Northern China On Health Alert As Beijing Pollution "Off The Scale", Surpassing "Hazardous" Levels

Tyler Durden's picture

Who would have thought that ultra-rapid industrialization, building entire empty cities to goalseek a supply-driven GDP number that has no reflection on demand reality, and ramming an entire country's industrial output into overdrive without any concern for the environmental impact would have a disastrous effect on smog levels. Certainly not China. Which is why earlier today people across much of northern China were warned to stay indoors as the entire region was put on health alert to avoid air pollution that, in the Beijing area, was among the worst for a decade and possibly ever, is literally off the charts and has in many areas reduced visibility to under 50 metres.

As SCMP reports, "in Beijing, pollution readings by the local environmental watchdog, as well as the US embassy, blew past the upper limit of "hazardous" early yesterday afternoon and stayed there for the rest of the day. US embassy pollution data published hourly on Twitter showed the level of health-threatening PM2.5 - or particles smaller than 2.5 microns - had reached 886 micrograms per cubic metre at 8pm. Its Air Quality Index, which includes PM2.5 and ozone, had surged past the maximum rating of 500 to 755, or "beyond index". With no wind forecast to bring more favourable conditions in the next three days, experts said the worst may be yet to come. "It's so awful that I find it really difficult to breathe," said Zhou Rong , a Greenpeace campaigner in Beijing. "It's the most polluted day I can remember."" Then again, who needs to breathe as long as the brand new Politburo can pretend the economy is growing at the needed 7%+ level, so critical to preserve stability. In fact, to paraphrase Stalin, if China has a few less people, it would also have a few less problems. So maybe the record smog levels are not all that unwelcome after all.

More from SCMP:

The Beijing Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau said its own figures showed PM2.5 levels had exceeded 700 micrograms per cubic metre since early afternoon. That pushed the Air Quality Index to its maximum of 500 for the first time since real-time air pollution updates began on New Year's Day.


Under the mainland's newly revised standards, a level above 200 is considered heavy pollution and unhealthy to those with lung or heart diseases. Readings above 300 are deemed "hazardous for the entire population".


State television and local media warned people to avoid going outdoors as much as possible, quoting forecasts that suggest winds will not arrive to clear the choking smog until Tuesday.


Beijing Children's Hospital said heavy pollution was largely to blame for the number of children being treated for respiratory ailments hitting a five-year high in the past week, with more than 7,000 patients a day.


Exacerbated by heavy fog, pollution in Chengdu , Jinan , Wuhan , Xian , Zhengzhou and many other cities has worsened significantly in recent days. Visibility fell to less than 50 metres in many areas, forcing the closure of dozens of highways and the cancellation of dozens of flights.

AFP chimes in:

Those who did venture out wore facemasks for protection, with visibility low, the skyline shrouded, and the sun hidden in the smog.


Air quality in Beijing showed airborne particles with a diameter small enough to deeply penetrate the lungs at a reading of 456 micrograms per cubic metre, the warning centre said.


The quality is considered good when the figure stands at less than 100.


Fog also covered vast swathes of east and central China also closed numerous highways and delayed flights in several provinces, it added.


China's air quality is among the worst in the world, international organisations say, citing massive coal consumption and car-choked city streets in the world's biggest auto market.

And some pictures:

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RacerX's picture

USA back in the '50s.

flacon's picture

Chineze's tend to wear those face masks a lot... just sayin'.... 
Oh, and also they use "sun umbrellas" a lot too. Even here in rural Canada - the face masks and sun unbrellas.  

Jam Akin's picture

Saw a report of at least 2 people dead of bird flu in Bejing recently.  That'll get many more folks masked up real fast over there.

knukles's picture

The CDC will say that 2,000 of 'em die every day of bird flu.
Take your shots

Caged Monkey's picture

Printing money should fix that.

ACP's picture

Or better yet, why can't they just print clean air?

Caged Monkey's picture

Clean air is one of the green shoots.

redpill's picture

Breathe, breathe in the air
Don't be afraid to care
Leave but don't leave me
Look around and chose your own ground
For long you live and high you fly
And smiles you'll give and tears you'll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be
Run, run rabbit run
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don't sit down it's time to dig another one
For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race toward an early grave.

TwoShortPlanks's picture

NWO, NOW, OWN...pollution.

Congratulations Yoda!

trav777's picture

China is the future, they're gonna take over everything.  Look how smart and efficient they are

koncaswatch's picture

redpill +1 for Pink Floyd.

There is a lot of prescient thought in their lyrics; we will quote them much in the coming months/years.

