The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing cast light on China’s air pollution problem. The smog was seen around the world and environmentalists’ concern was heightened. The pollution has affected the citizens’ lives on a daily basis but this was one of the first times it was shown on a global platform. Citizens have been seen and photographed time and time again wearing facemasks to protect themselves from the smog. This pollution has been known to cause a cough or a tickle in the throat that usually lasts from December through April and has been coined as the “Beijing Cough”.
Over six years after the world departed China after the Olympics’ closing ceremony, China is making strides to remedy their air pollution problem. It was recently announced that they will implement a ban on sulfurous coal. The ban also extends to coal that has high ash content. The ban will begin in January 2015.
The Chinese government has set different level of requirements on coal grades for mining, local sales and imports. The coastal regions such as Guangdong and Zhejiang province are some of China’s top coal importers; the regulations are set to block a sizable amount of imports.