1. Executive Summary 执行概要
从这项研究，它可以帮助越来越多的人实现空气污染的水平，并采取行动，以减少排放到空气中。此外，空气污染的影响，它可以给中国政府更多的提示，使改善空气质量在中国的措施。在一定程度上，环境影响评估可以提供更多的建议，以帮助中国政府有效地减轻空气污染。China is developing very quickly, but it faces the challenge of balancing economic growth with social and environmental wellbeing. Compared with other environmental problems, air pollution is one of the most daunting environmental threats China faces at present. Air pollution is not only an environmental problem, but also results in millions of death every year. Consequently, under the enormous international and national stress, China has to take action to improve the air quality and seriously deal with this problem.
In spite of the urgency, Chinese government receives un-sustained short term benefits on handling air pollution. More and more automobiles burn fossil fuels to emit emissions. Power stations continuously pump smoke and chemicals from consumer goods. More and more people reflect air pollution and think about how human activities influence the earth. Air pollution is a complex issue with lots of reasons and effects. Consequently, all the humans should cooperate together to improve air quality.
The report mainly research air pollution in China. Based on analyzing the current situation of air pollution in China, it comprehensively reflects how human activities directly and indirectly aggravate air pollution and how Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) effectively mitigates air pollution. It evaluates the effects of air pollution in China and proposes some feasible recommendations. #p#分页标题#e#
This report supplies an overall overview of the current situations of air pollution in China by citing the relevant data and useful information in the environmental field. From this research, it can help more and more people realize the level of air pollution and take action to reduce emissions into the air. Besides, with regard to the effects of air pollution, it can give the Chinese government more hints to make measures to improve air quality in China. To some extent, EIA can provide more proposals to help Chinese government to effectively mitigate air pollution.
Air pollution is now the fourth largest cause of death in China. Every year there are 1.2 million people who died from air pollution in China. Besides, thick smog frequently happens in many large cities in China. Many people wear masks to protect themselves from air pollution when they are outside. Consequently, air pollution has become an urgent issue. In order to balance economic development with environmental protection, the Chinese government has taken action a national air pollution monitoring programme and determines to decline the toxic emissions from automobiles and power plants. This report firstly describes the current situations of air pollution. This paper undertakes how human activities directly and indirectly result in aggravating air pollution. Then it will deeply analyze how EIA may be effectively used to mitigate the problem. Finally, it will make a conclusion and give some recommendations on air pollution.
3. Air Pollution in China中国的空气污染
3.1. Current Situations of Air Pollution in China
In China, air pollution has been a major issue for some time. Air pollution, both outdoors and indoors, causes health threats to millions of Chinese every day. Vehicles, industries, and power stations contribute to air pollution. Besides, urbanization is also a cause of air pollution.
Total Suspended Material (TSP) is the mass of all particles in air. Samplers measure particles less than 25-50 micrometers in size. From Figure 1, it shows that the densities of TSP in China is higher than the cities in America or Europe. Since 1985, with some available approaches TSP densities are declining quickly in China. However, due to the status as a developing country and sufficient coal sources, it is difficult to address air pollution between 1980 and 1990 in some cities of China (Chan, C.K., Yao, X, 2008). What’s more, because of so large quantity of population in China, it will produce respectively 4.5 or 3 times the emission from the US or Europe (Barbara Demick, 2011).
Figure 1. Total suspended particulate matter concentrations in 5 Chinese cities, 1980-1998.
At earlier phases of economic growth in China, the application of coal-fired and low-efficiency boilers, etc., resulted in high densities of particulate matter and sulfur dioxide in the air. It shows the development of GDP, energy use and the average sulfur dioxide concentrations over the past 20 years in Figure 2.
Figure 2. China: GDP, energy use, and ambient SO2 levels in major cities, 1980-2005.
In Figure 3, in China, to a large extent, the application of coal causes the high emissions of CO2 . From 1994 to 2004, the quantity of automobiles were rising massively. Consequently, it resulted in the increased consumption of fossil fuels, especially in the developed cities of China, causing high emissions of nitrogen oxides. Nitrogen oxide reacts with organic compounds in ambient air to form ozone. Since 1990, ozone concentrations are increasing in Chinese cities (Sjaak, Slanina, 2013).
Figure 3. Emission of SO2 and COD in surface water (substances that take up oxygen in water), number of cars and GDP.
