News / USA

Study: Chinese Exports Linked to US Pollution

Pollution Outsourced to China Returns to USi
X
January 22, 2014 11:14 PM
The smog that frequently chokes China comes partially from factories that supply the rest of the world with shoes, toys, electronics and other goods -- according to a new study. But as VOA’s Steve Baragona reports, some of that pollution made in China also winds up being exported.
Roughly one quarter of the air pollution choking China comes from factories supplying the rest of the world with shoes, electronics, toys, and almost everything else, according to a new study.
 
But according to a team of U.S. and Chinese researchers, the smog made in China does not stay there. Findings of their work published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicate the pollution is drifting across the Pacific Ocean and clouding air in the United States.
 
Focusing on 2006, the study finds that export industries produce one-third of China’s sulfur dioxide, one-fourth of its nitrogen oxides, one-fourth of its carbon monoxide, and one-sixth of its black carbon.
 
By first analyzing the amount of pollution generated by producing each good or service, the group then determined what proportion of those goods and services was exported.
 
Study co-author Steven Davis at the University of California, Irvine, says the research places images of the heavily polluted country in a different context.
 
“Maybe a quarter of what you are seeing when you see pictures of that Chinese pollution and everyone wearing masks has to do with goods they are making for other parts of the world,” he said.
 
Of the export-related pollution, 21 percent was due to trade with the United States, the researchers said, a significant portion of which boomeranged back to China.
 
Using atmospheric models, the researchers determined that as much as a quarter of the sulfur dioxide polluting the air over the western United States that year came from China.
 
California Air Resources Board officials say the Los Angeles area had 120 excessive-ozone days in 2006, of which, atmospheric models indicate, Chinese pollution contributed to two extra days.
 
“We do have pollution still in this country,” Davis said. “We are not completely blameless.”
 
But the pollution did not stop at the West Coast. Chinese emissions also added two non-compliant days in Chicago and the surrounding areas, which had fewer than 10 in 2006, and regions on the East Coast were affected as well.
 
The authors note that while Chinese air has grown dirtier, it has grown cleaner in the northern and eastern United States as manufacturing has leave these regions — often for China.
 
“What this paper is saying is that China is playing a role in terms of polluting U.S. air," said Texas A&M University atmospheric chemist Renyi Zhang, who was not involved in the research. "But the United States is actually playing a role as well because we are exporting the trading to the Chinese.”
 
That, says Davis, puts some of the onus for China’s polluted air on the United States and the other countries that rely on its export industries.
 
“Insofar as you believe consumers somewhere down the road should bear some responsibility for the pollution that goes on to produce the goods and services they are consuming, the rest of the world has some responsibility to help China clean up that problem,” he said.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Kitagawa Keikoh from: Daikanyama, TKO
January 25, 2014 6:46 PM
OK. Let's stop exporting from China, and crush Chinese economy. That is the only one solution to make world better.

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 24, 2014 1:07 PM
Since 1972, the US has encouraged China to be more like the US, and it has succeeded in the areas of economic and industrial development that have also brought pollution. China recently passed the US in overall pollution, but each American produces four times as much pollution as each Chinese citizen. China exceeds US pollution because it has four and one half times as many people as the US.

In late 2011, at the Durban Climate Change Conference, China presented a $1.7 trillion, 22 point, 5 year ($340 billion per year) plan to reduce pollution. The first results should be noticed by mid-2014 and should continue through late 2016 when the next 5 year pollution reduction plan should begin. Three decades of fast economic growth will take decades to clean.

In the 1970's, Canada complained of US coal plants sending acid rain to Canada's eastern forests, but the US rejected the claim of its northern NATO ally. The US will have difficulty accusing China of any responsibility for pollution that is measured in the US owing to past US denials of US responsibility. The US should work with China and share anti-pollution technology that will aid both countries and the entire world. The earth is one planet with one atmosphere that all living things must breathe, so cooperation is necessary.

by: Vu from: Japan
January 23, 2014 9:03 PM
" the rest of the world has some responsibility to help China clean up that problem" ← why ???? China has been using all means to make their fotune and now they are asking for the help ? LoL
Remember that the products that the world is consuming is not produced in China only , there are a lot produced in VietNam, Indonesia, Thailand,etc as well , but why in those countries , the polution issue is not like that in China ??
In Response

by: MikeBarnett from: USA
January 24, 2014 4:08 PM
To: Vu from Japan

The reason for the "responsibility" is in two parts. In my earlier comment, I pointed out that America was the carrot, but Japan was the stick. In the 1930's and 1940's, Japan invaded China with artillery, machine guns, tanks, and aircraft. China suffered great losses and decided to build the industrial power needed to prevent technologically advanced countries from inflicting such losses on China again.

The second part is that much of China's eastern industrial base extends from Harbin to Shanghai, and earth's prevailing winds move air from west to east. If Japan chooses to ignore China's pollution, then Japan will transform its sky into a gas chamber to increase lung diseases for its citizens. Cooperation in control of China's pollution is better than fighting diseases in Japan.
In Response

by: Sino-phobia from: Rest of the World
January 24, 2014 1:26 AM
"why in those countries , the polution issue is not like that in China ??"-----The answer to this question is very simple. That is becasue Chinese are irresponsible for every thing; for instance, they export toxic food for other countries' children, meat including cardboard. Chinese have no sense of ethics and do not mind whether or not other people will be killed by chinese food.

by: Dave from: Wisconsin
January 23, 2014 1:58 PM
They had to do a study to figure that out?!?!

by: Frank from: O. County, USA
January 23, 2014 5:19 AM
Chinese are trouble makers who pollute air of the whole world, invade and bully the neighboring countries, export poisonous food, rob other countries of natural resources, and do other evil things. Chinese will be choked by PM 2.5 produced by themselves.

by: SR from: Guanzhou
January 23, 2014 4:34 AM
pot is calling the kettle black.

by: Beilei from: China
January 23, 2014 2:34 AM
I think what Davis said is too subjective, maybe he should do a experiment test one product and test how much polluted air left when across Parcific where the air is windy, clean and flow very well. Academic Journal should forbid this kind of no-evidence views.

by: Chris Brown
January 22, 2014 5:28 PM
Hope a solution is found. What are the main causes of the Chinese exports causing the pollution.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs