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Map of global air-particulate pollution  (Source: Aaron van Donkelaar, Dalhousie University)
Industrial sector of this region has the highest concentration of particulates

Canadian scientists have developed a map of global air-particulate pollution using National Aeronautics and Space Administration satellite data, and it shows that China's air quality is very poor compared to the rest of the world. 

Aaron van Donkelaar and Randall Martin from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada created the map using satellite data because they believed ground-based detection would be "spotty" in areas or nonexistent. The data used for the map is from 2001 to 2006. 

The map of global air-particulate pollution shows fine particulate matter density worldwide through color-coding, where white and dark blue areas have the lowest concentration of particulates and dark red areas have the highest concentration of particulates. The reddest part of the entire map is Eastern China's industrial area.

Despite the fact that the data used for the map is from 2001 to 2006, The Wall Street Journal noted in July that China's air quality is getting worse, and has not improved since the time period of this data.

In fact, more recent studies, such as the research conducted by a team of scientists who studied air pollution along the Yangtze River Delta in China, proves that China's air quality is only getting worse. This particular study concluded that the Yangtze River Delta is one of the most densely populated areas in the world and the "fastest growing economic development region in China." The area has seen drastic increases in atmospheric emissions and energy consumption, which led the team of researchers to use the Community Multiscale Air Quality model along with an emission inventory to measure baseline concentrations in order to calculate health risks and construct control strategies.

Many health issues arise from poor air quality because fine particulates are capable of passing the body's cilia defenses and penetrating the lungs and blood. Bronchitis, cardiovascular disease and asthma are a few of the illnesses that can come from poor air quality. Through both of these studies, researchers can better understand what China is up against and can develop ways to counter it, saving hundreds of millions of people who live in this area from chronic disease.

This study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives.

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Some thoughts to ponder
By Bengul on 9/29/2010 12:16:32 AM , Rating: 2
Yes China has very serious pollution problems, but it is too simple to just point the finger at China. It would be crazy to say that their problems have nothing to do with the west. Why do so many US and EU countries produce their products in China? Because it is not sustainable in their own countries. Let's face it, the majority of industry is simply not sustainable. If it was they would still be manufacturing in the US (I wonder what the pollution map would look like then?).

Lead in paint, cutting corners on quality. These are serious problems and there are many reasons why they occur. But I wonder what it would be like if you didn't have US and EU companies squeezing every dollar out of already very meager profit margins, playing suppliers off one another, or demanding that you next year give me the same product for x% cheaper or we go somewhere else.

China is getting more expensive. Eventually it will no longer be sustainable for our "sustainable" western companies and they will move somewhere else to exploit the cheap labor and lax environmental regulations.

On another note, China does have environmental and labor laws (some of which are more stringent than the west), although there is still a problem with implementation in many regions. China is also one the largest investors in renewable energy in the world
Last year, China doubled the investment the US made in clean energy, spending more than 34.6 billion to our 18.6 billion (

If we really want to solve the problem we need to address the issues at the company or consumer level. Either we as consumers need to be willing to pay more or companies need to be willing to make less profit. Right now we have the exact opposite occurring.

Lets face it, under the current model jobs in manufacturing will not be coming back to the states anytime soon, whether it is China or any other country doing the manufacturing.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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