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What You Should Know Before Heading To Beijing China | READ!

A new study suggests that air pollution is even worse than thought.
Pollution is sky-high everywhere in China. Some 83% of Chinese are exposed to air that, in America, would be deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency either to be unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups. Almost half the population of China experiences levels of PM2.5 that are above America’s highest threshold. That is even worse than the satellite data had suggested.
Berkeley Earth’s scientific director, Richard Muller, says breathing Beijing’s air is the equivalent of smoking almost 40 cigarettes a day and calculates that air pollution causes 1.6m deaths a year in China, or 17% of the total. A previous estimate, based on a study of pollution in the Huai river basin (which lies between the Yellow and Yangzi rivers), put the toll at 1.2m deaths a year—still high.
The sliver of good news is that pollution levels are better in some places than in others. They are worst in the corridor between Beijing and Shanghai and least bad in the south (see map—the study covers China east of 95ºE, accounting for 97% of China’s population), probably because that area was washed by monsoon rains during the period of the study. More importantly, levels of PM2.5 in large western cities such as Chongqing and Chengdu are about half the national average. Figuring out what they are doing right would be a first step towards reducing the smog elsewhere.

Pollution is sky-high everywhere in China. Some 83% of Chinese are exposed to air that, in America, would be deemed by the Environmental Protection Agency either to be unhealthy or unhealthy for sensitive groups. Almost half the population of China experiences levels of PM2.5 that are above America’s highest threshold. That is even worse than the satellite data had suggested.
Berkeley Earth’s scientific director, Richard Muller, says breathing Beijing’s air is the equivalent of smoking almost 40 cigarettes a day and calculates that air pollution causes 1.6m deaths a year in China, or 17% of the total. A previous estimate, based on a study of pollution in the Huai river basin (which lies between the Yellow and Yangzi rivers), put the toll at 1.2m deaths a year—still high.
The sliver of good news is that pollution levels are better in some places than in others. They are worst in the corridor between Beijing and Shanghai and least bad in the south (see map—the study covers China east of 95ºE, accounting for 97% of China’s population), probably because that area was washed by monsoon rains during the period of the study. More importantly, levels of PM2.5 in large western cities such as Chongqing and Chengdu are about half the national average. Figuring out what they are doing right would be a first step towards reducing the smog elsewhere.

The Economist

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