• Sat
  • Dec 20, 2014
  • Updated: 8:14pm

Choking, toxic smog spreads across the nation to inland and coastal cities

PUBLISHED : Friday, 20 December, 2013, 12:25pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 21 December, 2013, 5:23am

The mainland's notorious smog has spread from major city clusters around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou to inland cities in central and western provinces and in the country's north.

Several western cities including tourist hot spots Lhasa and Xian have, unusually, been shrouded in smog or dust for the last two days, while three cities in coastal Shandong province were also blanketed by smog yesterday as pollution readings went off the scale.

"This is alarming. This shows China's unsustainable growth mode is taking its toll across the whole country," said Li Bo , a senior adviser at Friends of Nature, a mainland environmental organisation.

Sandstorms hit Lhasa, 3,700 metres above sea level, on Thursday and yesterday, reducing visibility in some areas to less than five kilometres and disrupting flights at the city's Gonga airport.

Video: A view of Beijing's smog from atop the Forbidden City

Xinhua said weather forecasters expected the sandstorm would last till the weekend. It said a sharp drop in temperature, lower atmospheric pressure and accumulated airborne particles were mainly to blame. Air quality readings were off the scale on both days, with larger PM10 particles - those up to 10 microns in diameter - a major problem.

As the Potala Palace and nearby snow-covered mountains disappeared into the dusty haze, some travellers were shocked that the city with the cleanest air on the mainland was affected.

"Even Lhasa, the sacred city known for its crystal clear sky, succumbs to haze now. Are we losing the last piece of 'pure land'?" asked a weibo user.

Some environmentalists worried that rapid expansion of mining activities near Gonga mountain was to blame for the sandstorms. Mine blasting could send particles into the air, according to Gabriel Lafitte, an Australian researcher.

Xian and Baoji in Shaanxi, and Liaocheng, Dezhou and Jining in Shandong were also among the worst affected cities yesterday, with pollution readings off the charts.

The mainland's persistent smog problem seems to have gone from bad to worse recently as the "airpocalypse" - a term coined earlier this year when Beijing suffered severe pollution - affects more cities.

This month alone, pollution has been off the charts in at least 25 cities, sometimes for consecutive days. Only three of them were in the Beijing-Hebei-Tianjin cluster of cities known as the mainland's smog belt.


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This article is now closed to comments

It's very odd that a dictatorship cannot dictate a national pollution standard and then enforce it. "differences between regional policies on air pollution may lead to the transfer of polluting industries between provinces, and impede Beijing's national campaign to clean up the air..."
have they not started the liquid nitrogen concept yet ??? don't worry it's just hazy !! and china - just keep manufacturing those goods for cheap cheap prices while killing our planet at the same time, - at least you guys get rich and can buy property, gucci, lv bags !! what a disgrace to the human race
Wow. I am on vacation and the smog heat is unbearable. We were stuck in a airport once for 7 hours because of smog!
"Or was it largely due to burning fossil fuel in the 50s." No it was burning fossil fuels in an uncontrolled manner. In later years the west developed the technologies that mitigate much of this pollution. (FGD, SCR, bag houses, catalytic converters reformulated fuels etc.) China seems incapable of implementing these mature technologies effectively and rather talks up idiotic innovation such as pumping liquid nitrogen into the atmosphere recently reported in this newspaper. As Benjamin Franklin once said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
Wow, here is a revelation: shiftng pollution around rather than tackling pollution at the source is not a viable policy. Huh? Who would've thought that?
Said dictatorship has many laws and policies on the books but when it comes down to collecting tax revenues from the provinces, they'd much rather have the cash than the air.
China,China,China this and China that. !.3 Billion (yes a B) people and everyone is wired to think and act the same. All it takes is to push a button to solve the problems. Sanitation, health care, housing, working conditions and on and on.
Maybe THIS is what will cause social unrest! It is a choice, you GD Commies, spend some of that stolen money to buy coal scrubbers, smoke stack scrubbers, and clean the sulfur from your fuels. It is just money. Force maintenance of all vehicle engines and execute whoever sells certification stamps for those who fail the emissions tests and the ones who pay them. That way, you take away both the supply and demand. The technology exists, but maybe not so easy to copy and steal, so buy it for once. But, if you GD Commies keep thinking, "The more I spend, the less we have to steal", then the peasants will rise. There is no more pressing need than a parent to protect his/her child. Fundamentally, your policies are harming their child by retarding development of the child's brain. They have to do something. Hopefully, it will be the right things.
Why is smog always blamed on weather ---- smog can arise from a number of issues -- the prevailing weather simply raises its profile. Does weather cause smog in London these days? Or was it largely due to burning fossil fuel in the 50s.
I guessed some people are able to migrate to some better clean enviroment such as the pacific.Chinese migrate to these island are very popular...I am prepared to share some information about ggod clean air envrioment...danny@ekolite.com



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