Pollution has destroyed much of the environment in China. Learn what pollution is, how it has been created, and how Chinese people deal with it.
How are people connected to the environment?
People in China are connected to the environment every day, whether they want to or not, just because they breathe air! During recent years China’s economy has grown a lot. This means that there are more new factories and buildings that all need energy. China has many power-plants that burn coal. They release thick, polluting smoke into the air, which really damages the air. Also, more people have started to drive their own cars. These cars burning poor-quality fuel are releasing more toxins into the air. It is quite shocking that 16 of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in China! People have had to make adjustments in their life to protect their health, and try to reduce the air pollution in China.
What makes this environment special or different?
China has become a richer country because of its strong economy. Therefore, China is currently transforming itself into a more developed country. This means that more buildings are being built, more people are driving cars, more companies are starting business, and there is a whole lot of construction! Because of this, the air in China is not so great. The mix of construction, cars, and new factories has released coal and smoke into the air. This has made the air in China really unhealthy, especially in Beijing. Since Beijing has a lot of buildings close together and it is a very busy city, pollution is really bad here. Most days, you can’t see the blue skies. There is a joke in Beijing: “We never knew the skies were blue because all we see is grey skies from the pollution!”
What parts of this environment help people to live here?
Unfortunately, much of the environment in China has been damaged by pollution. Pollution is a major concern for the country and the people in China are starting to realize it. They are now demanding that the government should do something to make the air in China better. This year for the first time, pollution has been mentioned on the news. In previous years the government and the people simply ignored the issue. Now people are more pro-active.
What challenges do people face living in this environment?
Countries around the world measure the quality of their air by using an index called Air Quality Index. If the score is under 100, the environment is considered to have healthy and clean air. This year, Beijing’s air quality has ranged from 250 all the way to 500! This means the air is extremely unhealthy! People, who have been breathing the polluted air in China for many years, can get very sick from it. This is making the citizens of China very worried and upset.
Also, due to the pollution in the environment, much of the water in China is contaminated. This means many people don’t have clean water. Therefore, people have to boil water every day before drinking it. There is a big danger that water will run out in China in the future, because there are so many people in China and not so much clean water!
How have people been adapting to this environment? To not breathe the pollution, people use face masks almost every day. If you breathe the polluted air for many years, it can make you sick and you might have diseases in the future. People prevent this by wearing masks, which cover their mouth so they don’t breathe the bad air when they are outside in the streets.
People have also been doing some basic things at home and in the community, which help reduce pollution. Let me tell you two things they do, and you can also do these things in the United States! One thing is conserving energy! Chinese people have been more aware of how to conserve energy, and there has been a big effort by the government to promote conservation of energy. For example, Chinese people usually like to turn off the light when they leave any room. Make sure you do the same in your home and community! Also, they turn off products and appliances when they are not using them. For instance, they always make sure to turn off the TV and computer when they are done using it. It’s a good thing to keep in mind in the U.S.! Another important thing is that Chinese people recycle a lot! Department stores and shops are not allowed to give out free plastic bags. Also, there are recycling cans everywhere in Beijing so that you can always find a place to put recyclable trash ! Make sure you recycle at home too!