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Air Pollution in Beijing Essay Example

Air pollution is the emission of particles or molecules into the Earth’s atmosphere. The particles may include dust, soil, or biological particulates. The particulates have the harmful effect, causing diseases, damage to the crops and vegetation, reducing visibility, and the death of animals and people. The air pollutants are harmful to the atmosphere because they deplete the ozone layer that keeps the human beings safe from the harmful ultra violet rays. The radiation increases the rate of skin cancer.

Nevertheless, human activities contribute to the rise in the toxic gases that go to the atmosphere. The most harmful gases include nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, and carbon dioxide. Sulfur oxides are emitted by various industrial processes of the production (Quora). In addition, sulfur oxides are major components of the petroleum used in many locomotive engines. The combustion of the compounds leads to the emission of sulfur dioxide. Carbon oxides are harmful to the environment. The increase in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a major concern, especially in terms of global warming.

Air pollution poses a significant challenge to China and particularly Beijing City. Currently, the city is suffering from the largest particulates recorded in the history. The particles are likely to cause asthma and other respiratory deformities, such as the shortness in breathing or painful breathing. The cases of the premature deaths from respiratory diseases are on the rise. This paper aims to discuss the reasons for the Beijing pollution, why pollution is a problem in China, and ways of mitigating the problem.

Causes of Air Pollution in Beijing

Many factors have led to the increase in the levels of pollutants beyond the hazardous levels indicated by the World Health Organization. The rapid industrialization in Beijing City is the primary cause of the air pollution. The growing population in China necessitates the use of machines to meet the demand of all people. Therefore, the use of devices is critical to ensure that all personages in the city and its outskirts can access goods and services.

The diversification of the economy allows for the emergence of the manufacturing, construction, processing, and assembly industries to thrive. All the industries are significant in ensuring that essential goods are available on the free market. The increase in the secondary industries in Beijing has led to the growth in the use of fossil fuels, mainly the petroleum products, natural gases, and the coal. The burning of fossil fuels at different levels of production is one of the primary causes of pollution in Beijing.

The increase in urbanization has contributed to the air pollution in the city. The movement of people from rural areas to the urban has detrimental effects because it leads to more emission of carbon dioxide. Coupled with the encroachment to the green belts, the extent of pollution is likely to increase.

Lack of measures to deal with human wastes is also a contributor toward the growth of contamination. Inadequate disposal mechanisms lead people to burning the wastes. The advance leads to the increase in the amounts of carbon and sulfur oxides that get to the atmosphere. Although burning happens on a small scale, the practices have resulted in the increase in pollution in the city over time.

Continuous burning of wastes and compounds that contain high levels of carbon, such as car tires, has increased the pollution rate in the city. The compounds take the time to disperse in the air, thereby leading to their accumulation in the atmosphere. The mixture of the compounds and the atmospheric moisture lead to a dense smog that is likely to decrease the visibility.

According to Parsons, lack of wind has resulted in the increase in the pollution of Beijing City. The wind is an essential natural mechanism for reducing the amounts of pollutants in the atmosphere. The wind results from the existence of pressure gradients. Consequently, the wind moves from areas with high concentration of particles to the areas with the low concentration. Therefore, the wind is a central pollutant dispersing mechanism.
Destruction of the environment in Beijing, such as trees, has led to the increase in the concentration of pollutants in one area. Vegetation helps create potential gradients that allow free air circulation. The wind turbulence allows the air from lower levels of the atmosphere into the high strata of the environment, and vice versa. Therefore, the mixing of the atmospheric layers leads to the reduction in the pollutants from the low levels. For this reason, lack of wind aids the concentration of pollutants. The concentration of the pollutants over extended periods has dire consequences for people and the environment.

The enormous car ownership has contributed to the increase in the pollution over the Beijing sky. With the growing economy, many people are engaging in the formal and informal sectors, thereby moving from one place to another. The increase in the use of both public and private cars has led to the rise in the burning of the petroleum products, such as petrol and diesel. These products emit carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide on combustion that is harmful to the environment. In addition, the products have lead, a residual that covers the vegetation. The increase in the use of cars forms the second largest source of the particulates in the atmosphere. The coal power, additionally, leads to smog, which corrodes the vegetation upon precipitation.

Vegetation plays a vital role in reducing atmospheric pollution since areas with enough vegetation allow adequate circulation of air, thereby moving the pollutants from the point of formation to other sectors. In addition, the plant utilizes carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, leading to the decrease in the amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Therefore, the more the vegetation, the greater is the rate of use of the carbon gas from the atmosphere. Consequently, the process of photosynthesis will be able to deal adequately with the poisonous gases resulting from natural and man-made activities.

