• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 8:38am

Beijing air pollution

The Chinese capital has for many years suffered from serious air pollution. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing's more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighbouring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust. A particularly severe smog engulfed the city for weeks in early 2013, elevating public awareness to unprecedented levels and prompting the government to roll out emergency measures. 

CommentInsight & Opinion

How they see it: China's smog

The problem of China's choking smog

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 20 January, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 22 January, 2013, 2:32pm

1.China Daily 

We should not forget our long-term role in improving the air quality and protecting the fragile environment. Vice-Premier Li Keqiang remarked last Tuesday that China's air pollution treatment would be a long process that needed everyone's participation. As the first top Party official to address air pollution after the horrible hazy weather across China, Li said the country should change its mode of economic growth. Vowing to strengthen the enforcement of environmental protection laws, he also called on people to raise their awareness [and] refrain from depletive consumption. … Individuals … should try to cultivate stronger environmental awareness and choose green transport. (Beijing)


2. The Washington Post

Add air pollution to the list of challenges that China's new leadership must address to satisfy its increasingly restless citizenry. Over the weekend, Beijing and more than 30 other cities were enveloped by a thick haze. [Levels of] hazardous particles spiked to unprecedented levels - and so did complaints on the country's social media. The government's principal propaganda organs essentially surrendered to public sentiment, breaking their silence and … calling the pollution "choking, dirty and poisonous." … China's outgoing cohort of leaders, led by Hu Jintao , responded to the discontent by trying to suppress it. But it's becoming clear that that strategy will not work for their successors. (Washington)


3. Global Times

Faced with muddy skies, people have been asking, "What's wrong with China?" and "What can we do?" Although measures against pollution have had some effect, the seriousness of this problem has not been alleviated. The general reason is that industrialisation and construction are ongoing. China is still the biggest construction site in the world [and] is a veritable global factory. … It is the most difficult challenge in China because the people demand both development and a clean environment. … These two needs are pitted against each other. As long as the government changes its previous method of covering up the problems and instead publishes the hard facts, society will know who should be blamed. (Beijing)


For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

China's smog has nothing to do with CO2. The pollutants are SOx, NOx and the particle sizes PM10 and PM 2.5. Primarily the culprit is the products of combustion. Planting trees will have no effect on this.
Plant extremely fast growing forests to sharply reduce air pollution.
See details at ****www.adamsmithtoday.com/an-australian-solution-to-the-co2-problem.
It could readily be tried in China.
Water might be supplied by air wells instead of desalination.
Superseding fossil fuels can be greatly accelerated. See Moving Beyond Oil & Cheap Green at www.aesopinstitute.org for a few examples of little known breakthrough technologies.
Beijing should start levying an "air pollution charge" for using the roads there.
I'm sure that the wily Chinese would figure out on their own how to find alternative means of transportation or destinations for their goods without needing any other incentives or government control (and the associated heavy-handed centralized approach which is so often self defeating.)
China's growth will be short lived. No matter how you slice it, the Earth and humanity simply cannot sustain current growth and the carbon emissions that come with growth. China has grown a Mega economy and has much success but it will be short lived because it is not sustainable. What good is wealth if the planet cannot support human life?


SCMP.com Account