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China "Fixes" Pollution Problem... By Raising Danger Threshold

Tyler Durden's picture


If you don't like the frequency of your air-quality alerts, you don't have to keep them. That is the message that the Chinese government has made loud and clear as Bloomberg reports, Shanghai's environmental authority took decisive action to address the pollution - it cynically adjusted the threshold for "alerts" to ensure there won't be so many. In a move remininscent of Japan's raising of the "safe" radioactive threshold level, China has apparently decided - rather than accept responsibility for the disaster - to avoid it by making the "safe" pollution level over 50% more polluted (up from 75 to 115 micrograms per cubic meter) - almost 5 times the WHO's "safe" level of 25 micrograms.



Via Bloomberg,

As the smog that has choked Shanghai for much of the last week reached hazardous levels, the city’s environmental authority took decisive action to address the frequent air-quality alerts: It adjusted standards downward to ensure that there won’t be so many.


It was a cynical move, surely made to protect the bureau’s image in the face of unrelenting pollution that only seems to grow worse, despite government promises to address it. At this advanced stage in China’s development, nobody in the country (or elsewhere) -- not even the loyal state news media -- seems to believe that the problem is solvable, at least not any time soon. Even worse, nobody -- not the state and certainly not the growing number of middle-class consumers (and car buyers) -- seems ready to take responsibility for the mess.




If you can’t fix it, you might as well try to avoid responsibility for it, the thinking seems to go. It therefore comes as no surprise that Shanghai’s Environmental Protection Bureau decided to lower the benchmark for alerting the public about pollution risks. It will now issue alerts only when the concentration of the most dangerous particulates in the city’s air, known as PM2.5 (particulates smaller than 2.5 micometers in diameter) reach 115 micrograms per cubic meter. The previous standard was 75 micrograms per cubic meter. (The World Health Organization recommends not exceeding 25 micrograms per cubic meter in a 24-hour period.)




The state-owned English-language China Daily explained the decision in tone that almost obscured the absurdity of the maneuver: “The bureau said it believes the original standard is too strict, given that haze is common in the Yangtze River Delta region in winter.




On social networks like Weibo and Wechat, Beijingers now show photos of blue skies and white clouds as if they’re on vacation.” This show-off behavior left a bad taste, he concedes, before concluding with a final sentence that ought to serve as a rallying cry in China: “I really hope that someday people will resume reacting to blue skies and white clouds in a ‘normal’ manner.”


That's a hope that probably won’t be fulfilled in this decade or even the next.

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Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:21 | 4235793 idea_hamster
idea_hamster's picture

Just like the US adjusted oil-in-seafood levels....

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:30 | 4235826 firstdivision
firstdivision's picture

...and radiation in seafood, and amount of tap water allowed to be flamible

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:45 | 4235844 Harlequin001
Harlequin001's picture

There you go, sorted, what's the problem?

It gives the photos a nice 'ethereal glow', and that's gotta be worth something...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:50 | 4235892 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

This is nothing.  I read an article yesterday where Chinese officials listed the BENEFITS of the pollution.  Things like increased social cohesion (huddling in climate-controlled buildings?) and improving national defense (the whole country in a smoke screen?).  Not sure if they were trying to be funny or just outrageously optimistic, but I had a good laugh.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:52 | 4235913 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

The people wanted the people's government to increase the people's smog level alert number so it was done.  It's not like if someone complained to the people's government about the people's alert levels they would be shot in the people's square or something.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:57 | 4235924 ElvisDog
ElvisDog's picture

Yeah, it'll be a hoot when 10% of the population has lung cancer in 10-20 years.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:42 | 4236115 MarsInScorpio
MarsInScorpio's picture

For those who question the theological concept of the totally depraved human, you ae watching it in action - China is commiting mass murder on its own population.


No guilt, no conscience, no shame; no accountability to any authority other than themselves as the self-anointed gods decide what segment of he population lives (the uber-wealthy), and what segment dies (Mao's cherished working class).


Every culture has its gods - this is what you get when your god is mammon.


Wed, 01/15/2014 - 20:45 | 4336050 CPL
CPL's picture

Aiming too low and too long a time frame.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:20 | 4236030 TheFourthStooge-ing
TheFourthStooge-ing's picture


It gives the photos a nice 'ethereal glow', and that's gotta be worth something...

Just think of it as a vacation in an alien landscape.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:43 | 4235880 DblAjent
DblAjent's picture

...or the budget by raising the debt ceiling...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:21 | 4236813 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

Are the goal posts even inside the stadium anymore?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:50 | 4235897 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

Or like when the US government declares Roundup glyphosate safe, by having the EPA  increase limits on allowable glyphosate in food crops from 200 ppm to 6,000 ppm.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:21 | 4235798 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

See, central planning works.  /s  FYI, China and America have been on the same page since 1971.  Your corporate masters would like nothing better than an abundance of disciplined workers who work for Chinese wages.

