China Is Polluting California’s Air

Written by Ilana Strauss

It’s big part of the reason California has so much smog.

A lot of people like to imagine pollution respects national borders. The reality is, it couldn’t care less. A new report found that pollution is traveling around the world and, in particular, moving from China to California.

“Pollution really doesn’t know boundaries,” explained Gina McCarthy, the former EPA administrator and director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment at Harvard. “Nothing goes away. It ends up somewhere.”

That’s actually a big part of the reason California has so much smog.

“Scientists found Asian air pollution contributed as much as 65 percent of an increase in Western ozone in recent years,” NPR reported. “China and India, where many consumer products are manufactured, are the worst offenders.” A number of studies have come to similar conclusions, with one study finding “29% of particulates in the San Francisco area came from coal power plants in China.”

Pollution doesn’t stay in the air. It’s in our bodies. Particles flow through air and water into our lungs and food.

“They end up in our bodies in detectable levels,” McCarthy said.

There, they cause a number of chronic diseases.

“Countries like China, India, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Vietnam are accumulating intolerable levels of pollution. In some of these countries, pollution is responsible for one in four deaths, far more than infectious diseases like malaria,” continued the report.

And the problem is getting worse.

“Air pollution is exacerbated in a changing climate,” McCarthy told me.

This post originally appeared on TreeHugger.

Photo Credit: vxla/Flickr


S M20 hours ago

A bit rich America complaining about China and air pollution movement when Trump is regressing industry back to the old days therefore pollution of air and water.

Joanna P
Joanna P20 hours ago

Ban politics. Political government is run by megalomaniacs, wherever it is. We need actual, down-to-earth government that tackles what tax payers need in return for their tax to improve quality of life. It is OUR fault the world is run by politicians. It does not have to be this way.

Vincent T
Vincent T21 hours ago

thanks for sharing


We are all responsible for polluting the air on this earth. Thanks for sharing.

Richard E Cooley

Thank you.

Debbi W
Debbi W4 days ago

China has improved their air quality in some areas. Now to get them to improve it across the entire country.

Angeles Madrazo
Angeles M4 days ago

Oooooooops! Thank you

Naomi Dreyer
Naomi Dreyer4 days ago


Peggy B
Peggy B4 days ago


Alea C
Alea C4 days ago

Fukushima has poisoned their ocean, so now they have polluted air to go along with it. Humans need to be wiped out in some catastrophic event. Oh, yeah, climate change...