China Plans To Spend $275 Billion To Combat Pollution Crisis

Written by Aviva Shen

China’s air pollution levels have reached dire levels, even breaking the upper limits of the Air Quality Index earlier this year. In a sign the government is serious about tackling this crisis, The China Daily announced Thursday that China will spend $275 billion over the next five years to reduce emissions and launch anti-pollution programs.

The funds, which exceed the total economic output of Hong Kong last year, will target emissions in the densely populated area surrounding Beijing, where residents have suffered through off-the-charts pollution and all its accompanying illnesses. Air pollution caused more than 1.2 million premature deaths in China in just one year, while some Beijing schools are building air-purified domes over playgrounds so children can play “outside” safely. Anti-pollution protests have grown more and more prevalent all over the country.

These unsustainable conditions are directly linked to China’s rapid industrialization. Most of Beijing’s pollution stems from factories and power plants outside the city. China’s coal production has tripled in the past ten years as the nation’s energy consumption has exploded. The Chinese government, up til this year, has aggressively encouraged economic growth at the expense of the environment and public health.

But now that the environmental repercussions cannot be ignored, the government has done a hard about-face. New promised anti-pollution measures include speedy installation of pollution control equipment on coal-fuelled refineries, restrictions on high energy consumption industries like steel, cement and glass, and use legal action to force industries to upgrade their emissions standards.

Before Thursday’s announcement, China had already pledged $16 billion to specifically help Beijing build and update sewage and garbage treatment, plant new forests and curb illegal construction. The nation also invested twice as much as the U.S. in clean energy projects last year.

This post was originally published at ClimateProgress.

Photo from Thinkstock

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B Jackson
BJ J.2 years ago

What a waste of $$ for something that coulda/shoulda been prevented in the 1st place. Shame on all of us who contributed to this mess.

Carrie-Anne Brown

thanks for sharing :)

Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener2 years ago


Kirsten Vines
Past Member 2 years ago

I sure hope so. But in an economy with GDP in the trillions, and in a country that size, will that even be effective? Is that even a large, dedicated spend?

Oh well, I suppose every bit helps! Keep posting these kinds of articles please :)

Mary K.
Molly D.2 years ago

Read labels before you buy, WE are the ones polluting China.

Eileen P.
Eileen P.2 years ago

I won't buy anything from China especially if it is any kind of food......even if it says organic......the water there is so awful......even stevia made in are polluting yourself with anything from wise I am talking now......another time for other the fact that they actually demand animal testing......and certain of our cosmetics companies that spent the last 20 years NOT animal testing are doing so now because they moved to China.......people don't know and they don't look anymore because these companies have not animal tested for so many years.......and China like Korea treats cats and dogs inhumanely.....I will not buy from that country.......don't care how much they are spending now on trying not to pollute.......

Vivian B.
Vivian B.2 years ago

We don't fare much better here in the U.S. We are polluting the air, land and water hand over fist every day! That's why there is a new island in the Pacific made of "disposable" plastics!!
Just think of all the things that were washed out to sea when they had the tsunami in Japan. Stuff from that disaster is still washing up on shores of all beaches!
We HAVE to change to a different kind of fuel and fast! Fossil fuel is going to be the death of Mother Earth unless we change right now to solar, wind and other sustainable fuels!

Chuck S.

We need to clean up our own act. Remember we are the number two worst polluter out there. It's time to step away from fossil fuels as quickly as we can. Solar power has declined in cost 80% over the last decade. It's now cost effective to go solar. As a matter of fact it's the single best investment you can make for your retirement. It freezes your energy costs and if you switch your transportation to electric it makes travel nearly free. There really isn't a down side. You even get to save the planet and the future for our kids. You can't put a price on that.

Mara Comitas
Mara Comitas2 years ago

How much are they planning spending to educate the masses? They can clean up their cities but what of the barbarians that live there? Until they show respect for life (marine, animal & human) China will still be on my $hit list!

Michael Kirkby
Michael Kirkby2 years ago

The fact is that China is polluted in every aspect of its environment and is the #1 contributor to global pollution followed by the US.. Say thank you Australia.
Were the Three Gorges Dam for example to ever experience a major rupture; it would result in the toxic soup at the bottom being released into the surrounding environment. That wouldn't only affect China but SE Asia too. In fact they have to employ 24/7 teams to keep the up with the deposited garbage from communities upstream.
Of course everyone wants a car and wealth and all corners are cut to maximize profit: no emission or pollution controls. China like India is still a group of nation states bound together. That was the purpose of Mao/Ping communism - to bind them together and create one nation with a 50 year ren or harvest. That came to fruition in 1997 and a new one has begun.
Policing such an entity is much harder than it seems and rural politics are rife with corruption and collusion.
Personally I hope they succeed for their sake and the planet's. It won't be easy getting all those corrupt hinterland officials to comply. It won't be easy either with China in the grips of an oncoming recession. This is exactly why I opposed CNOOC and Nexen. I don't want Canada becoming the next PRC.