5 million cars prohibited from driving in China's attempts to alleviate air pollution

Story Highlights

  • China plans to raise fuel emission standards
  • Air pollution linked to high mortality rates in China
  • Current fuel emission standard policies are difficult to enforce
 There are currently over five million cars in China that do not meet the countries fuel and emission standards. Their ongoing air pollution crisis has compelled them to prohibit the use of all substandard automotive vehicles. This photograph portrays the visible outdoor air pollution in the densely populated roads of Beijing, China.

 China's rapid economic growth results in the rise of demand for creating industrialized energy, through means of coal burning. There is a long history of industrialized air pollution in China, and the current state of the nation's environment is in danger of becoming much worse. Government officials are fully aware of these affairs; and are actively pursuing long term solutions.

     Nearly 1/3 of total airborne pollution in China can be linked to vehicle fuel exhaustions. The intensity of the nation's toxic air particles have become progressively worse, and difficult to contain, with adverse effects on all aspects of the country; including the condition of environment, health of civilians, and consumption of energy.

China plans to raise fuel emission standards

       There are plans for raising vehicle emission standards for all motorized vehicles in China. The United States government has advised them to require 'particulate' filters on all diesel cars and trucks. The particles emitted from these vehicles, as well as from coal burning in factories, are China's largest threat to respiratory and cardiovascular health. Often, civilians will be wearing face masks to minimize their consumption of harmful airborne particles.

     Reducing pollution has become China's first priority. Drastic actions are being taken to ease the current environmental conditions; in an attempt to achieve and sustain a cleaner, healthier breathing environment. The prohibition for the use of substandard vehicles, and shuttering of old various factories are but some of the few measures being taken to contribute to this cause.

Air pollution linked to high mortality rates in China

    China holds the leading number of annual mortalities due to outdoor air pollution. There are between 1.2 and 2 million deaths annually in China alone; an estimated 29% of the total 7 million deaths that are linked to the exposure of toxic airborne particles worldwide. The deteriorating condition of the nation's air raises a matter of urgency for all government officials.

George Washington University Graduate, Human Rights Activist, Procurement Specialist, and founder of "Fariborz FRANK fouladi" voices his opinion on the air pollution crisis in China -

"This is something they need to immediately change"

    According to research, the primary causes of death in China are due to respiratory, circulatory, and cardiovascular diseases; roughly 4,400 deaths each day, all linked to the consumption of toxic airborne particles. Airborne pollution also results in toxic water and soil conditions. As a result, there have been devastating effects in agriculture and water supply; leaving pollution as the leading cause of mortality rates in China.

Current fuel emission standard policies are difficult to enforce

     All 'yellow labeled' vehicles that are marked as high polluting have already been officially decommissioned. However, this may not be the end of their use entirely; officials have admitted that they do not have the ability to effectively prevent all cars that have been decommissioned from being driven in the city. According to Shanghai Daily, a local news source for Shanghai, China, the majority of yellow label car owners have discovered new ways to avoid detection by authorities; typically driving through alternative routes and remote areas.

     Beijing has offered government subsidies between $400 and $2300 for those who turn in their yellow labeled vehicles; which has allowed for more control over a smaller portion of the decommissioned population. Even with this considered, there are still a significant number of decommissioned vehicles that are being driven regardless of the policy.

     Millions of people are asked to make radical lifestyle adjustments in order to further benefit the environmental well-being of China. The people who are incapable of possessing a vehicle that meets these new emission standards will face several complications; of the largest being loss of transportation. This effects a person's ability to work, go to school, run necessary errands, and may inconveniently impact daily routines. 

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