Beijing endures worst smog of the year

CCTV News

Photo from CFP Photo from CFP

Thick smog covered Beijing and much of north China on Monday as the worst period of air pollution this year stretches into a fourth day.

Smartphone air quality apps, popular among residents of Beijing, showed an Air Quality Index (AQI) reading of 500 — the maximum — for almost all monitoring stations across the city. The apps advised people to avoid going outside.

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

Concentrations of PM2.5, tiny airborne particles that embed deeply in the lungs, peaked at 900 micrograms per cubic meter in southern Beijing, the Municipal Environment Monitoring Center said. The World Health Organization’s recommended maximum is 25 microgram per cubic meter.

That’s 36 times beyond WHO’s safe level. 

statistic_id467022_distribution-of-air-quality-in-beijing-based-on-pm25-concentration-2008-2015

The statistic shows a distribution of air quality in Beijing based on the PM2.5 Air Quality Index (AQI) between April 2008 and June 2015. During that period, air quality in Beijing was considered good on just 2 percent of days.

There have been similar readings around Beijing, including Tianjin Municipality and cities in Hebei Province.

The Center found coal burning to be the major contributor to the high concentration of PM 2.5 after analyzing the composition of the pollutants, according to its head Zhang Dawei.

Complex climate conditions where pollutants are pressed in the lower atmosphere by cold air also contributed to the thickness of the smog, and the situation deteriorated as smog built up around Beijing was blown into the capital by wind, Zhang said.

As a way to highlight the dense air pollution that’s been haunting the capital for days, Netizens outlined photos of iconic buildings that have become utterly invisible in the heavy smog in Beijing. 

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

Photo from Xinhua

In an act to raise public awareness of environmental protection, a young Chinese man has spent 100 days collecting dust from the smog in Beijing. He made a brick from his collection.

The man, nicknamed “Brother Nut,”  used an industrial vacuum cleaner to collect dust during smoggy days, walking along streets in downtown Beijing. He hoped his efforts will remind people to reflect on the way they use natural resources.

Photo from Sina

Photo from Sina

Photo from CCTV News

Photo from CCTV News

The Beijing municipal government recently announced its Five-Year Clean Air Action Plan (2013-2017), bringing forth its most comprehensive and toughest-ever measures in a bid to fight the city’s severe air pollution. According to the action plan, Beijing sets out to reduce particle density by 25 percent or more on the PM2.5 scale, until 2017.

Compiled from CCTV News and Xinhua reports.