Curse of the Mongols: Lignite Stripmining and North China Air Pollution

(continued from previous post)

“The Mongolian Candidate” – or perhaps Polish?

… still on the subject of China’s “North by Northeast” bias in the concentration of worst-hit “smog” loci.

One thing that seems omitted from most explanations of (thus solutions for) the heavy skew of the worst-hit cities along the North and North east “frontiers”, converging more or less upon Beijing and its nesting province of Hebei, is the weight of transient pollution from adjacent – or even not-so-adjacent – population centers. Or at least under-emphasized.

A possibility too obvious? A lot of the miasma might have a kindred set of causes that have not so long ago been experienced in NW Germany (Brandenburg), where two filings to the European EPA (equivalent) have fingered Polish and Ukrainian power plants, remote though they be, as the source of strangling coal-emission smogs spilt over from electric power generation.

I quote here from http://www.env-health.org/IMG/pdf/heal_background_paper_lignite_health_brandenburg_english.pdf
“Health impacts of lignite-fired power plants The German-Polish region Lusatia (Oct.2012)”

” The [excessive and insalubrious) pollution with sulfur and nitrogen oxides is [not the result of local auto emissions, but] largely caused by the energy industry[‘s use of lignite coal: (lowest grade steam coal in terms of combustible carbon )]. Once released, both pollutants react with the atmosphere to form secondary particulate matter. Nitrogen oxides also act as precursors of ozone. Both ozone and particulate matter can be transported over very long distances and thus cause impacts outside their country of origin.” Buried within the prose are two sub-arguments: particle matters from lignite can and do hang in the air over long distances, as far away [the researchers suggest) as Chernobyl in the Ukraine. [YES, that Chernobyl!!!…); and, second, that nitrous oxide derived acid “rain-smog” and its sister by-product, ozone, are characteristically heavy components in this mix.

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