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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Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:26 | 3147698 RacerX
RacerX's picture

USA back in the '50s.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:33 | 3147705 flacon
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.  

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:39 | 3147715 Jam Akin
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:46 | 3147739 knukles
knukles's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:54 | 3147767 Caged Monkey
Caged Monkey's picture

Printing money should fix that.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:58 | 3147773 ACP
ACP's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:59 | 3147775 Caged Monkey
Caged Monkey's picture

Clean air is one of the green shoots.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:56 | 3147880 redpill
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:22 | 3147918 TwoShortPlanks
TwoShortPlanks's picture

NWO, NOW, OWN...pollution.

Congratulations Yoda!

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 19:53 | 3149534 trav777
trav777's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:27 | 3147925 koncaswatch
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:12 | 3147989 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

not really sure how this gets down votes.

Perhaps "We don't need no thought control"

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 07:29 | 3148532 malikai
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.

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 17:33 | 3149357 laomei
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.

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 19:54 | 3149537 trav777
trav777's picture

nuclear power to the rescue!!

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:51 | 3148055 dark pools of soros
dark pools of soros's picture

That because they grew up in a dying empire

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:02 | 3147972 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

fuckin ravens.....

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:23 | 3148003 toady
toady's picture

No doubt brother, no doubt.

Will the Pats be saying the same next week?

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:47 | 3148044 smlbizman
smlbizman's picture

indeed they will....

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:01 | 3147778 nmewn
nmewn's picture

And digitize the dirty!!

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:14 | 3147811 espirit
espirit's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:18 | 3147819 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Please don't give Wal-Mart any ideas.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:50 | 3147871 knukles
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:28 | 3147926 akak
akak's picture

Very mattering crustification.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:40 | 3147942 CompassionateFascist
CompassionateFascist's picture

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

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 00:31 | 3148242 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 23:41 | 3148151 mkhs
mkhs's picture

We are already downwind of Japan.  It is coming.

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 00:18 | 3148223 Freddie
Freddie's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:26 | 3147836 PhD
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:11 | 3147987 CPL
CPL's picture

That's what carbon credits are appearently.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:34 | 3148020 nmewn
nmewn's picture

Except working people are poorer by the mechanism.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:47 | 3147747 Bicycle Repairman
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:49 | 3147870 Matt
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:52 | 3148057 PrintemDano
PrintemDano's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:57 | 3147877 Flakmeister
Flakmeister's picture

Agenda 21? Really?

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:31 | 3147933 Jam Akin
Jam Akin's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:49 | 3147955 nmewn
nmewn's picture

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

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 01:12 | 3148228 Jam Akin
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 :-)

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:24 | 3148004 Bicycle Repairman
Bicycle Repairman's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:54 | 3148063 Zero Debt
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%.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:11 | 3147805 Silver Bug
Silver Bug's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:14 | 3147908 ZeroAvatar
ZeroAvatar's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 21:54 | 3147957 Ident 7777 economy
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 ...)


Sat, 01/12/2013 - 22:37 | 3148025 toady
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.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 23:33 | 3148132 jonjon831983
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.

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 02:56 | 3148412 The Shootist
The Shootist's picture

Dont they wear weird pantyhose ski masks on the beach?

Sun, 01/13/2013 - 01:26 | 3148320 Missiondweller
Missiondweller's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 19:45 | 3147737 Nels
Nels's picture

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

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:02 | 3147779 granolageek
granolageek's picture

Pittsburgh. Ron Paul's home town.

Sat, 01/12/2013 - 20:39 | 3147853 Apostate2
Apostate2's picture

A hot gay?

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