China’s smog problem has been well documented by journalists and government officials of what happens when unregulated industry makes the rules. The smog problem is now so extreme in major cities like Beijing, that government officials shut down six major highways and the airport in an attempt to get the smog to disperse.
While most of those roads and the airport have since re-opened, it underscores the severity of China’s smog problem. With more than a billion people, many of whom are buying their first cars from a nascent auto industry. Air quality indexes finally fell below 200, the threshold separating “medium” and “heavy” smog conditions, and obviously China has a huge problem on its hands.
This is leading Chinese party officials to promise new measures designed to rein in pollution, but this efforts are going to take time. A nationwide pollution monitoring network could take five years to be built, and the research gleaned from the network won’t be done for even longer. Meanwhile, China’s reliance on coal power and gasoline-driven cars means even more pollutants clogging some of the most heavily-populated cities on the planet.
Can you imagine if New York or L.A. had to show down because of smog? It used to be pretty bad from what I’ve heard, but new regulations and rules pulled America back from the brink. Let’s hope China gets its act together before it’s too late.