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  • Jul 13, 2014
  • Updated: 11:15am

Beijing air pollution

The Chinese capital has for many years suffered from serious air pollution. Primary sources of pollutants include exhaust emission from Beijing's more than five million motor vehicles, coal burning in neighbouring regions, dust storms from the north and local construction dust. A particularly severe smog engulfed the city for weeks in early 2013, elevating public awareness to unprecedented levels and prompting the government to roll out emergency measures. 


Public anger in Beijing as authorities fail to post the highest smog alert

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 4:12am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 February, 2014, 4:59pm

Public anger continued to rise in Beijing yesterday at the city government's failure to issue a top-level smog alert after days of heavy pollution, though the air started to clear in the evening as a cold front brought rain and wind.

The Beijing Environmental Bureau removed an orange alert for smog - the second in a four-tier system - that had been in place since Friday, as the official Air Quality Index dropped from above 500 to about 460 at 5pm.

At the US embassy, the PM2.5 reading - which measures tiny pollutant particles that are the deadliest - dropped from 551 micrograms per cubic metre at noon to 446 in the afternoon, still a hazardous level.

The city's meteorological centre has issued 12 smog alerts since February 20. Nine were yellow alerts, the third-highest on the scale, which means people must stay indoors; three were orange, which require a halt to construction, barbecues and fireworks. But Beijing has been under public pressure to issue the highest alert - red - which calls for measures such as closing schools to minimise the impact on health.

A school affiliated to Peking University suspended some classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, though the education committee ordered them to resume yesterday, China National Radio and the Beijing News said.

"Nanjing suspended schools for four days late last year," one microblogger wrote. "This heavy smog has been going on for seven days in Beijing, and they still want our kids to go to school. This is beyond understanding."

A Beijing environmental bureau spokesman said the pollution was not bad enough to activate the red alert.

Greenpeace campaigner Huang Wei said the emergency responses had failed to meet high public expectations. "The officials are not proactive enough. They should listen to public opinion when setting the conditions [for the alerts]."

On Tuesday President Xi Jinping told Beijing city officials to strengthen efforts to curb air pollution, state media reported yesterday. Xi said the priority was to limit PM2.5 levels. This could be achieved by reducing dependence on coal, strictly controlling vehicles and readjusting the industrial structure.

Watch: Beijing targets steel mills to cut air pollution

Up to 15 per cent of the country has been blanketed by hazardous pollution over the past week, with more than 19 cities recording PM2.5 levels far exceeding the World Health Organisation's safe level.


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Here in the US, some of our biggest pollution problems from industries like coal mining, as in the case of a recent leak of toxic mining chemicals into a West Virginia river, upstream of a drinking water system intake, have resulted from the political power of mining company owners. People like the extreme right-wing Charles & David Koch, both billionaires with combined wealth of about $72 billion, have organized nationwide political action networks in every state capital & in Washington to cancel environmental pollution control laws or, when that's not possible, to prevent their enforcement. The Koch brothers also invested hundreds of millions of their own and their wealthy friends' money to finance fake "Tea Party" groups run by public relations firms. Those groups, far from being signs of mass discontent at President Obama's policies, are camouflage for the Kochs' agenda of using the tax system to concentrate income & wealth in the hands of the richest Americans. China's pollution problems won't be solved until its own wealthy elite gives up its total control of the political and legal systems, not to mention the national army. China's deadly pollution problems are a vision of what the America would be like if the right-wing Tea Party-Republican Party billionaires succeed in destroying our environmental laws & enforcement. Ironically, many those laws were adopted under Republican administrations like that of Richard M. Nixon, in office 1969 to 1974.
If you have to wait for the authority to tell you not to send your kid to school, then you are stupid. If everyone refuses to send their kids to school, you are the decision-maker for yourself and your children.
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SCMP put in the wrong title for this. Isn't this supposed to be an article about China testing their new military anti-laser defense system?
China has the money and technology to goto the moon, but can't solve the problem. Other than greed, what's the problem?
sorry ..where is the evidence of the public outrage highlighted in the heading ?
I'm glad you've probably noticed how this paper BS its way to "prosperity".
Probably in Beijing.
typical confucius tradition, it is about face and power, must shuffle mistakes under the rug to safe face!! because parents, companies and governments cannot be shamed!! what a joke!!!


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