, Duncan, Nigel, and Stephen 845). The policies enacted to reduce this effect include the renewable energy source option to help improve energy intensity targets and the restriction of new fossil fuels primary energy consumption. However, due to the lack of systematic analysis, the strategies cannot be competently or efficiently be intended.

Furthermore, air contamination is another severe health and environmental jeopardy affecting China due to incompetent control measures taken by the government. It implies to the existence of pollutants in the air, which is later inhaled by living things leading to fatal severe diseases. Pollutants come in various forms but are primarily because of the overdependence on coal incineration. Moreover, they can be a solid material or liquid droplets and many other forms. Pollutants can further be subdivided into secondary or primary. In China, the essential types of air pollution comprise of emission of carbon iv oxide, (CO2), issues of and acidic rain.

The Problem in the Emission of CO2

Globally, China is the top energy consumer and emitter of CO2 accounting for 30 percent of world emissions with 8.1 billion metric tons in 2012. It results from the fact that over many years, China has had an increased economic development that has turned the country to be among the highest global carbon emitter. Currently, China is trying to reduce carbon emission and energy use. However, it has designed economic development initiatives to advance its citizen standards of living. Nevertheless, it remains a challenge to coordinate the development of the economy with environmental protection and change of climate mitigation because of the rapid economic growth.

Despite the fact that the country has tried to minimize the amount of the air pollution, the heavy use of coal still emits million tons of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Essentially, carbon dioxide is the critical gas released from human activities and it is the best-known greenhouse gas leading to global warming. The primary sources of carbon dioxide are industries, electricity, and transportation. Most notably, it is clear that economic growth in the last three decades is the cause of the current pollution problem in China. Beijing, the capital city of China, is the leading in air pollution and this is due to various factors such as the economic boom, an increase in the number of motor vehicles used in the city, the growing population, and the key one is the output from the ever-increasing number of industries in the town. As the economy of the country gets better, there is amplified wealth, many people are finding it easy to own motor vehicles, and the number of cars on the streets of Beijing has doubled with approximately 1200 automobiles added every day.

The challenges that have since been identified are the adverse health outcomes from the pollutant. In closed areas, carbon dioxide leads to complaint such as headaches. Blowing in a higher amount of carbon dioxide can be life threating and can cause a change in bone calcium and body metabolism. It can later cause respiratory failure since the lungs are overloaded by excess carbon dioxide (Alford 498).

The Problem in Acidic Rain

Acidic rain refers to any form of rainfall with acidic elements such as nitric acid or sulfuric acid that fall on the earth surface in a wet way (Alford 500). The rain can be in the form of hail, snow or fog and often results from the emission of Sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxide in the atmosphere. Both gases react with water to form sulfuric and nitric acid that mix with water and hence causing acidic rain. The challenge is that the acidic rain impacts the freshwater ponds and lakes in China adversely by destroying the aquatic life and biodiversity. Additionally, acidic rain affects the higher altitude trees as well as damaging the historical monuments and buildings.

Major Causes of Air Pollution in China

China has been a primary air polluter because in the first three decades, its economic growth has been significant. It follows that the economic growth is the primary challenge for widespread air pollution. Out of the twenty cities with the worst air pollution globally, sixteen are located in China. The increase of air pollution in Beijing is primarily attributed to iincreased automobile use. Due to the increase in wealth, many people acquire motor vehicles. In this case, there is an upsurge in the number of cars in Beijing road with nearly 1200 added daily. Car emission contributes to 75 percent of the air pollution in the city. The most four dangerous emitted gas from the vehicles comprise of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), sulfur dioxide (SO2), and carbon monoxide (CO). Newly familiarized cars have lower secretion standards and therefore, release more of the pollutants in the air than their older counterpart (Wong, Christine, and Valerie 678).

The other cause results from the burning of coal. To fuel Chinese economic growth, the nation has utilized coal in an inefficient and dirty way with the usage of “subcritical” energy plants that supply high intensity of airborne contaminant. The factories in Beijing city are outdated and have the inefficient technology. Most of the factories burning coal are situated on the borders of Beijing and nearby towns of Harbin and Hebei. Beijing city is the casualty of its topography since it is bounded by mountains confirming that pollution is ensnared within the limit of the town. Increase in temperature and humidity worsen the quality of air in summer and spring. Along with health issues, a higher level of air pollution in Beijing has led to hundreds of flight terminations and recurrent road closure due to low perceptibility (Jacobson 163). The problem from this cause is that the burning of coal accounts for about 40 percent of fatal fine impure matter. China devours almost as much coal yearly as all other nations combined and coal burning in the state as the most significant spring of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. The burning of coal release airborne toxins, pollutants, and further causes water pollution due to a large amount of coal ash left.

Furthermore, the trend of Industrialization has been thought to be a major cause of pollution in China. China has shifted from an agricultural economy to the most powerful economy in the world due to manufacturing (Jacobson 152). Beijing is notably surrounded by industries. Contrastingly, China tend to value growth in economic than the environment because many sectors in the county focus on a higher level of employment and on reducing the level of unemployment. As a result, China concentrates more on economic growth rather than the environment, hence less attention is placed on industries that emit chemicals in the atmosphere causing acid rain.

Furthermore, the geographical location is not favorable because Beijing is surrounded by mountains to its north and west. The effect is that polluted air get trapped because of the physical geography of the city. Additionally, the area of high pressure that is often over China in the winter also tend to catch air pollution at ground level. During this time, the level of contamination is usually higher due to the burning of coal. In cities the south and east of Beijing there are hundreds of industries. When there is wind from east or south the air pollution from the surrounding towns travels into Beijing where it can be trapped if there is higher pressure over the city (Jacobson 150).

