Feature

A visual tour of Beijing's crippling pollution problem

The Chinese government vows to clean up its act, but it has a lot of work to do

In American schools and media, pollution is often discussed in terms of what will happen in the future if we don't clean up our act now. But in China — where wildly overpopulated cities churn out toxic emissions, and hardworking plants produce 95 percent of the world's rare-earths elements — the effects of pollution accumulate like dust in an attic. Just last month, thousands of pig carcasses suddenly appeared in one of Shanghai's major water supplies. Farther west, runoff from local mining industries have turned clear rivers into milky waterways. In Beijing, the remnants of dangerously high pollution levels leave a thick smog that shrouds the city's skyscrapers. In response to public outcry over environmental degradation, China pledged last week to spend 100 billion yuan (about $6.1 billion) over the next three years to deal with pollution in one of its biggest and most troubled cities — Beijing. A photographic tour of the city's pollution problem:

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