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Urban Air Pollution: Smog in Chinese Cities

March 2014

Dense layers of smog have caused chaos in major cities across China including Beijing, Shanghai and Harbin

Urban Air Pollution: Smog in Chinese Cities

The 31 January 2014 saw the beginning of the Chinese New Year – the Year of the Horse. Firecrackers and fireworks are traditionally used in many Chinese New Year celebrations. However, in 2014 in many Chinese cities people were encouraged not to use them, to avoid adding to the continued air pollution problem experienced in many urban areas in China.

The levels of pollution in Beijing routinely exceed safety limits set by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Many people, especially children frequently wear face masks in urban areas to try and filter the polluted air. 


This article will be useful for studying air pollution in urban areas, particularly those who are using any Chinese cities for a case study. This article is relevant for content in the following specifications:

AQA - Unit 1 GEOG 1: Physical and Human Geography – Human options; Unit 3 GEOG 3 Contemporary Geographical issues

Edexcel – Unit 4 Geographical research: Option 5 Pollution and human health at risk

OCR – F762: Managing change in human environments; F763: Global issues B3: Development and inequalities

Pre-U – Component 1: Geographical Issues: Section B Health and Disease

WJEC – Unit 3: Section A Contemporary Themes and Research in Geography.

In the Members' Area:

  • The air quality index
  • Causes of the pollution problem
  • Costs and solutions
  • A growing global issue
  • Premature deaths from air pollution

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