shanghai_pollution
Shanghai pollution protests. Image from Weibo.

Growing air pollution protest in Shanghai

Shanghai – Anti Pollution protests against the construction of a new PX plant continue to grow in the Shanghai suburb of Jinshui.  The protest that began on Monday doubled in size Thursday night when approximately 5000 people filled the streets to re-affirm their opposition.

Along with the massive night time march, large groups of people have maintained a protest outside of the Jinshui District Government building since Monday.

PX (paraxylene) is a flammable chemical used in polyester and plastics manufacturing and a major contributor to air pollution, especially the deadly particulate PM2.5.  Air pollution and especially PM2.5 levels are a hot button topic for Chinese people. Tiny pollutants, known as PM2.5, led to about 257,000 premature deaths across the mainland’s 31 municipalities and provincial capitals in 2013. In 12 of the 31 cities, including Shijiazhuang , Nanjing , Tianjin and Chongqing , the mortality rate due to pollution was even worse. In these cities, at least 100 out of every 100,000 deaths were blamed on PM2.5, a rate higher than the official mortality rate from smoking.

In April an explosion at a chemical factory producing (paraxylene) PX in Zhangzhou, Fujian province, required the attention of the Chinese army’s anti-chemical warfare unit and the evacuation of 30,000 people.

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On Sept 19, 2023 ahead of the Climate Ambition Summit in New York City, climate activists gathered for a rally and civil disobedience outside Bank of America Tower in Midtown Manhattan as part of the March to End Fossil Fuels wave of actions resulting in multiple arrests. Activists demand Bank of America to “Defund Climate Chaos and Defend Human Rights” Photo: Erik McGregor (CC BY-NC 2.0 Deed)

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Illustration by Stephanie McMillan. Used with permission