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China exports pollution to us along with goods: Study

Date 22-January-2014
Subject China exports pollution to us along with goods: Study

HONG KONG: Pollution from China's export manufacturers is traveling across the Pacific Ocean to reach the US West Coast, according to a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study is the first to quantify pollution reaching the West Coast from the Chinese manufacturing sector that produces mobile phones to televisions for global export, according to a statement about the study from the University of California, Irvine, where one of the authors is based.

Los Angeles sees at least one extra day a year of smog that exceeds federal limits because of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide emitted by Chinese factories producing for export, the analysis found. China's economic ascent has been accompanied by a surge in pollution and the World Bank estimates that the Asian nation has 16 of the 20 most-polluted cities globally.

"We've outsourced our manufacturing and much of our pollution, but some of it is blowing back across the Pacific to haunt us," Steven Davis, a co-author of the study and an earth system scientist at the University of California, Irvine, said in the statement. "Given the complaints about how Chinese pollution is corrupting other countries' air, this paper shows that there may be plenty of blame to go around."

Winds called the "westerlies" can drive airborne chemicals across the ocean and lead to dangerous spikes in contaminants, according to the university's statement. Dust, ozone and carbon may collect in valleys in California and other Western states, it said, while noting that China still isn't responsible for the lion's share of pollution in the US.

In China, President Xi Jinping has pledged to tackle pollution amid rising public concern that smog and environmental degradation are affecting the nation's health and the economy. The Ministry of Environmental Protection this month told all provinces and municipalities to cut air pollutants by as much as one quarter.

The Asian nation is the world's largest emitter of anthropogenic air pollutants, according to the paper, with a fraction of its emissions caused by the manufacture of goods for foreign consumption. Anthropogenic pollutants typically refer to those originating from human activity.

In 2006, 36 per cent of anthropogenic sulfur dioxide, 27 per cent of nitrogen oxides, 22 per cent of carbon monoxide, and 17 per cent of black carbon emitted in China were associated with production of goods for export. For each of these pollutants, about 21 per cent of export-related Chinese emissions could be traced to US-related exports, the paper said.

Source : economictimes.indiatimes.com

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