Compared with Western Europe, SO2 concentrations are low in the summer in China. Particular matter concentrations have been reduced, but it is still harmful to human beings. Generally, pollution in undeveloped countries complies with a kind of Kuznets curve (see Figure 4). In the early stage of economic development in China, it mainly focused on the economic growth with little concern on the environment protection. Later, China realized that pollution heavily affected economic development and began to implement some measures to handle the pollution. Compared with USA and EU, China is reaching this turning point faster (Lu, Z.; Streets, D. G.; Zhang, Q.; Wang, S.; Carmichael, G. R.; Cheng, Y. F.; Wei, C.; Chin, M.; Diehl, T.; Tan, Q, 2010). After 1955, economic development indeed accelerated in Europe. Since 1980, Europe undertook to take action to reduce pollution, so the turning point appeared after 25 years. Since 1992, China speeded up economic development. In 1995, many measures are taken action, so the turning point came with a half of period needed in Europe.
Figure 4. Kuznets curve: pollution versus economic development.
3.2. Causes of Air Pollution in China
Air pollution can not only result from natural actions, but also human activities. Natural air pollution includes forest fires, volcanic eruptions, wind erosion and so on. However, with the growth of population and the increased consumption of energy and materials, humans are responsible for air pollution. To some extent, particulate matter and noxious gases are the two major forms of outdoor air pollution (Eisner, A.D. et al, 2009). Human activities can directly and indirectly lead to air pollution in China as following: #p#分页标题#e#
Emissions from industries and manufacturing activities:. A lot of smoke and fumes are exhausted from a number of long chimneys erected high into the air in the factories. Factories, power stations, and waste incinerators discharge high densities of CO, organic compounds and toxics into the air. Besides, Petroleum refineries release hydrocarbons and all kinds of particulates into the air. The burning of fossil fuels also produce smog. As a result, air pollution destroys plants and buildings and creates oxidation on iron (Delfino, R.J. et al, 2009).
Combustion engine exhaust: After the industrial period, vehicles have become a major part of our lives. Cars, airplanes, trains, trucks, shipping vessels consume oil and coal to operate. Consequently, emissions from combustion engine emit, for example, CO, nitrous oxide and gaseous oxide. This kind of air pollution produces smog that results in health risks and holes in the ozone layer. Vehicles are the major cause of air pollution. Moreover, it is hard to handle this issue, because people largely depend on automobiles for transporting people, products and services. Fumes from vehicles include toxic gases and result in great harm to human beings.
Household and farming chemicals: Crop dusting, fumigating homes, household cleaning products or painting supplies release harmful chemicals into the air (Smith, K.R, 2000). When farmers spray pesticides to kill pests, use insecticides kill insects and use herbicides to kill weeds, all these activities can result in air pollution. When farmers spread fertilizers to accelerate plants to grow, the fertilizer dust will cause air pollution. In many cases, when we breathe these chemicals, we may fall ill.
Mills and plants: Paper mills, chemical factories, iron mills, steel factories, asphalt plants can emit emissions into the air, causing air pollution. Milling operations can also cause the particles into the air.
Nuclear power stations and nuclear waste disposal organizations: All these plants can release dust into the air to pollute the air.
3.3. Effects of Air Pollution in China
Due to the two main forms of air pollution: particulate matter and toxic gases, air pollution results in a series of effects on humans and environment. For example, increasing a number of diseases, raising the temperature, rising sea levels, and so on (China air pollution levels still hazardous, 2013). Here will list some effects of air pollution in China:
#p#分页标题#e#Particulate matter: Air pollutants, in the form of particulate matter, are harmful to people’s health. The degree of effect replies on the exposure time, the type and density of particles and chemicals. Short-term effects may irritate eyes, nose and throat or lead to upper respiratory infections, for example, bronchitis and pneumonia. Long-term effects involve chronic respiratory disease, lung cancer, heart disease, and even damage to the brain, nerves, liver, or kidneys. Children and the elders are the major victims in the continual exposure state (Mark Koba, 2013).
Acidification: When air pollutants react with other chemicals, it can produce acidic compounds to damage plants and buildings. If sulfuric acid reacts with the water droplets to form clouds, the water droplets present acidic to make up acid rain. Once acid rain drops oven a region, it can destroy trees and damage animals, fish and other wildlife. When acid rain percolates through the soil, it will change the soil structure and destroy the habitats of living things. Once acid rain flows into the lakes and rivers, it can harm fish and other water plants (Vennemo, H.; Aunan, K.; Lindhjem, H.; Seip, H. M, 2009).
The greenhouse effect: When the particulate matter and toxic gases float in the air, it can trap solar heat. Under ideal conditions, the sun’s rays should infiltrate into the atmosphere, then the surface of the earth reflects extra radiation back out of the atmosphere. Nonetheless, air pollutions rebound some extra heat back down to the earth and change the climate. It is reported that if the temperature continues to rise, it can melt the polar icebergs, raise the sea levels and have the floods in coastal regions (Friedrich Wu, 2006).
Destruction of the ozone layer: The ozone layer’s role is to prevent the ultraviolet or UV rays from entering into the atmosphere. In recent years, air pollution destroys the ozone layers. The density of the ozone layer is decreasing by 2% every year. More and more UV rays reach the surface of the earth. As a result, the rise of rays can result in skin cancer, and destruct the people’s immune system and eye damage. Besides, it can kill water plants, destroying marine food chains and emitting CO2 into the atmosphere.
