Fine particulates almost 40 times the safe level have created a health emergency in Beijing.
Beijing ordered government vehicles off the roads as part of an emergency response to ease air pollution that has smothered China’s capital for the past three days, while warning the smog will persist until Jan. 16.
Hospitals were inundated with patients complaining of heart and respiratory ailments and the website of the capital’s environmental monitoring center crashed.
Official measurements of PM2.5, fine airborne particulates that pose the largest health risks, rose as high as 993 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing last night, compared with World Health Organization guidelines of no more than 25.
“The number of people coming into our emergency room suffering heart attacks has roughly doubled since Friday when the air pollution became really severe,” Ding Rongjing, deputy head of cardiology at Peking University People’s Hospital said in a telephone interview yesterday.
China, which the World Bank estimates has 16 of the world’s 20 most-polluted cities, is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Beijing, home to more than 20 million people, began to release real-time air quality data measuring pollutants of 2.5 micrometers in size in September... [emphasis mine]
On Monday, air pollution reached "critical levels" in 67 of China's cities,...
Beijing's bureau of environmental protection held a rare press conference Monday to explain the severity of the pollution problem, and outline an emergency plan to reduce the levels of harmful air particles.
The government’s recent attention to the issue comes after decades of prioritizing economic development over environmental conservation, critics say.
Is the cause just car related? Or is it some other cause? Or perhaps many causes?
Nevermind - the article states it in the conclusion
The deterioration in city’s air quality has been exacerbated by growth in heavy industries in areas surrounding Beijing such as steel making, smelting, power generating and petrochemical sectors, said Ma Jun, a Beijing-based environmentalist and founder of the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs. “Increased demand for heating in winter, more vehicles running on the roads, have all contributed to the high level of pollutants in the air.”
... among the world’s ten most air polluted cities, 7 are in China. They are Taiyuan, Beijing, Urumqi, Lanzhou, Chongqing, Jinan and Shijiazhuang.
Earlier this week, the NY Times reported that the air-quality monitoring device atop the United States Embassy in Beijing had recorded the highest levels yet. The device measures fine particles called PM 2.5 because they are 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. An air quality index of 500 is considered the worst possible and yet the device recorded a level of 755. For a comparison, the current air quality index for New York City is 19. [emphasis mine]
wow - 755 is so high
Sorry - late getting over here. I am just learning about this crisis. Thanks for educating us on the issues.