China is home to one of the world’s fastest-growing economies and, much like other countries who developed before her, air quality is a serious problem.
China’s economic growth hasn’t been without its growing pains. The need for power and transportation has been filled by quick and easy solutions, coal-fired power plants and millions of barely-functional automobiles. As a result, the air quality is so bad in some cities in China that it is killing the very young and old at alarming rates.
Chinese authorities recognize the link between its uncontrolled growth and worsening air quality, but implementing change is proving to be more than difficult. Recently, to ease PM2.5 (soot) and smog generation, major cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, have shut down both road traffic and air traffic. Of course, this is just a temporary fix, and China really needs to get these air quality risks eliminated.
Part of the air quality solution for China includes some new law regarding the coal plants, some of which are to be shut down, and others which will be required to install pollution controls. Regarding traffic, millions of vehicles that don’t meet the new air quality standards need to be taken off the road. Chinese authorities plan on eliminating some 5.3 million vehicles from the roads.
The only problem with this plan is, what will the current owners do about it? Previously, volunteers received between $400 and $2,300 for their cars, a sort of Chinese “Cash for Clunkers” program, but no word this time on any incentives. Then, of course, there is rampant corruption and poor implementation of the laws, as well as plenty of loopholes that will keep many of these air quality hazards on the road, contributing to the already serious public health hazard.
Photo credit: Saf’