Gut Check: Making simple sense out of life
By Lenore Skomal Erie Times-News staff blogger
Lenore Skomal is an award-winning author and veteran journalist in all forms of media. She is a weekly columnist and daily blogger for the Erie Times-News. She’s authored 17 published books, including an anthology of her columns, Burnt Toast available on her website www.lenoreskomal.net.   Read more about this blog.
Posted: February 1st, 2013
Now they’re calling it ‘Airmegeddon’ in China

And it’s only going to get worse. China’s New Year is celebrated on Sunday and Monday, and with that, comes fireworks. And lots of ‘em. Fireworks cause pollution.

The record-breaking smog, according to the BBC, is causing the government to shutdown factories and suspend use of one third of its car fleet. But not everyone is in compliance, which is part of the problem. Construction sites that were supposed to be shut down still continue to operate, according to the BBC and China Daily, as do many government workers operating vehicles.

What’s causing all the smog?

Opinions vary, depending on who’s talking about it. Beijing, which is being hit with the highest levels of air pollution, is downwind from industrialized cities fueled by coal power. Climate experts say there is also a lack of wind this time of year within the city itself to disperse the settling pollution. Health experts point to the rapid rise of car ownership, which is now at 5 million people, pumping more noxious fumes into the air. There is also a lack of green space within city limits, which according to the China Daily would help “soak up the fumes” from the cars and factories.

Most likely, it’s a combination of all these factors. Critics are also quick to point out that China’s track record on environmental issues shows a lax attitude and now, it’s catching up with it.

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