Foreign Policy in Focus has a report on the global effects of China’s severe air and water pollution, which is now traveling as far as the west coast of the U.S.:
Information on Chinese emissions is sketchy since the government has not publicly disclosed CO2 or mercury emissions data since 2001. The most commonly cited numbers attribute 25-40% of global mercury emissions (from coal burning) to China. Within China’s borders, air pollution from coal, cars, and dust storms is responsible for 3-400,000 premature deaths and 75 million asthma attacks annually. Data on health impacts internationally are difficult to estimate, but China’s SO2 is responsible for nearly half the acid rain in Korea and Japan, and particulates and dust from China are worsening air quality as far as the U.S. west coast.
Some U.S. researchers believe at least one-third of California’s fine particulate pollution”known as aerosol”originates from Asia. These pollutants could potentially nullify California’s progress in meeting stricter Clean Air Act requirements. In May 2006, University of California-Davis researchers claimed that almost all the particulate matter over Lake Tahoe was from China. [Full text]