When a person looks down at a product to see a label marked “made in China,” they are now beginning to think twice. Studies have recently tried to prove that China is spreading dangerous levels of air pollution not only to their own country, but the United States as well, by producing merchandise destined for export. The question has arisen whether or not China’s dirty air can be blamed in part on the United States (US). While the US does buy plenty of supply from the country, it is difficult to hold Americans accountable for causing pollution to spread.
China has always been well-known for producing things like shoes, toys, electronics, and even many everyday toiletry items for other countries to sell to consumers. This massive amount of product is all made in factories that have always caused major air pollution for the country. While other countries may rely heavily on China for goods, China certainly does profit well from the production and sales of everything they make.
China’s air is the dirtiest air reported to date,with a combination of emissions like sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. According to researchers at least one-fourth of the pollution in China is caused by coal-burning factories that are responsible for a large amount of manufacturing for export products. It is no surprise that those factories have caused a major pollution problem, though the research found now is a major surprise to many.
Researchers in China and the United States have now suggested that the air from China is traveling across the ocean and causing pollution in the Western part of the US. These studies also suggest that as China’s pollution gets worse, if the problem is not resolved, many places other than the US could see the spread of pollution.
The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) have also made statements regarding the production of products and pollution in China. The PNAS researchers have stated that the producing and consuming nations on both sides of China’s oceans are also to blame for the mass amount of pollution in the air. They state that various gases and particles are transported during exportation through physical and chemical processes, causing pollution in other areas where the goods created by the country are received.
Back in October, in an effort to reduce pollution in the country, officials announced that they would award ¥5 billion to one of six regions that reduce pollution the most in their area. The announcement came after researchers announced that the levels of pollution in many areas were very dangerous for health. Around that time, as well, the World Health Organization stated that bad pollution was a number one cause of lung cancer. The awards were set to be given at the end of last year.
With the new suggestion that China’s air pollution is much higher because of the amount of products produced for other countries, researchers are warning other countries, including the US, to be mindful of the pollution and work to help reduce air pollution for China and neighboring countries. Specific suggestions for exactly how China and other countries can reduce pollution have not been given.
The PNAS did say, however, that the first step for China is figuring out which goods, and how many products, are exported to which places in order to analyze and target the reduction of pollution. According to researchers a consumer-based way of looking at pollution will give us a better start to fixing the problem.
By Crystal Boulware