A recent study has found that air pollution kills 4.000 people in China on a daily basis. This adds up to 1.6 million people on a yearly basis.
China is notorious for its dangerously high levels of air pollution. Chinese people have very poor health (they develop everything from respiratory diseases, to high irritability, to lung cancer) and have to wear face masks whenever they go outside.
But the issue is more relevant than ever as China has been trying to reduce air pollution as part of its preparation for the 2022 Winter Olympics. It all started back in 2014, when Washington State agreed on a climate change deal with the Asian country.
Washington told it to reduce its emission by the time we enter 2013 through increasing its use of zero-emission energy sources by allocating it 20 percent (20%) of its current energy budget.
And earlier this year, in June, Beijing formally promised to put an end to the rise in China’s greenhouse gas emissions in no more than 15 years. The promise was strategically made with an eye towards the UN’s climate talks in Paris, in December.
Beijing has long wanted to be recognized as one of the world’s biggest capitals, but its levels of air pollution have kept it from being put on the same pedestal as capitals from Western Europe.
However, Xi Jinping, China’s current president, is determined to make a chance. Earlier this year, in March, he swore he would demand and reinforce better environmental laws. He gave a statement to a news outlet saying that “We are going to punish, with an iron hand, any violators who destroy ecology or environment, with no exceptions”.
But the country started taking steps towards reducing air pollution even before that. A new environmental protection law went into effect back in January, and it imposed stinging fines on polluters. In the months since, 160 companies have been fined a total of $18.3 million according to China Daily.
On top of this, the Ministry of Environmental Protection informs that 429 companies have been charged with committing environmental crimes, 437 companies have been given administrative detention, 698 companies have had their production either limited or suspended, and 1.186 companies have been shut down completely.
Beijing is expected to finally close its last remaining coal-fired generators at some point by the beginning of 2017. It’s also set to build four (4) gas-fired plants for heating and power by 2016.
One possible direction the country could be heading into is solar power. It holds the record for installing 12 gigawatts of solar power back in 2013, and adding another 12 gigawatts in 2014.
Though it may sound like an impressive number, China wished it could have installed 14 gigawatts in 2014, and Beijing promised to install 17.8 gigawatts by the end of 2015.
As a result, last year China saw its first decline in over a decade in carbon dioxide (CO2) emission.
Image Source: chinatravelgo.com