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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid