Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Best wishes for the fight against haze

Currently China faces an unprecedented air pollution in the world. Because of the rapid economic growth, massive industrialization and urbanization, China temporarily lost its blue sky as the price of a better economy. Nonetheless, China realizes the necessity of developing a sustainable economy and improving the environment even though China is still a developing country. In recent years, China has put a lot of effort to improving its air quality by releasing more stringent environmental law and effectively regulating the air pollutants produced by different industries. As Chinese, I am really proud of my home country's determination of fighting against the irritating haze and smog.

Recently I asked my friends living in many cities to take some pictures of a blue sky if they can spot it. Now I will demonstrate all these blue skies in China to all of you. Although fighting for a blue sky is a difficult task for China, I believe my home country can make it soon so a blue sky will be long-lived in China. Best wishes for the fight against haze! 加油中国!(Good luck, China!)

Take a deep breath in China (2): Hainan Province

As the smallest and southernmost province in China, Hainan Province received a lot of acclaims for its clean environment and rich biodiversity in China. When comes to the air quality, Hainan Province has an outstanding performance among all the provinces in China. In 2012 alone, Hainan province has the highest air quality in China for 351 days. In 2014, the good air quality lasted for nearly 361 days in Hainan.

Therefore it is very reasonable that Hainan has become one of the hottest tourist destinations in China. In Hainan, Tourists can not only get away with those awful and annoying haze or smog in China, but also enjoy the beautiful sightseeing under a flawless sky. So start packaging and get ready for a trip to Hainan, to spend a totally non-hazy holiday with your family there! :)

Here is an online photo exhibition of Haikou, the capital city of Hainan:

Photographs taken by Li Ziwei

Take a deep breath in China (1): Yichun City, Hei Longjiang Province

In many cities in China, a blue sky is considered as a luxury for citizens. When there is a blue and clean sky, people usually take out their cellphones to take a photograph of the beautiful sky, and upload the pictures to various social media to share their happiness and excitement with their friends. Especially in megacities such as Beijing and Shanghai, the blue sky has become a very popular and common topic in Weibo and Wechat. (two very popular social media in China)  

But do you know in some cities in China, a blue sky is like a "daily commodity" for people to consume and enjoy? For example, one of the coldest and northest cities - Yichun, has nearly the purest air in China. It is called the "Lindu" (literally means "forest capital") due to its greening rate of 83 percent. It is an extremely amazing place in China: with its blue sky, thick forest and cool weather, you probably will have a feeling of being in a heaven or in a storybook due to the unbelievable beauty of a city. When you are in Yichun, you don't have to worry about PM 2.5 at all. You can feel free to breathe the very pure air released by the generous forests there and enjoy the charming natural sightseeing in China. :)

Here are some pictures taken by my friend in a natural park of Yinchun:

Photographs taken by Sun Yunjuan

Friday, October 23, 2015

Beijing with a blue sky: impossible mission?

Last week I mentioned in my post that Beijing had a blue sky for many days in the past two months. This beautiful sky did indicate that the air in Being was clean in those days. During the huge military parade period, the average PM 2.5 in Beijing was only 18 µg/m3 .

Although the blue sky was only short-lived for some days, its appearance in Beijing was really significant. It proved to the public that Beijing can have a blue sky if a lot of efforts are put to control the air pollution. According to Liu Qin,a editor of Chinadialogue, Beijing's blue sky is a result of shutting down a lot of industries nearby and controlling the number of motor vehicles (Liu, 2015). Moreover, more stringent regulations on air pollutants also contribute to the clean air in Beijing. Besides the government, some creative individuals also try to help alleviate the bad air pollution in Beijing with their own idea. For example, recently the Dutch architect Daan Roosegaarde designs the biggest air purifier the Smog Free Tower and plans to give it a tour to Beijing. He aims to relate citizens to air quality protection by exhibiting the Tower in Beijing (Walker, 2015).

As the capital city of the biggest developing country in the world, Beijing eventually showed that cleaning the heavily polluted air in less developed countries or industrialized countries is not an impossible mission to the rest of the world.

Here is a video of "Parade Blue" in Beijing:

Walker, B. (2015). Beijing welcomes world’s first smog-eating towerChinadialogue.net. Retrieved 23 October 2015, from https://www.chinadialogue.net/books/8157-Beijing-welcomes-world-s-first-smog-eating-tower/en
Liu, Q. (2015). Beijing's 'Parade-blue' skies required huge effortChinadialogue.net. Retrieved 23 October 2015, from https://www.chinadialogue.net/blog/8168--Beijing-s-Parade-blue-skies-required-huge-effort/en

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Amended air law in China

Almost a year ago, China released the amended air law. Finally, after 15 years, China took action to amend and strengthen its air law because of the decreasingly bad air pollution in the whole country. According to some experts, the amended air law aimed to make local governments and agencies more responsible for air pollution control and to regulate more strictly of the air pollutants emission from companies (Spegele, 2015). Moreover, China is trying to change its energy sources from fossil fuels to cleaner source of energy such as hydropower and natural gas (Spegele, 2015).

The drivers for this amended air law in China can be divided into four: Firstly, there are broad concerns about health impact of air pollution from both the government and the public in China. Secondly, there are growing concerns about the devastating disasters which can be caused by climate change in China. Moreover, China now has the desire for a energy security. Lastly, China realizes the need for a sustainable economic development. The amended air law can really be an important weapon for China to fight for a blue sky. Although fighting for a blue sky proved to be a difficult task for China, it is not an impossible mission. A few days ago, my friend studying in Beijing told me that air quality in Beijing was quite good in many days in this October.

Therefore, the amended air law in China is a symbol for the big improvement of air quality in China. With China's determination to clean its air, I believe that China will eventually get its blue sky back. :)

Spegele, B. (2015). China Moves to Bolster Air-Pollution-Control LawThe Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 14 October 2015, from http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-moves-to-bolster-air-pollution-control-law-1417011241

Here is a really good video of the discussion about the amended air law in China:

Here are some pictures of the blue sky in Beijing:
Photograph taken by Peixuan Yin in Beijing

Photographs taken by Zixuan Yuan in Beijing


Sunday, October 11, 2015

Firework in Changsha (3)

In this blog, firstly I will show my interview with my oral English teacher Ms. Omiya, who is an American lived in Changsha for the past two years. Then I will demonstrate my classmates' opinions about weekly firework in Changsha. Lastly I will present my opinions about the weekly fireworks.

Here are Ms. Omiya's responses to my questions:
1. What do you think is the purpose for setting off fireworks at every weekend in Changsha?
Ms. Omiya: The weekly shows celebrate and advertise the beauty and invention of fireworks in China. It has grown into a local summer tradition in Changsha where families, couples, and friends gather around the riverside parks to enjoy the familiar percussion at night. By setting them off every weekend, the city compares its attraction and magic to Disney World in Florida, America's most poplular family Entertainment park.
2. Does setting off fireworks fulfill its goal?
Ms. Omiya: If the goal of the city's fireworks was to celebrate the magical invention with the local community, then I don't think it reached its full potential yet. As an audience member, the first week of fireworks is exciting and a moment of elated gathering among friends and family. However, after the first weekend, my group and I seldom planned to return. The fireworks draw a massive crowd so traffic and finding space was a hassle we quickly learned to avoid. Also, it's repetitive nature of weekly shows made the blasts less novel for residents. 
3. What are the problems caused by weekly firework shows in Changsha?
Ms. Omiya: Besides contributing to the already frustrating amount of air pollution, I think the fireworks exemplify how advertisement can be overwhelming when repeated too much too loudly.
4. Do you think it necessary to have firework shows at every weekend?
Ms. Omiya: I would associate fireworks as as something more special if it only happened a few times a year.
5. What are your suggestions for it?
Ms. Omiya: Reduce the firework shows three times a year. 

As for the responses collected from my peers, most of them deem making a business card and attracting tourists for Changsha as main purposes of weekly firework shows. They also expressed their concerns about air pollution, traffic congestion and noise pollution caused by weekly fireworks. They thought that a good solution to it might be playing creative firework shows only in festivals. Therefore, air pollution in Changsha could be alleviated to some extent. 

In my opinion, I agree with Ms. Omiya and my peers that firework shows could be reduced to three times per year if Changsha wants to have a beautiful blue sky. After all, people will be happier to watch several creative firework shows rather than tedious and repetitive weekly firework shows. Citizens will enjoy a beautiful and clean sky everyday, but not repetitive and boring firework shows every weekend.     

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Firework in Changsha (2)

Despite firework being really beautiful and romantic, it causes many issues. For example, the weekly firework show in Changsha always results in a traffic congestion and light pollution for residents living close to Xiangjiang River. Perhaps the biggest environmental issue which can be attributed to fireworks is air pollution. It may sound unbelievable to many people. According to Dian J. Seidel, who is a senior scientist for climate measurements at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States, "When people think of air pollution, they think of other kinds of things - smoke stacks, automobile exhaust pipes, construction sites, I don't think most people think of fireworks." Nonetheless, firework worsens air quality due to particulate matter, dust, dirt and soot it releases (Worland, 2015). Air pollutants like particulate matter have the power to make people cough, wheeze or even die prematurely (Worland, 2015). As one of the most industrialized city in the Central Southern Part in China, Changsha already has a relatively bad air quality. In 2013, the level of air pollution in Changsha ranked the 20th among all the Chinese cities (Tan, 2014). The annual average PM 2.5 concentration reached 79.1 micrograms per cubic meters in Changsha (Tan, 2014). Therefore weekly firework shows is not a reasonable decision made by the government in Changsha when comes to environmental pollution and public health. 

In my next blog, I will share some opinions about the weekly firework shows from my foreign English teacher and my peers in my high school. 

Here are some photographs of a firework show in Changsha, can you spot any air pollutants from these pictures?


Tan, M., 2014. Bad to worse: ranking 74 Chinese cities by air pollution. [Online]
Available at: http://www.greenpeace.org/eastasia/news/blog/bad-to-worse-ranking-74-chinese-cities-by-air/blog/48181/
[Accessed 5 October 2015].
Worland, J., 2015. How Fireworks Pollution Could Be Hurting Your Health. [Online]
Available at: http://time.com/3943702/fourth-of-july-fireworks-pollution/
[Accessed 5 October 2015].