China’s pollution is blowing into the western US

Brittany A. Roston - Aug 12, 2015, 1:41pm CDT
China’s pollution is blowing into the western US

China’s pollution is making its way across the ocean to the western United States, according to new research. The report details ozone (‘smog’, essentially) from China being blown by winds across the Pacific ocean to the westernmost states, bringing with it negative health and environmental consequences, including irritation of the respiratory system. One of the researchers who participated in the study quipped that China is, essentially, “Exporting its air pollution to the West Coast of America.”

The issue revolves around tropospheric ozone, which is the primary component in the smog pollution that shrouds some regions in China. Smog is described as a very strong irritant for the respiratory system, prompting those in affected cities to wear face masks and take other steps to avoid breathing it in. At times, residents are advised to stay indoors, and temporary bans are placed on things like air and car travel in an effort to curb pollution levels.

China’s efforts to reduce air pollution have, in some cases, been successful, and the nation has announced plans to cut down on its total greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

Air pollution remains a problem despite this, and now it is having a strong impact on the US — according to the research, pollution being blown from China has reduced the western states’ emissions reduction efforts by approximately 43-percent.

The US is not free of blame in such cases, however, given that a large percentage of China’s pollution results from its export manufacturing, and the United States is one of the largest recipients of those exported goods. Says the researchers, “We conclude that global efforts may be required to address regional air quality and climate change.”

SOURCE: ThinkProgress


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