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You are reading about: Air pollution

Over the last year we’ve discussed the problem of air pollution nearly a dozen times, and while this is a pressing issue that effects hundreds of millions of people, there is a bigger environmental challenge facing China – water pollution. More specifically, there is a shortage of water that can be used. You can tell it is a serious problem, given the frank discussion of the issue in the People’s Daily, and that unlike smoking or public defecation, it has its own public service campaign. A recent article from People’s Daily highlights some of the problems (it’s worth reading the full thing): UP to 40 percent of China’s rivers were seriously polluted last year after 75 billion tons of sewage and waste water was discharged into them 20 percent of rivers were so polluted their water quality was rated too toxic even to come into contact with nearly 300 million rural residents lack access to drinking water The per capita of water resources is only 2,100 cubic meters annually, or about 28 percent of the world’s average About two-thirds of Chinese cities are “water-needy” Unlike air pollution, water shortages (caused partially by pollution and industry) disproportionaly effects the poor. For […]


On Friday morning I was taking a group of foreign guests to visit sites around Nanjing when a heavy smog blanketed the city in a yellow stench. It seemed as if every family in the city of over 7 million had lit a pile of tires ablaze. Within 20 minutes of being outside I started feeling asthma like symptoms, meaning that it actually hurt to breathe. After the experience I was eager to check the official Air Quality Index (updated daily) to see just how severe the pollution had been. Unfortunately, these are not posted in a timely enough manner to be of any use in avoiding this kind of hazard. So you can imagine my surprise in learning that “officially” the air quality on Friday was […]


Pollution is something that has really become a concern for me here in Nanjing. The main reason for this is that I have had a sore throat and cough for about 3 months, and after x-rays and blood tests I have been declared healthy, even though I feel far from that. I blame pollution for this, since that seems to make more sense than the ideas my co-workers have come up with. One thought it was because I work in a hospital, which isn’t the worst idea, except that I am not even in the same building as patients. Another thought was that I don’t wash my hands enough, which simply isn’t true, thoroughly washing my hands like a surgeon while wearing my doctor’s coat […]


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