Beijing Records Worst Air Quality

February 6, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. hazardous 
[HAZ-er-duhs] (adj.) – dangerous or harmful
Example: Smoke and dust in the air are hazardous since both can cause lung diseases.

2. disperse [dih-SPURS(v.) – to scatter or spread in different directions
Example: Dust blown in the air disperses quickly.

3. smog [smog, smawg(n.) – a type of air pollution caused by the mixing of fog and smoke
ExampleSmog made it difficult to travel along the highway.

4. traffic [TRAF-ik(n.) – the flow of vehicles through a specific path
Example: A car accident caused heavy traffic.

5. respiratory [RES-per-uh-tawr-ee, -tohr-ee, ri-SPAHYU R-uh-(adj.) – refers to breathing and the whole respiratory system
Example:  Air pollution leads to respiratory diseases.

Read the text below.

Beijing reached hazardous levels of air pollutants in January this year, the highest level recorded so far according to an environmentalist group.

Other parts of China like Tianjin, Wuhan City, and the Hebei province also suffered from serious air pollution. The pollutant level in China reached higher than the acceptable amount of pollutants, said the World Health Organization.

According to Beijing’s environmental office, most of the air pollutants in China came from the use of coal and smoke from cars. China has one of the biggest volumes of cars in the world.

But Beijing’s weather condition also affected the critical level of pollutants. High moisture and low temperature prevented pollutants from dispersing. Low pressure trapped heavy pollutants in the atmosphere, making the situation last for about four to five days.

As a result of the air pollution, thick smog covered the city and made the streets hardly visible, interrupting the traffic. Several highways were also closed, and some flights were delayed.

Chinese authorities warned citizens, especially people with respiratory and heart problems, to stay in their houses and avoid doing stressful activities. According to the World Health Organization, being in contact with high level of air pollutants could cause asthma and other lung diseases.

In addition, people were advised to take the public transportation to reduce pollution caused by vehicles.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Does development contribute to the worsening of air pollution? Please explain your answer
·         How can a developing country keep the environment protected?

Discussion B

·         Do you think air pollution can still be solved? Why or why not?
·         How can you help reduce air pollution?


February 6, 2013