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Solutions to air pollution

By Ratfink | bbs.chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2013-09-11 10:41

As everyone who's ever visited or lived in China knows, in recent years the air pollution problem has become enormous. When you fly in to China it's often in to an insipid pall of pollution, especially if you are flying in to Beijing, Shanghai or Guangzhou. The yellowish cloud of toxicity that overlies many Chinese cities is legendary.

The air pollution is a combination of things, industrial burning and cooling etc as well as vehicles and other sources, with industry being the major polluter. The problem is not just limited to the air, groundwater and soil pollution is now so bad in China that the PRC central government refused to release its last survey results. This maybe due to the fact that they don't want to panic the population or scare of investment.

What can be done about it? Well a lot can be done, firstly China should enforce and reinforce its own pollution laws and then ensure the standards are up to the same as in the first world. Massive fines for serial polluters helps; I'd suggest fines of 10-20% of gross revenue for a year if a business fails to meet the emissions standards. To combat corruption automatic metering systems should be fitted to all smoke stacks and incinerators and results checked by at least 5 offices around China with the offices receiving the data at random. No factory identification other than a number should be given to the office. This would eliminate bribery of pollution monitoring officers. Companies whose meters are non operable should be fined 10% of gross annual turnover for each day the meters are inoperable. A massive carrot and stick is required to ensure adherence to the law. The same basic concept can be used to help combat water pollution.

Recycling probably needs to be better organized. Financial bonuses in the form of tax breaks for companies that use green packaging and or recycle waste would help.

China could also look at implementing best global practices from around the world. The use of LED lighting for example as well as energy management schemes and anti-pollution techniques developed in the west are only going to help China in the long term.

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