Beijing’s Victory Shocks People Across the Globe


A Typical Day in Beijing

Nadiya Romo

It is no secret that Beijing is one of the most polluted cities in the world. The Chinese Government has had trouble providing its citizens with breathable air and it has been a never ending fight for it. 


However, Beijing is making a huge turn around beginning in the middle of July. The country’s Minister of Ecology and Environment says “The Beijing blue” is the new normal expectation they are following. They hit a new record of clean air since 2013 when records began. 


What prompted this change? 

The air-apocalypse was brought to the media’s attention and gained mass amounts of coverage forcing China to bring changes. Some companies that sell beer went as far as offering discounts on smoggy days. Not only did businesses encourage this change, but China’s own citizens. For many years, the pollution was referred to as “fog” but as new data about the dangers of bad air quality came to light, people became infuriated and fed up with the normalcy of living in contaminated air. As a result, protests broke out in specific cities like Kunming and Shenzhen. These protests were countering coal plants production. The avocation by citizens started a movement across China. However, this change isn’t just happening in Beijing but all of north China. Prior to this turn around the government was focused on economic growth instead of being environmentally oriented. After 2013 the government found a stable balance between economic growth and environmental importance. By 2014 China had announced a national “ war against pollution”. 


The Role of Chinese Citizens

As protests began to get bigger, a documentary was filmed to expose the corrupt officials, state-owned companies, and the government’s role in the air quality problem. The government became worried that the movement for cleaner air would become national, so they made the choice to take action and keep everything controlled. The realization of people’s daily cough was the start of change. Furthermore, accountability was the biggest motivator for the people of China. Whether it was a local official who broke the environmental regulations or specific power pants that were adding to the filthy air. Although not one person or company is to blame for the 20 plus years of this downhill roller coaster, someone has to be held accountable for this disaster.


How did things get this bad? 

One of the main factors that contributed to air pollution came from coal plants emissions. A study showed that in 2016 coal generated 62% of China’s electricity. Not only that but a huge increase in economics called for more electricity to be made and coals to be generated to meet the expectations of production. Also, a surge in the number of motorized vehicles which is also a result of population growth. 

While things have improved the government still has a long way to go for a safer environment.