Some of you may know, Beijing and other many major cities in China are enveloped by heavy smog and haze in recent months. Air pollution in China has been famous recent few years, but recent air pollutant of PM2.5 index hit high record. Polluted air by PM2.5 has been flying to Japan and Korea recent weeks and some cities in Japan imposed daytime curfew on their citizens. Coming flying polluted air has become big problem all over west Asian countries.
PM2.5 is particulates in the air smaller than 2.5 microns and able to enter the lungs and cause serious health problem. Furthermore, PM2.5 is so small that it’s difficult to prevent entering PM2.5 into lungs with wearing a normal mask. According to one report, these particles are associated from with coal-fired power plants and diesel-engine vehicles. The total amount of China’s coal consumption is almost half of the world. China consumed 3.6billion tons of coal in 2012. Amount of power generation in China has increased 200% since year 2000. Since 2000, global demand for coal has increased by about 2.6 billion tons, the proportion of China’s demand for them was 82%. Chinese government has expanded of clean-burning natural gas-fired power plants and nuclear power plants in order to reduce air pollution, and try to reduce coal consumption. However, the rapidly growth of private car and truck ownership deteriorate air condition. These increasing of number of private cars contribute their economic growth.
Now, there are two major opinions to tackle this problem in Japan. One is to protest against Chinese government and call for strict control and improve air condition. Although Japanese government has been asking Chinese government to improve air pollution recent few years, the situation has worsened rather than improved. The other opinion is to consider this problem as one of the business opportunities to sell our technology to China. I totally agree with this positive attitude, because Japan has same experience and solved the problem. In 1950s and 1960s, Japan experienced same air pollutant problem. In these decades, Japanese economy grew rapidly and air pollution caused serious problem to our health. But, we solved these serious problems by our technology and regulations. Now, many local governments in China has been taking action to reduce air pollutant including cap or limits on the ownership of private cars and introducing electric vehicle transportation system, and applying metro transport and subway in major cities. Japanese car makers have advantage regarding hybrid vehicle technology. Actually, Japanese air purification systems are quite popular among Chinese consumers due to high quality and reliability. Furthermore, China and Japan are close to both physical and cultural aspects. Japan should positively respond this time of air pollution in China as a big business opportunity.
Heavy smog in Beijing
Spreading PM2.5 from China