China’s plan for cleaning up the dirty air in Beijing means power plants are being built in the west in an area populated by ethnic minorities.
China’s 20 Most Polluted Cities
Heavy coal use in eastern China contributes to an acrid smog that frequently envelops cities in what some residents have dubbed the “airpocalypse.” Pollution levels have hit record highs in recent years in cities like Beijing and Shanghai and result in as many as half a million premature deaths each year, according to an article in the Lancet, a leading medical journal.
Exposure to fine particulate matter in the air (also known as PM2.5) should be limited to an average of 10 µg/m³ per year, according to the World Health Organization. Levels are as much as 15 times higher in the 20 most polluted Chinese cities.