China Environmental News Digest

Daily updated Environmental news related to China

Thursday, May 25, 2006

China Gets Serious About Air Quality

KGO By David Louie

- China is apparently getting serious about it's air quality problem. Industrialization has led to a major spike in pollution there. The World Bank says emissions are up by 33-percent in just 10 years.

Shanghai has become a modern city filled with high-rises, factories and clogged roads, filling the air with pollutants. The air is sometimes stagnant and hazy in many major cities as china becomes the world's factory.

C.S. Kiang, Ph.D., Peking University: "I think they pay a very severe consequence. The pollution in the air, the pollution in the water, the pollution in the soil. I think the most serious thing also... impact on their health."

C.S. Kiang is a physicist and dean of the Peking University College of Environmental Sciences. He's in Berkeley this week to participate in a major UC initiative to get China and the U.S. to work together on climate change.

The World Bank says China is second only to the U.S. in creating pollution.

Much of China's problems are caused by its coal-burning power plants. It hopes to shift more toward hydroelectric, nuclear and wind generation.

Experts say China is also trying to set a good example as it plays a more visible role in the world.

Gary Guzy, JD, environmental risk analyst: "With the Olympics moving to Beijing, China knows that it's part and parcel of the world community. It's working hard to attract global business and to be a respected player and to get its own house in order to address some of the very difficult pollution issues that it has."

An explosion at a petrochemical plant last November in northeast China contaminated the Songhua River, leaving four million residents of Harbin without water for four days.

The road ahead is both long and challenge for the U.S. and China. China realizes this is a global problem and is developing bilateral initiatives with Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom as well.

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