Target: Chen Jining, Minister of Environmental Protection, China
Goal: Praise Beijing’s plan to phase out coal usage by 2020.
Coal-burning stoves will be phased out by the year 2020 in Beijing and the surrounding area as part of an effort by the Environmental Protection Bureau to reduce air pollution. Pollution is so bad in Beijing that the city is usually blanketed in a dense smog. The smog was so bad at one point in 2015 that a state of emergency was declared, forcing traffic restrictions and school closures. Thanks to pressure from environmental groups around the world and activists at ForceChange, the city has come up with a comprehensive plan to tackle the smog issue.
Burning coal is one of the major sources of winter heat in Beijing and its surrounding villages. According to environmental protection officials, it could be responsible for up to 60 percent of Beijing’s smog. This smog contains hundreds of dangerous particulates such as arsenic, lead, and mercury, as well as greenhouse gasses such as carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide, which contribute to global warming. The new plan will see these coal-burning stoves replaced with gas or electric heating.
A recent air quality index rating from the Chinese capital measured 346, or 46 points above what is considered “hazardous” by the Environmental Protection Agency. At this point, it is recommended that children, the elderly, and the ill do not go outside at all. The massive amounts of pollution have been linked with many serious health risks, including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
In order to protect its citizens as well as the global environment, it is imperative that China as a whole step up to reduce its emissions. Beijing’s actions will not only help tackle local pollution problems, but will set a precedent for the rest of China to follow. Sign the petition below to praise the capital’s efforts to clean up its air.
Dear Minister Jining,
Beijing has recently announced a plan that would see coal-burning stoves phased out by the year 2020. Coal is the largest source of pollution in China and accounts for an estimated 60 percent of air pollution. This pollution is so bad in Beijing that it creates a thick smog full of dangerous particulates and greenhouse gasses, which can cause serious health issues including respiratory and cardiovascular diseases.
This plan will not only benefit residents, but the environment as a whole. We, the undersigned, praise your efforts to reduce pollution and improve air quality in Beijing.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: LWYang