It’s no news that Beijing is polluted. Especially in the last few months, we have been bombarded by horrible figures and data about air pollution levels. Unfortunately, there is another figure coming from the China Meteorological Administration.
At the beginning of April, they announced that the city have just experienced the smoggiest March in 52 years. Many meteorologists have attributed this phenomenon to the presence of high air pressure all over the country. This led the air (and the pollution in it) to become denser and move towards the ground.
High air pressure can actually increase the perception of pollution, but is not considered one of its causes, which are what the country needs to fight. Nowadays most part of air pollution comes from the burning of fossil fuel (such as oil, gas and coal) on huge scale.
Pollution is not just a Chinese issue. Many countries need to deal with this problem, but a new analysis by the Health Effects Institute (HEI) showed that 40 percent (or 1.2 million people) of the world’s premature deaths attributable to air pollution occurred in China. How will this frightening figure reflect on the lives of China’s inhabitants?
Following the HEI report on April 5, the Natural Resources Defense Council Blog (NRDC) posted an article analyzing the effects of air pollution on children and the elderly in China.
Kids are naturally more vulnerable to the effects of air pollution. Their lungs are not fully developed, so they cannot properly fight infections and it’s easier for pollution to damage their lungs. Children are also more exposed to pollution, as they usually spend more time outdoor than adults.
The elderly are also particularly at risk from air pollution. Their body’s functions are weaker and not able to effectively expel harmful substances in the air. This increases the possibility of them getting heart and lung disease, and may consequently raise the number of premature deaths.
As the public becomes more aware of the problem, the government should also take a stand to fight the rise of pollution and concentrate on trying to solve this problem that puts the Chinese population at risk.
Photo by mkorcuska (Flickr)