How Not to Fight Air Pollution

I’m looking at you, China.

In the past decade, the number of cases of lung cancer in Beijing have increased by over 50 percent. Just a couple of weeks ago, an eight year old girl was diagnosed with lung cancer! Take a moment to process that: lung cancer is a disease that smokers get. Can you imagine how many harmful chemicals that little girl was breathing in to have lung cancer by her eighth birthday?

Luckily, China has a short term solution for its air pollution disaster (hey, short term solution is better than no solution). They are currently prohibiting coal plants for being built as well as shutting down existing plants. To give you a rough idea of how dependent on coal China is: over three-quarters of their energy needs are met by utilizing coal. Now they’re planning on building synthetic natural gas plants as replacements.


Synthetic natural gas (SNG) is created by mining coal and converting it into natural gas. Unfortunately, this process creates 36 to 82 percent MORE greenhouse gas emissions than burning coal directly does. This process also requires a lot of water to take place (18x higher than coal).

These plants are being built in rural areas, so the skies above major cities can remain a beautiful blue for all the tourists to ogle at. The skies around rural areas where farmers, herders, and many ethnic minorities live will turn to a acidic greenish-yellow color before long.

So basically China needs to find a solution that isn’t going to harm its people and destroy its lands/atmosphere. Simple, right?

You can read more about their plans by following this link:


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