China’s air pollution crisis: Coal is the major cause

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For weeks northern China has been covered in a thick toxic smog. It is one of the worst episodes of air pollution the country has seen, affecting 460 million people.

Coal is the major cause, and will continue to be the country’s biggest source of energy and air pollution. Although billions have been pledged for renewable energy, 200 new coal power plants will be built across the country.

For the last month, severe air pollution has choked Beijing and coal is estimated to cause about 40 per cent of the smog in the nation’s capital.

Other cities in the north, such as Shijiazhuang, have recorded air quality of 1000 PM2.5. PM2.5 are fine particles less than 2.5 micrometres in diameter that can lodge in the lungs and get into the bloodstream. The World Health Organisation says anything over 25 PM2.5 as a health hazard.

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