Air pollution in China reaches hazardous levels

air-pollution-in-beijing-reaches-hazardous-levels

Air pollution readings in Beijing, China were at dangerously high levels for the second straight day on January 12, 2013 with hazy skies blocking visibility and authorities urging people to stay indoors. Severe pollution in Beijing is the worst since the local government began collecting data a year ago. Several other cities, including Tianjin on the coast east of Beijing and southern China’s Wuhan city, also reported severe pollution over the last several days.

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Center said on its website that the density of PM2.5 particulates had reached 700 micrograms per cubic meter in many parts of the city, a level considered extremely hazardous. The index runs from zero to 500 and accounts for the level of airborne PM 2.5 particulates – tiny particles considered the most harmful to health. Generally, the air quality is considered good when the index is at 50 or below, and hazardous with an index between 301 and 500, when people are warned to avoid outdoor physical activities.

Monitors at the US Embassy in Beijing recorded an off-the-chart air-quality reading of 755 on January 12 and the PM2.5 density had reached 886 micrograms per cubic meter.

Fog-shrouded Shenyang-Haikou Expessway in Nantong, east China’s Jiangsu Province on  January 13, 2013. (Credit: Zhu Jipeng)

 

Country’s rapid pace of industrialization, coal power, explosive growth in car ownership and disregard to environmental laws are the main causes for hazardous air pollution in China. It typically gets worse in the winter because of heating needs.

In Beijing, authorities have blamed foggy conditions and a lack of wind for the high concentration of air pollutants. China’s meteorological authority issued a yellow alert for fog that continued to shroud the country’s central and eastern regions. The heavy fog has affected flights at airports in Beijing, Hebei, Hunan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jilin, Heilongjiang and Sichuan, with visibility reduced to around 100 meters at some airports.

Source: Xinhua, China Daily

Featured image:  Street in Ganyu County of Lianyungang City, east China’s Jiangsu Province on January 13, 2013.  (Credit: Si Wei)

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3 Comments

  1. In the popular mind, disease is usually attributed to germs. The fact is, disease results from a complicated interaction between man and his environment. The food he eats, the air he breathes, the genetic traits he was born with, the physical and mental stresses he endures, no less than the microbes to which he is exposed, all help determine whether he will be healthy or sickly. Thus it is clear that one measure of health is not the total absence of all disease but the ability to function effectively within a given environment. Whether the Leaders of each nation has effectively carried out a program of equal weightage given to economic growth and environmental issues need not be heard. It could be seen and felt by its people.
    I wish all the Chinese citizens all the best in their effort to reduce pollution.

  2. Ignore Mother-earth at your peril.
    All that has transpired, is that abuse and greed has come back to bite the clowns on the butt. (all the way from America – the upside of out-sourcing)…….
    I have no sympathy for these gross poisoners and poisoned lemmings teetering on the brink of the cliff….. (sorry, an overused metaphor) rather ‘precipice.

  3. Its time for China to go “green” change their methods of electricity and use alternatives like power from motion in sea waves or solar panels, I dont get why they let it get so bad.

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