China’s Air Pollution Travels toward the United States, Study Says

October 5, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

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

1. emit /ɪˈmɪt/ (v.) – to give off
Example: Cars emit smoke that pollutes the environment. 

2. measure /ˈmɛʒ ər/ (n.) – a plan or action done to solve an issue
Example: The city set measures to lessen pollution caused by factories.    

3. determine /dɪˈtɜr mɪn/ (v.) – to come to a decision or to get an answer
Example: Scientists are trying to determine the effects of pollution.

4. consequence / ˈkɒn sɪˌkwɛns/ (n.) – an effect of an event or action
Example: Diseases like asthma and cancer are possible consequences of air pollution.

5. smog /smɒg/ (n.) – a type of air pollution composed of a mixture of fog and smoke
Example: While driving, I couldn’t see anything because of the smog.


Read the text below.
China’s air pollution is moving toward the western part of the United States, a recent study reveals.

Air pollution occurs when pollutants such as nitrogen oxide are introduced into the environment. Common sources of nitrogen oxide include burning of fossil fuels, such as coal. When combined with other compounds, nitrogen oxide becomes ozone. Ozone can come from natural sources like plants, but can also be emitted by man-made sources such as factories and vehicles.

Using satellite measurements, a group of researchers was able to determine that ozone levels in the US West Coast have increased. They were also able to discover the causes of the increase and look into the movement of air pollution.

It turns out that between 2005 and 2010, the ozone concentration level or the level of air pollution in China went up by 7%. Subsequently, winds blew this air pollution into the West Coast of the Unites States, posing a threat to ozone reduction projects in the area.

A research participant from Wageningen [VA-he-ning-ngen] University reveals that during the same period, the United States set measures to reduce emission gases and lessen the production of nitrogen oxide by 20%. However, this was not enough to improve air quality when it came to lowering ozone levels.

While ozone is a natural component of the Earth’s upper layer, bad ozone or ozone near ground-level has dangerous consequences. Bad ozone produces smog, which has negative health effects. Also, at high levels, bad ozone becomes greenhouse gas, which contributes to climate change and pollution.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         What are some ways to reduce air pollution?
·         Who should be responsible in reducing a country’s air pollution—the government or its citizens? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         Does your local or national government do something to address air pollution? Discuss your answer.
·         What industries contribute most to increasing air pollution levels? 

October 5, 2015