China pollution

Drone footage showing extent of smog-stricken Beijing’s traffic jams leaves viewers gasping

Videos, including a time-lapse clip of smog descending on the capital, prompt despair, anger and sarcasm

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 03 January, 2017, 4:46pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 04 January, 2017, 12:20pm

Drone footage of cars queueing for kilometres to enter smog-stricken Beijing has sparked heated discussion online as residents brace themselves for more heavy air pollution in the coming days.

The gridlock occurred at a toll station near the capital on the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau expressway at about 3pm on Monday as motorists waited to pay toll fees.

Internet users have poked fun at the traffic congestion.

One viewer commented: “Wow, so spectacular! It fully reveals the achievements of reforming and opening up.”

Another wrote: “Could I go there and sell beverages, boxed lunches and fruit?”

“I thought it was footage of a concert at first sight,” another wrote.

Other social media users were glad they did not have to travel and could stay indoors.

“Why bother like this? I didn’t drive my car during the three-day holiday – I was free of traffic jams and smog.”

Others complained about the lack of action by the authorities: “It’s so serious, but the government did not even apologise. ”

“The counter-urbanisation phenomenon could be accelerated because of the problems facing megacities including traffic jams and smog,” one said.

China’s airports brace for disruption as red alert raised for severe fog

The traffic flow improved on Monday afternoon after highways in Beijing were reopened when a cool breeze helped clear the air for a while. However, traffic was backed up as far as a kilometre at 4pm, the Legal Daily reported. The smog returned to the capital late on Monday night.

Another video making the rounds on Chinese social media showed a 20-minute time lapse video of smog moving into Beijing on Monday.

Choking smog in northern China closed many highways due to low visibility, stranding many vehicles on the road.

The Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau expressway runs more than 2,200km south from Beijing to Guangzhou from where separate branches terminate at the borders of Hong Kong and Macau.