Beijing, China pollution level goes from 'hazardous' to off the charts, literally

Discussion in 'China' started by Singh, Dec 13, 2011.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Beijing air goes from 'hazardous' to off the charts, literally



    A dense blanket of smog covered most cities in northeast China this past week, reaching record pollution levels and grounding hundreds of flights at Beijing’s international airport. Public outrage over the quality of the air in the Chinese capital is rising high while the government insists that the problem is down to inclement weather and nothing to be overly worried about.

    For most of this week the air in Beijing has been rated as “very unhealthy” and “hazardous” by the US Embassy air monitor, reputed as the most reliable indicator of pollution in the city. On Sunday it posted a new record: “beyond index”, as it registered 522 micrograms of particulate pollutants per cubic meter of air.

    More and more Chinese citizens - and not just expats - are turning to the US Embassy's BeijingAir Twitter account for precise data on pollution, especially since Chinese authorities continued to describe the situation as “moderate” despite the thick cloud of smog – “fog,” according to them - that envelops the city. In fact, Beijing’s health authorities insist that the air is perfectly safe 80% of the time, even though the US monitor has rated the air as good only 13 days this year.



    There is a reason for such a big difference: the air monitor located on the US Embassy roof measures fine particles of 2.5 micrometers in size, deemed by scientists as the most harmful because they can penetrate the lungs easily. Local authorities only measure coarse particles of 10 micrometers in size, and average the results from several air monitors, including one 20 miles away from the city.

    Pollution in Beijing has become one of the most hotly debated subjects on the Chinese web, with public outrage growing after stories surfaced that high-level government officials were equipped with expensive air purifiers. Authorities have tried to ease the controversy by promising to measure small particles by 2015 and opening one of their monitoring centres to the public. They have also questioned the credibility of the US air monitor.

    It isn’t the first time the BeijingAir Twitter account has generated controversy. Two years ago, Chinese officials asked the US Embassy to stop tweeting about pollution in Beijing on the grounds that the information was “confusing” and could have “social consequences”, according to a confidential US State Department cable made public by WikiLeaks.



    “It is advisable not to go out in such weather, but at the same time you have to work”

    Peter Zhang (not his real name) is a translator in Beijing.


    Everyone around me has been talking about the pollution in Beijing because it is affecting our daily lives. The situation is very serious: patients are being diagnosed with asthma and lung cancer all the time. It is advisable not to go out in such weather, especially when there is this hazy fog, but at the same time you have to work. For several years now, I have been wearing a surgical mask every time I am on the street or going to my workplace.
    There was a lot of talk about how the situation had improved since the Olympics in 2008, but I don’t see any difference at all. I see two main reasons for the present situation: first, there are more than five million cars in the city and their carbon emissions are enormous. And second, we’re still burning too much coal.

    I strongly believe the government should step up its measures to reduce pollution. Travel times have to be reduced so we can use public transport as much as possible and reduce our carbon print. We urgently need to shift to alternative sources of energy, like wind or solar, because we are using too much of our resources and we should be saving them for our next generation.”


    “My flight was delayed 10 hours on account of the weather, but I only learnt that pollution was the cause when I reached Shanghai”

    Salomón Simhon is a Colombian filmmaker working in Beijing. His flight from Beijing to Shanghai was delayed for almost 10 hours on account of pollution.


    When I arrived at the airport there was no visibility at all. You could not see a single thing more than 100 metres away. They started delaying our flights, but they would only tell us it was because of the weather. My flight was pushed back every hour and the only explanation we would get was the weather. In the meantime, the airport became incredibly crowded. Hundreds of people were sitting on top of their bags and on the floor.

    We were finally able to board our flight, but you still couldn’t even see the plane’s wing from inside. I only learnt that pollution was the cause of the delay when I reached Shanghai.”

    “I don’t believe pollution has been worse than usual these past few days, but people are taking it more seriously”

    Ponderzhang sells anti-pollution masks on Taobao, an online store that has reported sales of 30,000 masks this week.


    I have seen sales of masks increase noticeably this week. I personally don’t believe pollution has been worse than usual in Beijing these past few days, but the amount of news reports about it has led people to take it more seriously.

    Many people are using surgical masks, but anti-pollution masks are the only way of protecting oneself outside because they filter the particles of pollution in the air. These fine particles are especially harmful for young children and elderly people. These past days I haven’t left my house without wearing one and on Sunday, when it was particularly bad, I stayed inside all day.”

    Beijing air goes from 'hazardous' to off the charts, literally | The Observers
     
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  3. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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  4. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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  5. ice berg

    ice berg Senior Member Senior Member

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    Glad I am not living in those places. :shocked:
     
  6. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    A database recently published by the World Health Organization also shows New Delhi with higher pollution levels than Beijing, but that database relies on official government figures. Beijing’s government has been criticized for down-playing the city’s pollution problems, and recently began tours of its air monitoring facilities.

    I live in Delhi and have been to Beijiing. There is just no comparison. That's the amount I can indulge you in for the moment.
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Beijing has many cars and so it is not unusual if the pollution level is high.

    I am sure the Chinese Govt will take some swift measures to ensure things are brought under control.
     
  8. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Beijing Under Pressure To Change Pollution Measuring

    Beijing Under Pressure To Change Pollution Measuring



    BEIJING — More than 1,500 people have contacted China's environment ministry to urge rapid changes in the way it monitors pollution, amid accusations authorities are underplaying the problem.

    The ministry said last month it was planning to amend the way it measures air quality to include the smaller particles that experts say pose the greatest health risk, inviting the public to comment on the proposal.

    Public anger over heavy pollution in China has been compounded by official data saying air quality is good, or only slightly polluted, when smog is visible and figures published by the US embassy rank it as "very unhealthy".

