Is the US to blame for China air pollution? What may come as a surprise to some, some days, nearly a quarter of the pollutants in the air over California, Oregon, and Washington were initially spewed into the air in China, during the making of mass marketed products such as televisions, toys, mobile phones, and other products for exports.
Big cities like Los Angeles received at least an extra day of smog a year from nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide from China’s export-dependent factories, it said.
China air pollution has affects its neighbors, such as South Korea and Japan, have regularly suffered noxious clouds from China in the past few decades as environmental regulations have loosened for economic and industrial growth.
“We’ve outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us,” said co-author Steve Davis, a scientist at the University of California, Irvine.
“Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries’ air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around,” he added.
The research was conducted and led by Jintai Lin of Beijing’s Peking University, along with co-authors from the United States and Britain.
The study discovered that 22 percent of carbon monoxide and 17 percent of black carbon emitted in China were associated with the production of goods for export per the Australian.
Black carbon raises a concern because it lingers in the atmosphere, does not wash away with the rain, and can travel long distances. Exposure can increase the risk of adverse medical conditions such as cancer, heart and lung disease and asthma.
The study also looked into sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide.
“For each of these pollutants, about 21 per cent of export-related Chinese emissions were attributed to China-to-US export,” said the study, which appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.