Ground-level ozone: Under the action of the chemical reactions, air pollutants produce O3. O3 can influence humans’ health and harm vegetation forms and some animals.
4. EIA to Mitigate Air Pollution 环境影响评估，以减轻空气污染
Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is a process of identifying, forecasting, assessing and slowing down the biophysical, social and other relevant environmental effects of development proposes ahead of main decisions being implemented and promises being made. EIA’s target is to assure that environmental concerns are definitely handled and incorporated into the development decision-making course. EIA aims to predict and avoid, reduce or cancel the opposite important biophysical, social and other relevant effects of develop suggestions. Besides, EIA protects the productivity and capacity of natural systems and the ecological courses that keep the roles. EIA accelerates development which is sustainable, optimizing resource utilization and managerial opportunities. #p#分页标题#e#
EIA is a legal requirement in more than 100 countries. Moreover, nearly 200 countries have experiences with EIA. In order to make an effective decision, EIA establishes the integrative baseline data and adopts feasible evaluation approaches to evaluate environmental impacts. EIA’s objective is to increase scientific proof to develop planning processes. Generally, EIA should propose the proposals in advance in order to reduce or avoid impacts. Furthermore, EIA is appropriate to the specific cases.
When EIA is applied, it is necessary to consider the principles of EIA. These principles mean that EIA should be purposive, rigorous, practical, relevant, efficient, focused, adaptive, participative, credible, transparent and so on. Moreover, there are some operating principles. It means that EIA should be applied to all development suggestions that may result in some possible important results. When EIA is applied, it should comply with global agreed solutions and activities.
In a transparent, strict and fair way, EIA can bring some benefits. For example, EIA can support decisions and the process of development planning to obtain eco-friendly and sustainable development. EIA can enhance project planning courses and assist to arrange environmental, social and economic aims and sustaining more sustainable effects. EIA can shorten time and save money by refraining from expensive errors and environmental impacts. EIA can raise sound management and establish public trust, by supplying choices to motivate major stakeholders to join in the project planning process. However, if EIA is not applied, it may cause some passive impacts, for example, negative environmental change, passive social impacts, more expensive development costs and even a failure project.
Since EIA was applied, impacts have become more complicated and try to reach the potential outcomes. EIA is applied mainly to reduce the unfavorable impacts of primary development suggestions, for example, power plants, industrial complexes, vehicles and others. EIA also makes some standards to control some projects to develop with a sustainable direction. From the application of EIA, it is seen that EIA can be used to effectively mitigate air pollution in China.
Air pollution has been terrible for some time in China. It not only shortens life expectancy, but also leads to higher rates of stroke, heart disease and cancer (Charles, Riley, 2013). Due to the rapid pace of industrialization and burn coal at a very large scale and quickly increase vehicle quantities, air quality has become worse. Besides, air pollution is not only a local issue, but also a global problem. Therefore, it is very important to balance environment and economic growth. The Chinese government has taken action to tackle air pollution to improve the air quality and traffic conditions in the cities, but some of the improvements are very temporary (Henry Hou, 2013). For China, it is a long term to address the air pollution, for example, introducing clean and renewable energy, reducing the toxic emissions from automobiles and power stations, and adopting the advanced vehicle technologies. With its increasing population and economic development, it is a big challenge to reduce emissions in China. #p#分页标题#e#
Air pollution is a serious issue in China. China has to spend billions of dollars cutting down air pollution every year. It is the most fundamental approach for air pollution to terminate the leading causes: stopping coal, getting rid of fossil fuels, and substituting green and renewable energy for mineral fuels (Oliver, Hongyan, 2008). In the short period, a number of approaches can address air pollution, but these methods ask Chinese government to recognize the influence of air pollution on public health and the economy and make measures at once (Kristina Chew, 2013).
Make an integrated air quality information easily available to the public.
Strictly control emissions from power plants in order to decrease emissions.
Close the inefficient coal-fired industrial boilers.
Reduce the frequency of driving the private cars. As we know, transportation is the most obvious generator of air pollution, so it is very profitable to make use of public transportation as possible as you can. It is a good way to walk or ride a bike to do business for a short distance. If people use the public tools, it is not only to reduce the toxic emission, but also save money.
Adopt cleaner and environmentally friendly fuels. It is reported that 1% increase in fuel economy equals 1% decline in carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, it is available to reduce emissions by avoiding speeding up fast, braking hard and driving at a higher speed.
Restrain the buildings of high-polluting industries access to residential regions.
Establish feasible plans to reach air quality standards.
Strengthen supervisory systems to control the amount of toxic emission.
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