A Massive Dust Storm Blankets Beijing With Pollutants and Gas

A Massive Dust Storm Blankets Beijing With Pollutants and Gas

Christopher Owen

 China’s continued reliance on coal for running their industry combined with their high levels of air pollution/carbon emission levels means they are prone to experiencing dust and gas storms that make the air toxic to breathe. This combination has caused Chinese citizens immense suffering from natural hazards in the past. 

Earlier last week, the nation took the full force of a brutal dust storm that covered Beijing in a thick layer of dust and smog, which was the worst storm to hit China in the past 10 years. People living in areas from Xinjiang to the Bohai Sea were impacted by this as the air became nearly impossible to breathe and see-through for many. Hundreds of flights were canceled, schools were closed and entire towns were evacuated as the skies in China turned a murky grey hue and became toxic. 

What had originally started out as primarily a major environmental consequence of China’s mass manufacturing has also developed into a dire health crisis as the health of millions of Chinese citizens is jeopardized on a daily basis. As China’s air pollution levels continuously rise and endanger more people, respiratory illnesses have become more apparent and severe with an average of 1.2 – 1.6 million deaths being directly attributed to illnesses caused by air pollution. This environmental consequence has increased China’s mortality rate from 4% to 7% and with roughly 20% of its population over 60 years of age, this ongoing crisis threatens a greater number of lives every passing day. The urgency to address this issue is growing as global warming worsens, which could exacerbate these disasters to the point where we can no longer reverse the effects. 

China has vowed to be carbon neutral by 2030 by reducing its usage of coal and gradually transferring towards renewable & electric energy, which is an essential step considering that China remains the number one greenhouse gas emitter in the world, producing 10 billion metric tons annually. It aims to cut down their air pollution levels as this climate issue has been negatively impacting the inhabitants of neighboring countries as well. The responsibility to make the world safer and healthier for humanity not only lies in China but all of us do our part in saving our planet from the wrath of climate change. The dust storm that shrouded China last week was just one example of the severe consequences of our actions and if we do not take action now, chances are that it will be far too late to reverse the effects. It is imperative that we work together towards a sustainable future and to mitigate the detrimental effects climate change has on our planet and people around the world. 

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/15/world/asia/china-sandstorm.html


Other Environmental Issues To Be Aware Of:

1) The weakening of Earth’s Gulf Stream. This is posing a severe threat to the East Coast as well as other coastal cities around the world as sea levels rise and heat becomes more concentrated in the atmosphere, leading to less cooling and more devastation. 

Here is the link for further reading: https://earthsky.org/earth/gulf-stream-atlantic-weakest-in-over-1000-years 

2) Indigenous communities in Latin America are fighting to conserve nature. Deforestation in Paraguay and Brazil is endangering thousands of species and the homes of indigenous tribes who rely on the forest for food, water, and shelter. Indigenous communities are fighting to prevent further destruction of forests and protect their homes. 

Here is the link for further reading: https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/11/climate/nature-conservation-30-percent.html