Effects of Air Pollution in Beijing

Air pollution has led to the increase in the respiratory and heart diseases of many people in and around the city. Air pollution is a risk factor for some health conditions, especially lung cancer, respiratory infections, heart diseases, and strikes. Air pollution has adverse effects such as difficulty breathing, coughing, and worsening of existing respiratory and heart conditions. The unfavorable impacts of air pollution have led to the increased visits to hospitals in the city, leading to wastage of production hours. Air pollution is one of the leading causes of premature death, especially among children and young people resulting mostly from the respiratory and heart conditions. In addition, air pollution accounts for the most cases of lung cancer in the city.

Air pollution in Beijing is responsible for the acid rain in the city. Burning of fossil fuels causes the emission of nitrogen, sulfur, and carbon oxides. Upon emission, the gases interact with the atmospheric water vapor to form acidic rain. Acidic rain is a problem for humans, vegetation, and structures. For people, the acid rain causes a burning sensation on the skin. The burning sensation, in turn, causes itching effects to the person. The effects can escalate to cause personal injuries as a result of continuous scratching of particular points on the human skin.

Air pollution presents a problem because it depletes the stratospheric layer known as the ozone layer. Ozone is significant in the human life because it deters the harmful UV radiation from getting to the Earth’s surface (Conserve-Energy Future). Depletion of the layer allows more UV ration to penetrate, leading to the increase in the cases of skin cancer. Cancer cases are likely to contribute to rising mortality rate of skilled labor. The advance has dire impacts of slowing the economic growth rate of the city and the state in general.

Air pollution poses a great danger to the aviation industry in the city. Pilots require that the visibility be over forty kilometers. Upon the interaction of the gases with the atmospheric water vapor, the gases form a dense substance called smog. The smog is hazardous to the aviation industry because it reduces the visibility. Therefore, pilots find problems in maneuvering their aircraft. The reduced visibility can lead to aircraft accidents, especially during landing and takeoff. Accidents within the aviation industry can give rise to the loss of lives and destruction of property.

Fixing Air Pollution in Beijing

There are many solutions to dealing with air pollution. The use of public transport can help deal with the deteriorating state of the pollution in Beijing City. The advance discourages people from using private cars. With the reduction in the number of vehicles used, there is likelihood of a decrease in the consumption of fossil fuels. Therefore, less of harmful gases are likely to reach the atmosphere.

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Adopting clean energy is a bold step to mitigating the adverse effects of air pollution. Clean energy minimizes the use of fossil fuels to generate electricity. For example, using solar cars presents no air pollution because the cars do not emit harmful gases. Furthermore, the use of the Sun for cooking instead of charcoal helps reduce the amount of carbon gases that end up in the atmosphere. Therefore, adopting clean energy is capable of dealing with air pollution.

Conservation of energy can help address the high levels of toxic gases. Turning the lights off when they are not needed can be a good measure in curbing the pollution. Conserving energy, such as electricity, minimizes the use of petroleum products employed by electricity generating machines. Therefore, the method conserves the environment because the burning of fossils is minimal.

The utilization of electric devices that minimize power use can significantly deal with the sorry state of Beijing City. While the concept of waste reuse may not receive enough spectatorship, the recycling of products can help combat air pollution.

Eradicating air pollution requires dedication from all sectors in the city. Campbell-Dollaghan dictates that cloud seeding can be a crucial tool for reducing the amount of smog in the atmosphere. Cloud seeding requires the use of aircraft to dump chemicals into the air. The primary compounds to be used in this process are potassium iodide or liquid propane. The chemicals compact the existing smog making it too heavy to stay in the atmosphere. Consequently, the haze falls on the surface of the Earth with all the particulates and harmful particles, such as PM 2.5.

The need to eradicate air pollution has attracted efforts from non-governmental bodies to fight the problem. The China Center for the International Economic Exchanges is at the forefront of the fight against the problem. The think tank is collaborating with other international organizations in its endeavor to clean the air in the industrial zones of Beijing. The collaboration involves planning and identifying the best technological integration to be used in combating the problem.

On the other hand, the Chinese government has issued measures to combat the widespread pollution. The government has issued measures to reduce the emission by 30% from the heavily polluting industries by the end of 2017. However, the rules do not outline the industries considered as heavily polluting. The government has previously declared that the cement, iron, steel, and petrochemicals industries are the most polluting. In addition, the government intends to enhance the control of the PM 2.5 pollution. While the government of China looks into the ways of combating the increase in the harmful gases in the sky, the use of the models to tackle the trouble can be the way to go. The models allow for reliable forecasting of the extent of the pollution.

China can make use of Hestia Model to control the air pollution in Beijing City. The model is currently in use in the Salt Lake County. The model accurately estimates the amount of pollution from individual buildings and the major roads in the county on an hourly basis. Therefore, China can use the model to determine the amounts of pollution emanating from each of the building in the city. In addition, the city officials can track the amount of emission from each of the roads and identify the times of the day the pollution occurs.

