China’s air pollution overshoots pre-coronavirus concentrations as life resumes after lockdown

Lauri Myllyvirta, lead analyst with CREA, Declared: “The spike in pollution levels seen in China highlights the danger of a ‘dirty recovery’ led by the foremost polluting economic sectors. In China, this happened after the worldwide financial crisis in 2008 and after the SARS outbreak in 2003, because the government’s stimulus measures targeted polluting industries.

“The pollution spike seen in April and in early May seems to have faded, with pollution levels falling back below last year’s levels on the last half of May and with the govt dialling back expectations of old-school stimulus policies. However, the danger of an extra pollution rebound remains.”

Following the 2008 financial crisis, China saw surges in pollution and CO2 emissions because the country kick-started its economy with a wave of construction projects. These were linked to increases in pollution around Beijing within the winter of 2012-2013, which became referred to as the “airpocalypse”. At its worst, pollution levels hit 25 times that considered safe within the US, NPR reported.

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