In Chinas Coal Country, a Ban Brings Blue Skies and Cold Homes by Steven Lee Myers

Date:  2021-09-01 18:08:02
4 pages  (970 words)
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Article Analysis

The article by Lee Myers portrays how the Chinese government is putting up measures and policies to ban coal as the primary source of heating in a majority of Chinese homes. The author argues that the demand for coal this year after being in less market over the past three years prompted the Chinese government to act swiftly and close a majority of the coal mines. The government has dumped old coal stoves in a bid to replace them with natural gas furnaces to create a better atmosphere. Due to the throat-scraping pollution, the administration has set up fines and regulations to companies and homes that will be found using coal as the primary source of heating. In Shanxi, one of the countrys most significant coal producing regions, the government has managed to shut down twenty-seven coalmines, and the officials in this province have acted aggressively in support of the state (Lee Myers par. 6).

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The article also mentions that the Chinese government has provided subsidies on electricity to enable the villagers to have access to proper heating. However, some individuals still use coal, but they are conducting their operations hiding from the authorities for fear of being persecuted. Moreover, a black market has already flourished, and in some villages, coal is being sold in abandoned workshops. Although the people in Shanxi are complaining that the use of electricity is expensive for them, a majority of the people have welcomed the move by the government to ban coal burning. Many people recognize the side effects of coal use and are happy with the governments decision as long as it continues to subsidize the electricity.

From Lee Myers article, it is evident that coal burning has had significant side effects in the whole of China. The author first begins the piece of writing by stating how China has faced skepticism over its pledges to fight air pollution. As a means of portraying governments effort to combat air pollution by banning the use of coal in the nation, the author talks about the coal stove graveyard that symbolizes governments actions (Lee Myers par. 5). Lee Myers portrays that the move to close down twenty-seven coalmines in Shanxi by government officials was an attempt by the members to impress Beijing.

Lee Myers not only shows the positive measures taken by the government to ban the use of coal but also highlights the consequences of the extreme effort made by the Chinese administration. Lee Myers talks about the effects that followed after coal stoves were removed in the town of Shanxi. The government delayed the installation of new furnaces, and the people were left in the winter cold. Additionally, since the transformation to natural was happening in a fast pace, the government also failed to supply enough gas; hence, shortage of the resource became imminent, and prices rose to excessive levels (Lee Myers par. 7). Lee Myers also records complaints of people on social media after an image of schoolchildren learning outside the classroom due to the lack of heating equipment in their classes. The public was complaining that the government had imposed restrictions on particular towns and allowed others to use coal.

Equally important, Lee Myers manages to capture the reactions of the Chinese people regarding the move by the government to ban the use of coal. The people show support to the state and are happy to use electricity. For instance, the coal museum of China celebrates the move by the government. Additionally, Lee Myers interviews Li Lihu, a retiree who states that the step by the government is an indication of Chinas progress. Lihu mentions that people in the area welcome the relief from air pollution (Lee Myers par. 23). Lihu enjoys the move more so because the government provides a subsidy for electricity. China seems to eradicate the problem step by step mainly because of the winter. Lee Myers quotes Ms. Huang, the analyst with Wood Mackenzie who claims that the government might take a gradual move after the end of the cold season. In this case, the author tries to back up evidence that shows the Chinese administration is aware of the problem and is taking bold steps to eradicate the issue entirely.

Overall, Lee Myers article is well written, provides a brief background of the problem, and is backed by relevant sources. The author utilizes simple language that is easy for readers to comprehend. Lee Myers also incorporates pictures of coalmines and quotes words from interviews conducted while compiling material for the article. Thus, the article is a good read for both educational purposes and general reading.

Question 1. Do you think the government of China is making significant efforts towards the fight against air pollution?

Yes, the government of China is making positive steps. Firstly, it has managed to burn the use of coal stoves in homes and businesses and replaced with natural gas and electricity. Lower income earners receive electricity subsidies to help pay for their bills. Local government officials are working together with the national government to eradicate the problem. For instance, in Shanxi, the officials managed to close twenty-seven coalmines.

Question 2. Which is the countrys largest coal producing region?

Shanxi.

Question 3. Is the ban of coal stoves in homes and small businesses a good step in the fight against air pollution?

Yes, commercial users represent approximately six percent of Chinas population. The homeowners and small businesses do not have filtering systems like those available by big coal users such as government plants; therefore, eradicating the coals stoves from home users and small businesses will have a positive effect towards the reduction of air pollution.

Works Cited

Lee Myers, Stevens. In Chinas Coal Country, a Ban Brings Blue Skies and Cold Homes. The New York Times, 10 Feb. 2018, https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/10/world/asia/china-coal-smog-pollution.html?rref=collection%2Ftimestopic%2FChina

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