Air Pollution Is Going to Be China's Biggest Export

William Pesek: This 'geopolitical headache' has dangerous implications
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 22, 2013 12:27 PM CDT
Air Pollution Is Going to Be China's Biggest Export
Visitors stand on Tiananmen Square across from a portrait of former Chinese leader Mao Zedong in thick haze in Beijing on Jan. 29, 2013.   (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

Home to 16 of the 20 dirtiest cities on Earth, some of the world's filthiest waters, and deadly, particulate-filled air, China is growing so polluted that it is threatening both the Communist Party's leadership at home and the quality of life around the region, writes William Pesek in Bloomberg. Pesek recounts having a flight delayed in Tokyo recently—because of a sandstorm. "The sand is compliments of China’s boom," he writes. "Thanks to deforestation and overgrazing, more and more of the Gobi Desert’s grit, along with industrial pollution."

China also faces water disputes with Kazakhstan, India, and other neighbors, trouble over illegal logging in Indonesia, and anger over its unscrupulous companies in Vietnam and Malaysia—all of which exacerbate political tensions around the region. China could tackle its environmental problems much as Britain did in the 1950s, but it lacks the political will. "The strains are becoming a geopolitical headache that will reach a whole new level once PM2.5 (dangerous air particulates) becomes China’s main export." Click for Pesek's full column. (More China stories.)

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