Opinion / Blog

My vision for a smog-free China

By eddieturkson ( Updated: 2016-03-10 16:11

My vision for a smog-free China

A couple tackle the pollution in a shopping district amid heavy smog after the capital issued its first ever "red alert" for air pollution on Dec 8, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

I’ve lived in China for quite a considerable time including my graduate school years, travelled and worked in a few cities and still choose my destination taking into consideration the density of smog or PM2.5 particulate matter in the region.

Being a naturalist, I live a life which I try as much as possible to avoid manmade environmental hazards especially smoke or smog-filled environments. But that’s sort of a dream living in a country where heavy smog is a common occurrence and clear blue skies in smog-hot-spots are hailed as a national achievement.

So if I’m asked what my vision for a prosperous China is, what would that be? And the only thing that could come to mind was ‘a smog-free China. That if Beijing and its surroundings for example are going to achieve the government set target of reducing pollution by 40 percent from 2013 level by 2020, then a single day in each week should be strictly set aside as a national anti-pollution day.

Particulate Matter

Particulate matter, or PM, is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. Particles can be suspended in the air for long periods of time. Some particles are large or dark enough to be seen as soot or smog. Others are so small that individually they can only be detected with an electron microscope.

Many manmade and natural sources emit PM directly or emit other pollutants that react in the atmosphere to form PM. These solid and liquid particles come in a wide range of sizes.

Particles less than 10 micrometers in diameter (PM10) pose a health concern because they can be inhaled into and accumulate in the respiratory system. Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as "fine" particles and are believed to pose the greatest health risks. Because of their small size (approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deeply into the lungs.

My vision

My vision is to see China rid its atmosphere of these pollutants that kill millions each year and scare foreign talents out of the country. I envision that as the country prepares to create more opportunities for foreign talents it would adhere to strict set-measures that could eventually make the perennial smog-scare in major cities a thing of the past.

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