Chinese Government to Pay Cities $1.6 Billion to Reduce Air Pollution
The Chinese government is so disturbed by its nation's growing reputation for poor air quality that is willing to pay cities that try to buck the trend.
China's cabinet has announced the development of a fund worth $1.6 billion to reward cities and regions that make efforts to control key areas of pollution, according to a report from The Associated Press (AP).
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Key goals include controlling particulate matter in the air, curbing coal consumption, promoting "high-quality gasoline" for vehicles, saving energy during construction and using environmentally friendly boilers. The country will provide the rewards from the fund instead of providing frequent subsidies. The country did not state how or when the cities and regions would be paid.
Some of China's industries that engage in heavy pollution have emissions standards, but many are not being enforced, according to the AP. Adding to the problem is local governments' tendency to approve pollutant-intensive projects that can generate growth—often what those projects are judged on.
Beijing is off to an early start, announcing this month that it would shut down 300 polluting factories this year and phase out unspecified industries in an effort to improve the city's air according to the Xinhua News Agency. The city will publish a list of the factories by the end of April. It will also conduct "clean audits" of 200 factories while launching and promoting 50 clean energy projects around the city.
In December, China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection said that 8 million acres of farmland across the country was far too polluted with heavy metals and chemicals to be used to grow food.
A U.S. National Academy of Sciences study suggested that large amounts of pollution that travel from China—and the environmental and health issues they create—stem from the U.S. demand for cheap goods manufactured in China.
Visit EcoWatch’s CLIMATE CHANGE page for more related news on this topic.
At first glance, you wouldn't think avocados and almonds could harm bees; but a closer look at how these popular crops are produced reveals their potentially detrimental effect on pollinators.
Migratory beekeeping involves trucking millions of bees across the U.S. to pollinate different crops, including avocados and almonds. Timothy Paule II / Pexels / CC0<p>According to <a href="https://www.fromthegrapevine.com/israeli-kitchen/beekeeping-how-to-keep-bees" target="_blank">From the Grapevine</a>, American avocados also fully depend on bees' pollination to produce fruit, so farmers have turned to migratory beekeeping as well to fill the void left by wild populations.</p><p>U.S. farmers have become reliant upon the practice, but migratory beekeeping has been called exploitative and harmful to bees. <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/10/health/avocado-almond-vegan-partner/index.html" target="_blank">CNN</a> reported that commercial beekeeping may injure or kill bees and that transporting them to pollinate crops appears to negatively affect their health and lifespan. Because the honeybees are forced to gather pollen and nectar from a single, monoculture crop — the one they've been brought in to pollinate — they are deprived of their normal diet, which is more diverse and nourishing as it's comprised of a variety of pollens and nectars, Scientific American reported.</p><p>Scientific American added how getting shuttled from crop to crop and field to field across the country boomerangs the bees between feast and famine, especially once the blooms they were brought in to fertilize end.</p><p>Plus, the artificial mass influx of bees guarantees spreading viruses, mites and fungi between the insects as they collide in midair and crawl over each other in their hives, Scientific American reported. According to CNN, some researchers argue that this explains why so many bees die each winter, and even why entire hives suddenly die off in a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder.</p>
Avocado and almond crops depend on bees for proper pollination. FRANK MERIÑO / Pexels / CC0<p>Salazar and other Columbian beekeepers described "scooping up piles of dead bees" year after year since the avocado and citrus booms began, according to Phys.org. Many have opted to salvage what partial colonies survive and move away from agricultural areas.</p><p>The future of pollinators and the crops they help create is uncertain. According to the United Nations, nearly half of insect pollinators, particularly bees and butterflies, risk global extinction, Phys.org reported. Their decline already has cascading consequences for the economy and beyond. Roughly 1.4 billion jobs and three-quarters of all crops around the world depend on bees and other pollinators for free fertilization services worth billions of dollars, Phys.org noted. Losing wild and native bees could <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/wild-bees-crop-shortage-2646849232.html" target="_self">trigger food security issues</a>.</p><p>Salazar, the beekeeper, warned Phys.org, "The bee is a bioindicator. If bees are dying, what other insects beneficial to the environment... are dying?"</p>
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