China may soon lose its reputation as being one of the most polluting countries on the planet. This is because the Chinese government employed efforts in recent years to improve air quality and, as a result, was able to report that the use of “dirty” coal has dropped 40% over the past five years.
According to data from the Wood Mackenzie consultancy, the use of coal, known as sanmei, is expected to fall to 468 million tons in 2017, down from 774 million tons in 2012. As CNBC News relays, “Over 80 percent, or 650 million tons of this coal, was used in the industrial sector in 2012.” Reportedly, coal is most often used for heating purposes.
The Chinese government was forced to take swift action in 2013, after concentrated levels of air pollution in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Xi’an were found to exceed the World Health Organization’s (WHO) air quality guidelines. Air with PM2.5 (particles with an aerodynamic diameter less than 2.5 μm) increase the health risks to the cardiovascular system, cerebrovascular system and increase the probability of contracting cancer.
Fortunately, progress has been made. Reforms to improve the country’s quality of air included closing down inefficient and small-scale boilers and switching to gas or electricity-powered heating for residences. China further reduced its reliance on coal by transitioning towards a service-oriented economy rather than a manufacturing-oriented one. The consultancy said this reduced usage of thermal coal in the industrial sector.
“As a priority of the government’s efforts to reduce sanmei use, many small, inefficient factories have been closed,” said the consultancy in early July. It added that in the capital city of Beijing, more than 1,300 factories were closed within a three-year span, and that another 500 are expected to be shut down in 2017. While most of the factories will not be switching to gas (which can cost three times as much as coal), they will be installing larger, cleaner coal boilers or power from public thermal plants.
Clearly, China has a long way to go before it can declare itself to be a “green” country. However, progress is progress, and it deserves to be acknowledged nonetheless.
IMAGE CREDIT:tomwang / 123RF Stock Photo
I am Luke Miller, content manager at Truth Theory and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here