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  6. Observations on Air Pollution in China

Observations on Air Pollution in China

Efforts to Date

May 2014
Weilin Zhao
Senior Research Associate



China is currently afflicted with severe pollution in its air, rivers, groundwater, and soil. Incidents of environmental pollution occur frequently, and every year more and more demonstrations are held on environmental issues. China, after becoming the second largest economy in the world, has also become a “leading pollution nation.” This comes as a result of China’s economic policy’s slavish devotion to growth over the last 30-plus years. Economic development and environmental damage do not have a straightforward cause-and-effect relationship, but clearly China’s lack of consideration for the environment during its explosive economic growth has led to its current woes.

While China has not sat idly while its pollution problems worsened, its efforts to rein in its environmental damage have been insufficient.

In this report I will first outline the environmental issues in China based on the three main types of waste: gaseous emissions, waste water, and solid waste. Next I will explain the causes of PM2.5 air pollution and examine the effects of mobile pollution sources, such as cars, and fixed sources, such as coal power plants. I will also look at environmental policies and efforts to date and the roles and activities of environmental NGOs. Finally, I propose the strengthening of cooperative efforts among government, businesses, and citizens with clear-cut responsibilities in order to develop effective measures for environmental conservation.

More Information

  • The full text is unavailable in English for this report.
    The original Japanese text is here [1113 KB].