A Nanny Moose's picture

not really sure how this gets down votes.

Perhaps "We don't need no thought control"

malikai's picture

I'm in Beijing right now. High pressure system has locked in air that should be being blown out to sea. It happens quite often here. Similar to an inverse of the LA basin, the mountains surrounding the city cause this from time to time.

It's pretty bad.

laomei's picture

Yep, it's a high pressure system and it sucks balls.  All this shit is basically some car fumes, but mainly from everyone in China burning coal for heat.


As bad as it is, it used to be worse, much much much worse.

trav777's picture

nuclear power to the rescue!!

dark pools of soros's picture

That because they grew up in a dying empire

toady's picture

No doubt brother, no doubt.

Will the Pats be saying the same next week?

nmewn's picture

And digitize the dirty!!

espirit's picture

How long before China exports the pollution back at the U.S.?

LetThemEatRand's picture

Please don't give Wal-Mart any ideas.

knukles's picture

Next be determined by People's Central Committee on Truth in Pollution and Red Squinty Eyes that it was Nefarious Underhanded Gaijin like Doings of Evil Japanese Imperial Forces in Attack for Purity of Doucheiutowat Islands.

akak's picture

Very mattering crustification.

CompassionateFascist's picture

Ananonymous had a mild attack of flatulence. That's all it is. 

TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

He was having another episode of the dog farts, triggered by too much wokking.

mkhs's picture

We are already downwind of Japan.  It is coming.

Freddie's picture

Obama will give China the states of Alaska and California.  Problem solved.

PhD's picture

Silly you!

One doesn’t print clean air!

One printz the money and then buy the air from the primary dealers such as Al Gore and the other champions of freedom.

CPL's picture

That's what carbon credits are appearently.

nmewn's picture

Except working people are poorer by the mechanism.

Bicycle Repairman's picture

This looks just terrible.  But the main ecological problem in China, Japan and Hollywood remains climate change.  So first and foremost we need agenda 21 and carbon taxes.  Bend over and pay up.

Matt's picture

Incompletely burning gasoline in an 8:1 compression engine, or burning coal with no scrubber, would certainly be covered under a Greenhouse Gas Taxation or Credit scheme.

Remember, GHG includes all gases that insolate, preventing infrared waves from escaping into space. The tax or credit should apply to all manmade sources, not just Carbon Dioxide.

PrintemDano's picture

Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.  As Moe would say "Wake up and go to sleep".

Flakmeister's picture

Agenda 21? Really?

You seem to have finally self-asphyxiated on your own bullshit...

Jam Akin's picture

I regret that I have but one green arrow to give you.

nmewn's picture

So you're saying democracy sucks when it doesn't go your way ;-)

Jam Akin's picture

Not at all - Kinda the same as saying +100 itn't it?  I was expressing my fervent opposition to Agenda 21 - a concept which merits much profanity.  And was surprised to see that another critique of same was being downvoted here.


Musta missed the /s at the beginning of the thread or was it the messenger, not the message about agenda 21 collecting the down-red?

OK then - I'll go ahead shoot a red one in my own head too :-)

Bicycle Repairman's picture

We all know who's full of shit, Flaksheisser.  It's you.

Zero Debt's picture

That is so true, greenhouse gases wreaking havoc on sunrays in outer space are far more dangerous than urban air pollution. Which is why all good Agenda 21 citizens must take action: a reduction in breathing frequency of 80% reduces cellular carbon emissions by over 95%.

Silver Bug's picture

I have been there, it truly is disgusting the level of pollution.

ZeroAvatar's picture

The level of spam pollution is getting pretty bad on ZH, as well.

Ident 7777 economy's picture


Ha ha .. looks like a west Texas dust storm ...  


(I think a re-analysis is called for ... that COULD just be west CHINA dust ...)


toady's picture

I was over there in the mid-80's and they where all wearing masks. They always said it was for flu season, allergy season, whatever. It was never about pollution.

Sounds like they better up their game to full chem suits if it's as bad as they say.

jonjon831983's picture

Only round eye barbarians don't wear face masks n sun umbrellas.


Haven't you heard of the negative health effects of sunlight?  All the airborne diseases out there?


But really, I think post-SARS / Bird Flu had a big influence on wearing face masks.

The Shootist's picture

Dont they wear weird pantyhose ski masks on the beach?

Missiondweller's picture

Even here in foggy San Francisco you see that among older Chinese.

Nels's picture

USA in hte 50s?  Maybe in the inversion prone areas of California, but it was not a general problem.

granolageek's picture

Pittsburgh. Ron Paul's home town.