China’s Polluted Cities: A matter of life or development

24 Feb


As China continues to increase the rate of industrialisation and its manufacturing processes, levels of pollution become a global concern. China is now, and has been for some years, the largest emitter of carbon dioxide and this is having huge implications for the people of China’s major industrial cities and the environment. The country’s economy is fuelled by coal, in the past Chinese officials have been reluctant to limit their use of the fossil fuel, as it was seen as the key to development. However, as levels reach imaginable heights, there is a serious need for change (Bloomberg News, 2014).


The local governments, of these cities, have proposed plans to enforce laws which prohibit the existence of heavily polluting factories. The most dangerous pollutants are cement, chemicals and obviously coal. As well as cutting the emissions from traffic pollution. This is due to unease about the effect pollution is having on the health of the population. Levels of carbon in the air are dangerously high according to the World Health Organisation (WHO). This means that it is not safe for certain members of the population to spend a large amount of time outside. The cities of Shijiazhuang, Beijing and Xingtai are a few of the most serious cases (Bloomberg News, 2014).  


However, the national environmental agencies are in place to check that the policies reducing pollution are actually enforced. The central aim for environmental agencies around the globe is to reduce China’s, and other developing countries, dependence on fossil fuels as the tool for economic growth and development. Action in Chinese cities only seems to be undertaken when levels have already reached a critical stage (BBC, 2014). Furthermore, the local authorities try to deflect the blame of the pollution away from industrialisation and towards ‘outdoor barbecues’ and social causes (Bloomberg News, 2014).


Environmental impacts of pollution include air, water and soil contamination. Fines shall be presented to polluting companies and factories will be closed. These efforts by the Chinese government are an attempt to restore the cities to habitable spaces as quickly as possible (Kaiman, 2014).







Bloomberg News (2014) China Must Reduce ‘Unbearable’ Smog, Government Advisor Says. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 24/02/14].


BBC (2014) China media: Pollution woes. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 24/02/14].


Kaiman, J. (2014) Pollution making Beijing a hazardous place to live. Available [Online] at: [Accessed on: 24/02/14].


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