China’s ongoing process of industrialization has resulted in extreme amounts of pollution in many of its cities. Because of the national dependence on particularly dirty fossil fuels, millions of citizens wear surgical masks when venturing outside because the air is just too dirty to breathe safely.
Until recently, the problem has been largely confined to China itself. Those afraid of global climate change, however, have been calling attention to the issue for years. Now, smog from China is crossing borders and affecting its Japanese neighbors. This presents another challenge to test Chinese-Japanese already strained relations.
Associate Professor Toshihiko Takemura of Kyushu University, who studies pollution for the University, explained that in Kyushu, “the level of air pollution has been detectable in everyday lives since a few years ago.”
China is notorious for quashing public dissent on sensitive issues like government shortcomings. However, in recent weeks, there have been uncanny amounts of focus put on environmental shortcomings by both the state television and party officials.
Hopefully, the new Chinese Premier will work hard to drastically reduce China’s levels of pollution, bettering the health of the country’s citizens while improving relations with China’s estranged neighbor.
– Jake Simon