Beijing Smog: Before And After Pictures

We could tell readers' that earlier today, just like two weeks ago when Beijing was blanketed by the worst smog on record, the official reading of Beijing air quality moved from "hazardous (at a 24 hour exposure at this level)" to the laughable "Beyond Index" reading (which maybe means Beijing needs a bigger index)...

... or we could just show these two pictures of Beijing before and after the smog: both taken at the same time, at the same place, with the only difference being the latest onslaught of what is now becoming a weekly occurrence of the worst breathing conditions recorded in any industrialized country. 


For those who want to learn more, here is the SCMP:

Key index from US Embassy shoots above 350 and authorities maintain 'yellow' smog warning amid growing calls for action against pollutants.


Air pollution went from bad to worse in Beijing, after residents of the capital and surrounding areas again found themselves inundated in thick smog, leading to broader calls for a solution.


On Tuesday morning, the US embassy’s air quality index (AQI) reading for Beijing stood at 495 and “hazardous” at 11am, after having reached 517, or “beyond index”, at 6am.


The index rates anything over 150 as “unhealthy”, over 300 as “hazardous”, while a reading above the upper limit of 500 is regarded as “beyond index”.


Meanwhile, the Beijing Municipal Environmental Monitoring Centre gave the figure at 10am as 393, indicating the air in the capital was “severely polluted”.


The centre says pollution across Beijing is expected to persist because there is little wind to disperse pollutants. It advises city residents to stay indoors as much as possible.


Yesterday municipal weather authorities retained the "yellow" smog warning as visibility remained below 3,000 metres.


Air quality index readings in much of downtown Beijing, as measured by the local environmental watchdog and the US embassy, shot above 350 yesterday - a significant increase from Sunday.


The US embassy's air quality readings, published hourly on its Twitter feed, showed the level of PM2.5 rose drastically throughout the day to 496 at 4pm- far above the "hazardous" level of 300 micrograms per cubic metre.


The Beijing Municipal Environmental Centre, which is under the city's Environmental Protection Bureau, rated air quality in most of the city as being seriously polluted, as PM2.5 readings fluctuated between 340 and 360.


When the level of PM2.5 in the air surpasses 100, it is deemed unhealthy for people with heart or lung disease, older adults and children, and those groups should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion, particularly outdoors, according to advice given by the US Embassy.


The smog also appeared to have spread farther to southeastern regions, with flight disruptions being reported yesterday morning at 10 mainland airports, including in Hebei's Shijiazhuang and Henan's Zhengzhou .


Visibility at the Shijiazhuang airport was reduced to around 100 metres, forcing the cancellation of at least seven flights, and in Zhengzhou more than 10,000 passengers were stranded by 11.30am, as up to 150 flights were either cancelled or delayed, China National Radio reports.

The good news for China is that unlike Japan it will not have to worry about such a petty concern as an aging population: all it needs to do is tell the plebs that the air is good and everyone should enjoy the lovely yellow day and poof: there go a few trillion in underfunded future pensions and entitlement benefits.