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How Air Pollution Is Slowly Killing Us

Pollution, global warming and climate change; these are all phenomena’s that we are now very attuned too. Air pollution is one such phenomenon. It refers to the contamination of the air we breathe whether we are at home or out on the streets. It occurs basically when harmful chemicals, gases, smoke and dust enter the atmosphere and alter the chemical makeup of pure air. It can be classified into two types; invisible air pollution and visible air pollution.

There are also two types of pollutants that contaminate the air. These are:

  1. Primary air pollutants - these are chemicals that directly infect the air; they include things like sulphur-dioxide which is emitted from factories.
  2. Secondary air pollutants - these are pollutants that are formed when a primary pollutant mingles with the air. They include things like smog which is created when two different primary pollutants inter mingle together.

Air Pollution in China

Although air pollution is a major issue in most countries, in China the issue is lethal. It is responsible for the death of approximately 4000 people a day. A research carried out by the University of California Berkeley claimed that 1.6 million people died every year in the country because of heart diseases, lung diseases and strokes. All of these health issues are products of the incredibly polluted air of the country and the small particles of haze which get absorbed in the respiratory system.

The number one source of air pollution in China is, coal. It is responsible for 80% of electrical generation as well as 70% of the total energy generation in the country. Most of the coal being used is cheap quality high sulphur variety. It is consistently used because of its low price and cost efficiency. About six million tonnes of the fuel is used every day. It does everything from powering factories, to heating homes and cooking meals. As the number of people with cars has risen in the country, so has the amount of traffic jams and pollution. Carbon emission is at sky high rates. Researches have shown that the worst air to breathe in America is still cleaner than the air everyone breathes in China every single day.

With such bad pollution it is no wonder that China has the highest respiratory disease ration in the world. However, the country has vowed to curb its rampant pollution problem and has promised to cut back 60% of carbon emissions by 2020.

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