Dept. of Environmental Science
Oregon Graduate Center
It is estimated that more than 40% of the coal consumed in China is for industrial, commercial and domestic uses in cities with an area less than 0.5% of the whole country. This means that at present air pollution in China concentrated mainly in cities. In recent years China mined and consumed about 620 million tons of coal a year. About 84% of this coal was burned in factories and homes. Therefore, it is estimated that the total amount of sulfur dioxide emitted to the atmosphere each year exceeds 15-18 million tons. The main pollutants in China are particles and SO2. The particle emissions in China are much higher than in U.S., however more SO2 and NO2 are emitted in the U.S. than in China. Because more coal is consumed in the north, air pollution in northern Chinese cities is higher than in cities of south China, especially in winter. Beijing is a city with typical coal-burning pollution which becomes worse under certain meteorological conditions. It is estimated that the residential coal-burning may be the most important source of pollution in Beijing and in other coal-burning cities in China, since 300 Âµg/m[superscript 3] of TSP may originate from coal burning. On larger spatial scales, the emissions of SO2 may cause acid rain, SO2 emissions and the atmospheric buffering capacity, or more specifically the nature of the soil, brings about the current geographical distribution of acid rain in China.
Ge, Su, "A critical review of air pollution research in China over the last decade" (1986). Scholar Archive. 205.