Ripple effects of air pollution felt in many sectors (China Daily, Dec. 10, 2013)
Also discussed here: Smog Hits Half Of China, 104 Cities Severely Polluted (Lu Chen, Epoch Times, Dec. 8, 2013)
And here: Air pollution kills 21,000 Canadians each year – Transportation-related emissions to blame, say UBC researchers (Pamela Fayerman, Vancouver Sun, Oct. 22, 2013
Today we review a news story which brought up an interesting aspect of heavy air pollution and the reaction by the people it affects – mainly the older and younger generations. In this case, it is an example from large polluted Chinese cities, but the levels observed are not that much different from those observed in the downtowns of many large congested western cities, so the same reaction and impacts can be expected. This includes the travel industry where those with the time and money to travel deliberately – the baby boomers over 65 – chose destinations with cleaner air and avoid those with polluted air. Schools are closed in China for the same reason that those in urban areas of the USA and Canada which are within 200 m of heavy traffic should be closed.
While the Chinese government seeks to improve its air quality (by 20% in 4 years!), and action is being taken to strengthen EU air quality guidelines, their counterparts in Canada and USA focus only on ambient air standards while roadside air quality becomes worse as cities attract more and more polluting vehicles and traffic congestion. Only one jurisdiction in Canada (Halton Region in southwestern Ontario) has taken steps to monitor roadside emission and keep heavy traffic away from residences because of vehicle pollution and the health threat this represents. Meanwhile, more people die from air pollution than from obesity and traffic accidents combined (at last count, 21,000 premature deaths each year in Canada).
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