Hedge accordingly.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:55 | 4236157 MarsInScorpio
MarsInScorpio's picture

And the corporate masters will watch demand for their products dwindle as those workers don't have the money to pay for the corporate masters' products.


Corporate masters, also disciples of Mammon, can't bring themselves to admit that they are self-destructing with their greed.


While I'm amazed that there have not been revolutions across Europe yet, I do know that there will come a point when the deprived (as opposed to the entitled), will express themselves with mass anger and overthrow the status quo.


There comes a point when you have nothing left to lose that you throw away concern for personal safety and just kill the first authority figure you see.


If you figure you're going to die anyway, you might as well take as many of them with you before you go.


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:22 | 4235801 iLiquid
iLiquid's picture

Who adjusts the seasonally adjusted bullshit?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:23 | 4235807 Cdad
Cdad's picture

And there are people out there who actually fear anarchy.  Huh?


Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:24 | 4235809 astoriajoe
astoriajoe's picture

hold on one second. Has anyone asked what Tom Friedman thinks about this? Surely he can shed some light here and provide a reasonable explanation.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:26 | 4235814 Bro of the Sorr...
Bro of the Sorrowful Figure's picture

live in SH. nobody is even batting an eyelash. pollution here is a fact of life. you don't like it you can git out.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:26 | 4235820 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Just like L.A. in the 70's.  People just accepted the smog and unshaven pussy.  It's just how it was.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:30 | 4235836 unrulian
unrulian's picture

Unshaven? Who would accept that? that's almost as bad as disco....you old people are crazy

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:40 | 4235867 LawsofPhysics
LawsofPhysics's picture

Of course, all the beaches were empty, and we bought our property in Corona Del Mar for 40k.  Guess how much this beach house is appraised at now?  One of my best revenue-generating assets.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:33 | 4235851 falak pema
falak pema's picture

SO LA of 70s was full of german gals?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:23 | 4236828 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

That explains all the flooding. All the drains are clogged.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:25 | 4236834 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

I was a big Science Fiction fan as a middle school and high school kid. Drawings of distopian cities of the future looked a lot like the photo above - I sure as hell didn't figure I'd ever actually SEE that shit.

As Calvin (of Calvin and Hobbes) said when 2000 rolled around: "Where's my hovercar?"

Actually, that shit CAN be cleaned up, especially with a state-run planned economy. Just get rid of all the coal-fired electric generating plants and replace them with clean, efficient nuclear power and go all electric with the manufacturing plants. No More Air OR Water Pollution!

Oh, wait...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:29 | 4235821 unrulian
unrulian's picture

SO has Japan raised acceptable radiaton levels yet?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:03 | 4235831 khakuda
khakuda's picture

Government's way of dealing with problems. 

My trains were running consistently late, so they changed the schedules.

The Fed saw that the CPI showed inflation, so they changed their preferred measure to the core CPI, ex food and energy.  Then, when that showed inflation, they switched to the PCE index.

Pensions were underfunded and required higher funding due to the low interest rate used to discount the pension obligation, so they raised the discount rate above the actual rate to make the liability appear smaller and, thus, corporate earnings appear larger.

How about the way the government keeps massive liabilities off the balance sheet, such as Fannie, Freddie, Social Security.

The list goes on and on.  Private citizens would be thrown in jail for the manipulation governments routinely make.  They all do it, it's just a matter of degree.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:29 | 4235833 giggler321
giggler321's picture

Not joke, it was like that out side in Sunny England today.  Kind of reminds me of Fukushima, what's safe, keep lifting then level

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:33 | 4235843 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

     I guess the Chinese have more in common with the Japanese then they thought. I love the way the Asian cultures copy eachother. Japan inacts secrecy law to hide corruption, and china raises safe health thresholds to hide pollution corruption.

    It's almost as if I'm living in an alternate universe...

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:27 | 4236057 rwe2late
rwe2late's picture

down arrow for the myopic bias of government deceit

presented as a racial issue attributable to being Asian.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 12:47 | 4236379 Yen Cross
Yen Cross's picture

    I downvote you because it's fun poking holes through your rice paper thin skin.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:32 | 4235846 falak pema
falak pema's picture

Well at least Fuku has this positive side of showing others the way down that pollution trap.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:34 | 4235849 fxrxexexdxoxmx
fxrxexexdxoxmx's picture

Math is a construct of the the mind only valid when the natural world coincides.