Hestia model created by the Arizona State University draws the data from the county records detailing the uses and sizes of building, the traffic counts and state level emissions data (U News Center). Beijing City, therefore, should start emission records from the major buildings and factories, start making traffic records for the main roads used by the most polluting vehicles to facilitate the utilization of the model. Data from the above sources will aid the model in developing maps that clearly depict the levels of pollution from the roads and the buildings.

Hestia Model uses the mathematical formulas to calculate the carbon dioxide emissions from street segments. Beijing can implement the model to help measure amounts of carbon dioxide from the major industries. More advanced form of the model used in Utah can detect greenhouse gases such as sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and solid particulates. The tracking of the greenhouse gases is possible because the pollutants are co-emitted with carbon dioxide. The model is primarily used to track carbon dioxide emission in Los Angeles and Phoenix city.

The implementation of the model in Beijing City will be a progressive step in the dealing with major health issues, enhance urban planning and creating sustainable measures in dealing with pollution in Beijing and other major cities. The high-resolution maps from the model will be of great importance to the lawmakers and the public to identify the measures to take to avoid escalation of pollution to higher levels.

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Air pollution is the emission of poisonous gases into the atmosphere. Air pollution in Beijing, China, is a result of individual aspects or a combination of factors. Heavy industrialization and urbanization are some of the major causes of increase in pollution. The industries rely on the coal power that produces most of the pollutants. The rise in the use of individual cars has further worsened air pollution in the city. The air particulates present significant problems to the humans and the environment.

Air pollutants, for example, corrode the ozone layer, permitting the UV radiation that causes cancer. In addition, air pollution is a threat to the aviation industry due to the increasing smog that obstructs visibility. The emission of poisonous gases is the chief contributor to respiratory infections and the increase in premature deaths.

The government and non-governmental organizations are engaging in activities aimed at reducing air pollution. The measures include the enhancement of the PM 2.5 particles control. While the measures are in good faith, the government needs to incorporate the use of software or models to forecast the extent of pollution and devise ways of combating the problem.

China Government can consider implementing Hestia Model to map the carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases emissions from individual buildings and street sections in Beijing City. The model is in practice in Salt Lake County, Los Angeles City and Phoenix City.

Literature Review

“Conserve-Energy Future.” Conserve-energy-future.com. (n.d). Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

This home page offers insights into air pollution. The homepage defines air pollution as the introduction of the chemical, biological and solid particulates to the atmosphere. The page indicates some of the common sources of pollutants that get into the atmosphere. The burning of fossil fuels contributes to most of the poisonous gases in the atmosphere. Furthermore, the page cites global warming, respiratory and heart troubles, and acid rain as some of the impacts of the massive air pollution.

Parsons, Chris. “Beijing air pollution: What is causing record-breaking smog in China?” (2013).

Parson’s article highlights some of the causes of the pollution. Parson attributes the increase in Beijing pollution to the lack of the wind in most sectors of the city. The wind plays a significant role in propelling the plume from the point of emission. Furthermore, Parson highlights industrialization and reliance on the coal power as the leading causes of increase in the amounts of pollutants in the sky over Beijing. In addition, the high car ownership in the city is an important cause of the pollution.

“Quora.” Quora.com. (n.d.)Web. 25 Nov. 2015.

Quora page uses a pie graph to depict by percentage the primary sources of pollutants that get into the atmosphere over the city of Beijing. The report from the University of Leeds divides the sources and gives a percentage beside each source. For example, coal pollution accounts for 16.7% of the total emission. However, the page insinuates that the highest sources of pollutants in Beijing City are from neighboring districts.

Campbell-Dollaghan, Kelsey.”Four Ideas to Fix Beijing’s Smog Airpocalypse, And One That Will Work.” GIZMODO. (2015).

Campbell’s article postulates measures that the government of China can use in combating the air pollution problem. According to the author, the government should adopt one or all of the ideas presented. One of the ideas is to use cloud seeding to remove all the smog in the atmosphere. Campbell describes the process as the use of the chemicals such as potassium iodide to compact the smog to heavy levels. The smog then precipitates in the form of rain and washes away all the particulates.

“U News Center.” unews.utah.edu. 4 May 2015. Web. 25 Nov. 2015

The web page describes the use of Hestia model as a new way of tracking and combating air pollution. The page describes the use of the model to track carbon dioxide emissions in Salt Lake County. The model has the capacity of monitoring emissions from individual buildings and streets segments in the county. In addition, the model is capable of tracking the emissions in the hour they occur. The high-resolution maps from the model allow for finer analysis of the toxic gases and aid the city planners, lawmakers and the public to use the maps to improve the air quality, reduce the amounts of emission, and provide measures of dealing with health issues.

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