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Chinese Factories Sending Pollution to United States

Sarah Berlin

Cell phones and televisions aren't the only things Chinese factories are sending to the United States: According to a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pollution from China's export manufacturers has been making its way across the Pacific Ocean. Bloomberg reports:  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.” Strong global winds called "westerlies" carry airborne chemicals across the ocean, leading to dangerous rises in contaminants and the accumulation of dust, ozone and carbon in Western states. The study cites black carbon, a pollutant linked to asthma and cancer, as a "particular problem." China remains the world's largest emitter of air pollutants originating from human activity, and President Xi Jinping has pledged to address the problem. This month, the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection instructed all provinces to reduce their air pollution by up to one quarter. 

Sarah Berlin is an intern at In These Times.
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