What Can Beijing Learn From Los Angeles’ Pollution Problem?

California hosts the top five most air-polluted cities in America Experts suggest that in the 1960s, LA’s ozone pollution was even worse than in present-day Beijing

So how bad is LA’s pollution now? And how does it compare to other cities worldwide? Well, the World Health Organization and the American Lung Association both measure air pollution primarily by how many fumes and particles exist in the air we breathe The fumes come from sources like power plants or car exhaust, and are referred to as “ozone” or “smog” Particles, on the other hand, are solid, and most evident in dust and smoke Our body is equipped to expel larger particles by coughing or sneezing, but anything less than 25 microns in diameter can get stuck in the lungs and enter the bloodstream

This can trigger lung cancer, heart disease and strokes One researcher has compared living in a polluted city like Beijing to smoking one and a half cigarettes every hour In the US, Los Angeles is the worst Ozone-polluted city, due to its massive car population, and Fresno is the most particle-polluted, as a result of brush fires and other burning of fossil fuels California’s pollution restrictions are some of the nation’s strongest, but the recent drought has thwarted recent efforts to clean up the air However, things HAVE improved over the last half century

At point in 1954, LA was said to have “virtually shut down” for a month due to smog Today, LA’s annual mean density for small particles in the air is 20 micrograms per cubic meter, and Fresno’s density is rated 45 micrograms per cubic meter Comparatively, Beijing’s annual mean comes to about 56 micrograms per cubic meter This is much improved from a mere decade earlier The city smog once merited the nickname “airpocalypse”, and China was home to 16 of the planet’s 20 most air-polluted cities

One recent report even suggested that pollution had contributed to more than 4,000 Chinese deaths every day However, Beijing’s pollution levels have since gone down and China is taking steps to drastically curb emissions They have set goals for emission reduction in international conferences, and they have threatened to shut down factories which don’t comply to guidelines This is not that different from the steps LA took to reduce their own pollution The Clean Air Acts in 1963 and 1970 began a revolutionary change in air pollution regulation for California and other smoggy regions

Laws mandated strict limits on regional pollution, and were enforced by hefty fines “Spare-the-air” days were introduced to the public to cut down on wood-burning smoke The government also offered more education and benefits to those who were interested in being more eco-friendly But other cities, especially in developing countries, do little to deal with pollution Today the most polluted city in the world is New Delhi in India, where existing anti-pollution laws are weak and inconsistently enforced

International politicians encourage countries like China and India to make new pledges to reduce emissions, like some did in 1997 with the Kyoto Protocol As global warming and environmental change become increasingly important, it will be vital for polluted countries to clean up their act Want a more in-depth look at how pollution uniquely affects China and how deadly it is? Watch this video Thanks for watching TestTube! Remember to like and subscribe so you don’t miss out on new videos daily

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