1+1=2 unless you are counting debt




Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:35 | 4235857 XitSam
XitSam's picture

Did anyone expect a different action from a government?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:28 | 4236848 A Nanny Moose
A Nanny Moose's picture

All government is made up of three primary activities. Fuck it up, Cover it up, Blow it up.

Typically but not necessarily in order

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:47 | 4235885 yogibear
yogibear's picture

Same old, just lie and raise up the level of BS until it's so bad it starts affecting the politicians  and their families.

Same with the financial lies and corruption. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:47 | 4235887 halfawake
halfawake's picture

totes lulz i really don't know how the Onion stays in business with news like this

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:51 | 4235903 swedish etrade baby
swedish etrade baby's picture

I watched a documentary about the three Gorges dam project in China. I thought that dam would replace a lot of coal fired power plants. 

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:54 | 4235915 agent default
agent default's picture

If you can fix the debt problem by raising the ceiling, then why not?

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:56 | 4235922 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

Those iCrap manufacturing plants create a lot of pollution and surprise, surprise, there isn't an app for that.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 10:59 | 4235938 orangegeek
orangegeek's picture

This tactic has been used many times in the past.


Pharmas do this a lot - lipitor is a great example - in order to sell more drugs, pharma "educated" the doctors worldwide on a lower cholesterol threshold - lower it and push more onto lipitor which makes the problem worse.



This just means more lemmings die faster and more money is extracted in the process.  Cancer rate in China should rocket in a few years - that's good for the cancer business too and it's why cancer will never be cured.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:29 | 4236864 Nobody For President
Nobody For President's picture

Oh, cancer will be cured - it will just cost you ten grand a month. 

Thu, 01/16/2014 - 01:08 | 4336927 merizobeach
merizobeach's picture

G. Edward Griffin (a name that ought to be well-known here for his authorship of "Creature from Jekyll Island") published an hour-long documentary a few decades ago called "World Without Cancer" in which he explains the hypothesis that, like scurvy, cancer is curable and preventable with proper dietary consumption: particularly, nuts and fruit seeds that contain amygdalin (nicknamed Vitamin B-17, though it's not a vitamin).  The FDA concducted a fruadulent study 'debunking' the effects of laetril--synthetic amygdalin--in treating cancer.  The fraud was in the methodology: in nature, amygdalin is always chemically bound to cyanide in seeds and nuts--apricot cornels having the highest concentration; by synthesizing laetrile, the FDA deliberately neglected the natural compound (with cyanide) and administered the laetrile to cancer patients and rightly observed no improvement.  The reason is that our healthy bodies have no use for amygdalin, and therefore it passes through us when consumed.  For some reason, though, tumors like to consume amygdalin and, in the process, release the cyanide into those cells, killing them.  My friend who turned me on to this information a few years ago used apricot cornels to help his girlfriend eliminate a large ovarian cyst in the six weeks between her doctor visits, to the shock of her physician.  "World Without Cancer"

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:02 | 4235947 Bryan
Bryan's picture

lol!  OMG you just can't make this stuff up!  China (and all politicians worldwide), we laugh at you!  We scoff at your stupid gyrations and lies in your desperate attempt to keep control of your sheep.  Shame on you all.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:09 | 4235981 Downtoolong
Downtoolong's picture

making the "safe" pollution level over 50% more polluted (up from 75 to 115 micrograms per cubic meter)

Now all they have to do is erect a neon sign with the new levels shown in fifteen foot tall numbers so that everyone can see what they are.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:26 | 4236042 SkottFree
SkottFree's picture

"On social networks like Weibo and Wechat, Beijingers now show photos of blue skies and white clouds as if they’re on vacations"

It is blue skies and white clouds just not at ground level, what the problem here?

Move along nothing to see here and thats not a joke!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:07 | 4236730 TalkToLind
TalkToLind's picture

This calls for mandatory blue spectacles for every citizen.  Ahead, comrades!

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:27 | 4236050 ZeroPoint
ZeroPoint's picture

Oh double plus good. The chocolate ration was just increased to 20 grams.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:37 | 4236088 insanelysane
insanelysane's picture

"...up from 75 to 115 micrograms per cubic meter..."

Ok class, this should be written as:

The alert threshold was decreased to 115 micrograms and it is the 5th decrease in a row.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:33 | 4236085 Bunga Bunga
Bunga Bunga's picture

People in the western world are hysterical about pollution, but it's actually a good thing. Radiation prevents breast cancer and air pollution trains  the immune system. Much cheaper than expensive health care. We should rise the levels too.

Wed, 12/11/2013 - 11:38 | 4236102 Notarocketscientist
Notarocketscientist's picture

Page out of the fukashima book

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