    Chinese authorities currently use a method known as PM10, focusing on larger particles in the air.

    But the environment ministry has proposed adopting the system favoured by the US embassy, which measures the smallest and most dangerous airborne pollution, known as PM2.5.

    The ministry also said it was proposing to include ozone readings and "set tighter rules for some pollutants already monitored, such as PM10 and nitrogen oxide", although the changes would not be fully implemented until 2016.

    A statement on the environment ministry website dated Tuesday said it received more than 1,500 submissions in the 21-day consultation period ended December 5.

    "The suggestions generally favoured the proposal that the revised Ambient Air Quality Standards should include PM2.5," it said.

    However, the official China Daily newspaper said Thursday that many of the messages the ministry received called for faster action.

    Some environmental campaigners say authorities are unwilling to adopt the PM2.5 standard nationwide yet because under that system, far fewer Chinese cities would be able to claim that their air quality was satisfactory.

    "The main fear is that once PM2.5 is monitored, the mayor of the city will look bad," said Zhou Rong, a Beijing-based Greenpeace spokeswoman.

    "The leaders of the monitoring stations report to the Environmental Protection Bureau, which in turn reports to the government and the mayor. They will not do things to make their boss lose face," she added.

    The China Daily has said in the past that if PM2.5 were used as China's main standard, only 20 percent of Chinese cities would be rated as having satisfactory air quality, against the current 80 percent.

    On Thursday the paper urged the government to respond to public pressure, which comes in the same week thick smog in Beijing forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights at the world's second-busiest airport.

    "Simply sticking our heads in the sand so we can't see the sky won't make the problem disappear. The government needs to be brave enough to face up to the problem," the paper said in an editorial.

    AFP: Beijing under pressure to change pollution measuring
     
  9. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Before any major international event, industries, coal power plants are shut and the poor are forbidden from burning fuel to warm themselves; and miraculously the air clears, and the people are able to finally see the sun.
     
  10. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    If it is not for comprison, why are we having a thread about Chinese air quality on a defence forum?
     
  11. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    You haven't read the article don't you

    :rofl:
     
  12. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    So is that the purpose of this thread?
     
  13. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    The purpose of this thread is to discuss the dangerous levels of pollution in China and Beijing in particular.

    I feel it is important for more and more DFItes and laowis to learn about this and discuss it. If you think it is irrelevant, you may kindly use the report button or pm one of the other staff members.

    I request you to please contribute constructively, and not derail this thread.
     
  14. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    I read that article thoroughly several days ago, I uderstand you will question the credility of Chinese authority, as it happens whenever there is a comparison. Chinese have cooked the number, you always say that.

    Now I am asking, since you guys care so much about air quality, why no one ever posted that masterpiece by NYTimes before, don't tell me no one here follows NYTimes?
     
  15. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West

    Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West



    A U.N. conference on climate change ended Sunday without a major deal to cut toxic emissions. No country emits more carbon dioxide than China -- a byproduct of its booming economy. And, as CBS News correspondent John Blackstone reports, those Chinese emissions are having a big impact in the U.S.
    Chinese officials insist the murky air over Beijing this month is just fog. But measurements taken at the U.S. embassy there show dangerously high levels of air pollution -- so bad that traffic has been disrupted and flights have been delayed or cancelled.

    "It's no longer just their problem; it's our problem," said Kim Prather of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

    Prather studies atmospheric chemistry. CBS News met her at a scientific conference in San Francisco, where she was presenting research that shows what's in the air over China can affect the weather in America.

    "The atmosphere has no walls," she said. "So pollution on this side of the world can make it the other side of the world in about five days."

    The Chinese pollution is carried by the jet stream across the Pacific. In the atmosphere over this country, it can stop the clouds from producing rain and snow.

    In general, Prather said, the equation is more pollution equals less precipitation.

    The particles of air pollution from China collect moisture in the clouds. But the particles are so small and numerous they don't get heavy enough to fall as rain or snow. So the water stays in the clouds.

    But while flying over California collecting atmospheric samples, Prather found something else from China that may make up for much of that lost rain. It's dust -- from huge storms in China's vast deserts.

    Because of their chemical makeup and larger size, those dust particles do collect enough moisture to make rain and snow.

    "We found that wherever there was dust, there was ice," Prather said. "And then below us was snow."

    Understanding the factors that influence California's rain and snow is important because what falls in the mountains is the main water source for most of the state's 37 million people.

    "We're working with the weather guys to try and see this climate-weather link with pollution," Prather said. "It's a complex problem."

    By unraveling those complexities, Prather's research could improve the accuracy of weather forecasting -- explaining why some clouds just blow over while others produce snow storms.



    Pollution from China alters weather in U.S. West - CBS News
     
  16. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    I think I am contributing constructively by bringing New Delhi, which is said to be more polluted than Beijing, into this thread,

    We are talking about air pollution, aren't we? Air pollution in democracy is also air pollution.

    Analysing air pollution in India can do as much good as it can by Analysing air pollution in China.
     
  17. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Can you tell me weather you agree with the article or not?
     
  18. nimo_cn

    nimo_cn Senior Member Senior Member

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    I never said I didn't.

    Now, you answer my question. What matters more to a true Indian, air pollution in New Delhi, or air pollution in Beijng?
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    I think air pollution anywhere since it leads to respiratory diseases.
     
  20. Daredevil

    Daredevil On Vacation! Administrator

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    So what if there is air pollution in Delhi?. Why you always get riled up whenever something is written negative facts about China and immediately bring in something from India for comparison and derail the thread. Its better for you to always stick to the topic.

    Anymore off-topic posts will be deleted.
     
  21. nitesh

    nitesh Mob Control Manager Stars and Ambassadors

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    Ok, so you agree that the purpose of bringing the article "Showing mirror for free", has failed.
     

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