Target: Li Keqiang, Premier of China
Goal: Take immediate action to improve dangerous air conditions in Beijing and elsewhere in China.
China made headlines recently when the capital city of Beijing was engulfed in smog so thick it obscured vision and caused people to choke. The city’s 23 million inhabitants were subjected to pollution 40 times the recommended safe levels in some areas. This isn’t the first time Chinese citizens have come face-to-face with dangerous pollution. Yet, despite these frightening hazy days, the Chinese government does not seem moved to make drastic changes to tackle the air quality problem.
After receiving criticism from health and environmental organizations for inaction, the Chinese government issued its first air quality red alert that forced people inside, cars of the road, and factories to stall operations until the smog cleared. This reaction, however, does nothing to address the long-term causes and effects of serious air pollution in China.
The hundreds of millions of tons of coal burned each year to supply energy to the country contributes significantly to the problem. Lack of enforcement for vehicle emission standards and environmental regulations is also to blame. China has repeatedly opted to prioritize commerce and industrialization over the health of its citizens. It is estimated that air pollution in China contributes to the death of around 4,400 people every day.
Last year, the Chinese premier “declared war” on pollution. Despite his dramatic claims, the situation has only seemed to get worse. If the Chinese government is serious about tackling dangerous air pollution, environmental regulations need to be both tightened and strictly enforced. Air pollution is not just an issue for Beijing, or even China. Pollution drifts across country lines and corrupts the atmosphere we all share. Urge the Chinese premier to take the health of his citizens seriously and take immediate steps to improve air quality.
Dear Premier Li Keqiang,
I am very disturbed by the poor air quality in Beijing and elsewhere in China. As I’m sure you are aware, smog in the capital city recently became so thick that it forced citizens inside until rain cleared the toxic haze away. Harmful chemicals in the air were estimated to have reached 40 times the recommended safe amount.
Red alerts are helpful in protecting people from the worst effects of pollution, but this type of situation should not be allowed to occur in the first place. It is imperative that the Chinese government tackle the long-term causes of air pollution, such as coal-fired plants and vehicle emissions.
It’s been estimated that air pollution in China contributes to the death of around 4,400 people every day. Chinese citizens should not have to live in fear of the air they breathe. It is not enough to have environmental regulations on the books, they must be enforced fully and adjusted to reflect the severity of the problem. I am urging you to please take immediate action to cut emissions and ensure the air in China is safe to breathe.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Kevin Dooley