Happiness varies from one person to another, to some, it may come from just sipping a coffee , others find it through a song but to China, happiness depends on how clean the air gets; the mood often drops when people are exposed to air pollution.
A study conducted by Massachusetts Institute of Technology reveals that the higher the level of pollution, the lower the chances of people to have a lighter disposition throughout the day in China’s urban inhabitants. This claim was supported by a group of researchers, who published an article in Nature Human Behaviour, that air pollution affects one’s health, but has a significant impact to people’s behaviour and social performances. According to Siqi Zheng, head of the said research, air contaminants such as fumes, toxic chemicals from factories and vehicular billows inhaled by people contribute to poor cognitive decisions which often lead to depression and anxiety.
The study originates when China’s economic growth rate increases to 8 percent but satisfaction levels amongst people in urban areas are still low. With this, the group decided to unearth various reasons for this problem. They used social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook to gather data from 147 cities in China. Through the help of an algorithm designed to measure the collected data, they find out how the said pollution changes the mood of the people. Obviously, the results indicated that the cleaner the air, the happier the person.
From the daily air quality readings released by China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection, there are almost 2.5 million air elements that are harmful to the lungs. However Dr. Zheng added that although the study only focuses on the mood created by these particles, they cannot hide the fact that these pollutants may also cause damages to people’s health.
Although there are recommendations from the environment and health councils of China that the individuals should move to cleaner cities, it is not a better solution as to how they can alleviate the mood of its people. This study only gives China an idea on its people recent response to pollution but it also uncovers one alarming truth; as pollution will continue to rise, health and well-being is also compromised.