Significant Impact of Air Pollution in China

The air cloud benching from an industrial smokestack, car emission, and burning of coal settle in Beijing dimming the skyline. The cloud benching has adverse effects on human health, economy, environment, and politics. The primary challenge is related to the adverse health effects because breathing polluted air cause health problems including respiratory failure or difficulties in breathing (Zhang, Dongyong, Junjuan Liu, and Bingjun 5324). The risk varies depending on a person state of health and immunity. Considering the higher pollution level in Beijing, many individuals are complaining about an immediate health problem that comprises of damaged cell in the respiratory system, intensified cardiovascular and respiratory illness, and added pressure to heart and lungs which work stiffer to supply the body with oxygen. Additionally, people residing in the city for a long duration are exposed to long-term chronic health effects outcomes causing a shortened life span, loss of lung volume and a reduction in lung efficacy.


The problem is also perceived from an economical perspective because Globally air pollution is a known issue in China. To understand the economic effect of air pollution in China, it is essential to understand the present air quality in the country. When a red alert is used residents receive text messages from the municipal government warning them that all school should be closed, restriction of construction halted, and car restriction is put in place. Additionally, the authorities make sure that citizens are stay in confined zones with affects the nation’s productivity because there are less economic activities to contain air pollution. Further challenges result from the increased spending to contain the pollution. Iin 2005 the aggravation of Chinese air pollution cost the country $113 billion and as a result indicating a loss in the economy (Kan, Haidong, Bingheng Chen, and Chuanjie 188). According to the Chinese Academy of protection of the environment, the environmental damages ended up to $224 billion. Additionally, tourism in the country is slowing down, and many organizations are encountering issues to find white collar workers to move to Beijing. Conferring to the American Chamber of Commerce, 53 percent of international corporations are unable to get skilled labor force which is essential for China to keep on developing its economy. Public dissatisfaction about massive pollution explosions in chemical factories have increased, which addedd significant pressure on the government to counter the damages and hence negatively to impact the country’s economy.

The last effect is perceived in the context of the environment. One of the most persistent trials in China is the environmental crisis that emerges from the country quick industrialization. The degradation of the environment threatens to undermine the growth of the country and exhausts the patience of the public at the pace of the pace of reforms. Environmental depredation poses a severe threat to the economy of China risking roughly 3 to 10 percent of its gross national income. Additionally, environmental damages have affected the economy of China as it continues to peruse extractive resources abroad such as oil and other fossils fuels.

Lastly, the impact is also political because the air quality of China is weak and results in effects on the health of human being. Yearly, the estimate of premature death ends up to 1.3 million, and the real impact may even worsen than the suggested figures. This is undoubtedly an environmental disaster as well as a substantial political problem (Wong, Christine, and Valerie 670). After years of denying the existence of air pollution, the government has eventually accepted that pollution is of great concern and currently it publishes a figure of air quality. The shift in the stance of government has come in part since pollution is getting worse and also the change in public awareness. In case there will be no measures taken against air pollution then the political parties of the country will be at a higher risk.

The Effort of The Chinese Government to Tackle Air Pollution

The central government in China is principally responsible for passing and making guiding principles/policies, while local administration is held responsible for implementing initiatives intended to control the level of pollution in the most adversely affected areas. The government of China is alert to the difficulties and causes of air pollution. It has been an intensive effort to bring it under control. Concerned with adverse health and environmental effects from severe air pollution the government of China is applying effort to tackle air pollution through:

  • Regulations

To reduce air pollution, the government has created many regulations. The laws set a strict number of pollutants put into the air (Fullerton, Duncan, Nigel, and Stephen 850). The significance of the pollution is that the creators clearly defined goals and can make sure that the level of contamination has been reduced rather than relying on the market-based incentives.

  • Green energy technology

In Beijing city, there is a substantial amount of air pollution. Use of generating energy from renewable sources instead of fossil fuels can improve the quality of air. Wind, solar and hydroelectric systems yield electricity with no connected air impurity production (Alford 596). Additionally, industries surrounding Beijing should be installed with renewable energy technologies so significantly reduce the burning of fuel which is the primary cause of air pollution.

  • Industrial policies

China is a polluting country with rapidly, increasing industrial production, foreign trade, as well as international trade. The environmental law has implemented policies that will help industries to reduce the level of air pollution. Some of this policy comprises of introduction levy. The levy consists of charges of pollution and non-compliance fees (Liu, Jianguo, and Jared 1179).

  • Electric cars

To reduce the issue of air pollution, China is pushing electric vehicles that produce fewer emission that contribute to change in climate (Fullerton, Duncan, Nigel, and Stephen 846). Cars that have no tailpipe emissions are one of the multi-pronged war on the source of air pollution and diesel trucks with less capable or no emission control. As the world largest car market China is looking forward to introducing green cars that will help in reducing air pollution.

Effect of China Anti-Pollution Polices

Due to the rapid growth of economic development in China, air pollution has attained a remarkably higher level (Alford 497). Understanding the effects of air pollution policies is of great relevance. With the new plans that mean that industries and institutions may be more likely to meet their obligation. To reduce the level of air pollution, China prohibited new coal-fired plants in the most pulled regions of the country including the Beijing city. Additionally, through regulation, industrial policies and green energy technologies the government have been in a position to reduce air pollution. The speed of anti-pollution drives in China against air pollution has indicated a significant improvement in the health of citizens.


In summary, it is apparent that China is the most polluted country globally due to its rapid economic growth. The government of China is conscious of the difficulties and sources of air pollution. It has been concentrated energy to bring it under control. Some of the control measures taken comprise of regulations; industrial policies and the future use of green cars. The primary source of air pollution includes of coal burning, a rise in the number of vehicles in Beijing and geographical factors. 


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Air Pollution in China. (2021, Oct 31). Retrieved from

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