Pollution In China: 20 Shocking Photos


From skies shrouded by filthy layers of gray smog and smoke, to the trash-strewn Great Wall of China, to oil and garbage-filled rivers; China is paying a heavy price for being the world’s largest supplier of goods, forcing millions of its residents to seek refuge behind surgical masks.

According to a report published by Global Burden of Disease Study, air pollution in China was a contributing factor to 1.2 million premature deaths in 2010, almost 40% of the global total! In 2013, in Beijing alone, levels of dangerous particles less than 2.5 micrometres across, known as PM2.5s, were 22 times what the World Health Organization considers safe.

China has had to declare ‘war on pollution,’ as rates of environmental toxicity crossed the danger threshold – authorities have introduced emergency measures to thin traffic and shut down polluting industries. The State Council approved 10 anti-pollution measures aimed at reducing emissions from the industries which contributed to the country’s stupendous economic growth.

Cutting emissions per unit of GDP in key industries by at least 30% by 2017 is one of the main objectives, alongside curbing the growth of high-energy consumption. To help tackle the environmental danger, Beijing has also promised to focus more on solar energy.


Despite these measures, pollution in China remains largely unchecked and as a result the country contains some of the dirtiest air in the world, home to polluted, unusable waterways, as well as swaths of garbage-infested land. These shocking photos reveal how bad China’s pollution problem has become…

1. Fake Hong Kong skyline for tourists.

2. A man looks at a contaminated river in Cangnan County of Wenzhou, Zhejiang province.

3. THIS is THE Great Wall Of China.

4. Children in Dalad play in piles of sand near the Dalate coal-fired-electricity-generating station towers.

Children in Dalad, Inner Mongolia, China play in piles of sand near the Dalate coal-fired-electricity-generating station towers [south of Baotou, Inner Mongolia
Coordinates: 40°22’7″N 109°59’50″E near Ordos]China is the world’s leading emitter of CO2, having overtaken the United States in the last few years — partly due to the products manufactured in China which are marketed by US companies. Use of coal is a prime reason for China’s pollution.
5. Tienanmen Square filled with smog.

<> on January 31, 2013 in Beijing, China.

6. A resident walks on the banks of a polluted river filled with dumped garbage.

7. A child drinks water near a stream in Fuyuan county.

8. A heavily polluted river, Zhugao in Sichuan Province.

9. A polluted river in Wenzhou in Zhejiang Province.

10. A child jumps over trash at a village in Jiaxing.

11. Plastic bottles surround a river polluted by reddish dye.

A woman collects plastic bottles near a river where water is polluted with a reddish dye in Dongxiang, in east China’s Jiangxi Province Friday March 25, 2005. The river is polluted by waste water directly discharged from a small paper factory nearby. China’s already severe water shortages are worsening due to heavy pollution of lakes and aquifers and urban development projects with a big thirst for water. A survey in January found that only 47 percent of water in China’s major rivers is drinkable, while half of all lakes are heavily polluted. (AP Photo) ** CHINA OUT, ONLINE OUT ** – salom

12. A factory in Yutian, 100km east of Beijing, fills the air with toxic chemicals.

(FILES) – This photo taken on July 18, 2006 shows cyclists passing through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 100km east of Beijing in China’s northwest Hebei province. Surging levels of carbon dioxide sent greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to a new record in 2013, while oceans, which absorb the emissions, have become more acidic than ever, the UN said on September 9, 2014. AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS

13. Beijing surrounded by smog.

LIANYUNGANG, CHINA – DECEMBER 08: (CHINA OUT) Buildings are shrouded in smog on December 8, 2013 in Lianyungang, China. Heavy smog has been lingering in northern and eastern parts of China since last week, disturbing the traffic, worsening air pollution and forcing the closure of schools. (Photo by ChinaFotoPress/Getty Images)

14. A child swims in a polluted river filled with garbage.

15. The Great Wall Of China, once again…

16. Waste water being released into Yangtze river.

17. A woman wearing a mask walks through a street covered by dense smog in Harbin, northern China.

A woman wearing a mask walk through a street covered by dense smog in Harbin, northern China, Monday, Oct. 21, 2013. Visibility shrank to less than half a football field and small-particle pollution soared to a record 40 times higher than an international safety standard in one northern Chinese city as the region entered its high-smog season. (AP Photo/Kyodo News) JAPAN OUT, MANDATORY CREDIT

18. Fishermen walk through the muddy bottom of a polluted canal in central Beijing.

Fishermen walk through the muddy bottom of a polluted canal collecting fish in central Beijing October 21, 2010. The canal has been drained for cleaning, enabling fishermen and local residents to collect the small fish from the thick, black mud lining the bottom of the canal. Earlier this year, data from China’s environment watchdog, the Ministry of Environmental Protection, showed almost a quarter of China’s surface water remains so polluted that it is unfit even for industrial use, while less than half of total supplies are drinkable. REUTERS/David Gray (CHINA – Tags: ENVIRONMENT SOCIETY FOOD HEALTH IMAGES OF THE DAY) – RTXTO7H

19. Over 300 pigs fished out of Huangpu river.

20. A morning in Beijing.




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