Over the last century, there has been a significant population shift from rural to urban areas worldwide. New town residents needed more space, so municipalities have been growing in size, merging into huge metropolitan areas to meet people’s needs. One of the world’s capitals that have been suffering from alarmingly low air quality in China’s Beijing. This paper will provide a review of a recent article on China’s government’s measures to tackle pollution and discuss the issue in a broader context of human ecology.
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Article Review: Research Question, Study Design, and Findings
The research question elaborated by Xie and Wang for their 2019 study is as follows: “How effective has been recent government spending in terms of addressing air pollution in Beijing?” In the last forty years, economic reforms have helped China to make tangible progress and increase the overall quality of life for its citizens. Recently, the government has been investing large sums in reinforcing environmental regulations.
Xie and Wang notice that while the authorities are taking steps in the right direction, the funds might not be distributed adequately. The researchers used data from studies conducted between 2006 and 2015 in Beijing to find an association between air quality and federal investment. They concluded that effectiveness is more apparent when the concentration of pollutants is higher. As the air quality index rises, the improvements will not be as prominent according to the environmental model by Xie and Wang (45). The authors argue that the government needs to set a framework that would help moderate financial input about air quality standards.
Human Ecology and Sustainability
The article by Xie and Wang raises an important question as to how air pollution can be controlled by authorities. To give the issue a broader context, it is imperative to look at worldwide tendencies and statistics. According to the World Health Organization, as of now, nine out of ten people are breathing polluted air, which takes a toll on their health (“Air Pollution”). WHO reports that low air quality is associated with stroke, heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer (“Air Pollution”). Every year, air pollution causes seven million premature deaths around the world. Addressing this pressing issue is one of the global goals, and governments need to be in charge of leading the change since citizens can do very little to help the environment.
There are no immediate solutions to air pollution: any significant improvements will require environmental research, many reforms, and restructuring of the industries. Introducing renewable fuel to ensure clean energy production could be a good start. For that, industries need to move away from fossil fuels and substitute them with solar, wind, and geothermal energies. Eco-friendly transportation such as hydrogen vehicles is another way to reduce air pollution. Lastly, given national regulations in place, citizens can also contribute to the cause by adopting healthy energy consumption habits and using more efficient devices.
While living in a city often means better conditions and access to goods and services, rapid urban development has been associated with adverse health outcomes due to air pollution. Beijing has been suffering from poor air quality for years, and China’s government has been taking financial measures to fix the situation. Xie and Wang researched air pollution data between 2006 and 2015 and concluded that while government interference had been beneficial, the efficacy might decline if comprehensive standards are not introduced. Air pollution is not only China’s problem: it is a global issue affecting as many as 90% of people worldwide. Effective measures to combat air pollution include alternative energies, eco-friendly transportation, and energy conservation.
“Air Pollution.” World Health Organization, 2019. Web.
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Xie, Xiaoyao, and Yuhong Wang. “Evaluating the Efficacy of Government Spending on Air Pollution Control: A Case Study from Beijing.” International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, vol. 16, no. 1, 2019, p. 45.