By now you surely know: Harbin in northeast China's Heilongjiang province, a city of 11 million, is blanketed in cancer-gray, toxic-smelling, blindingly thick smog. The AQI is over 500 and the PM2.5 measurement hit one thousand -- higher than it ever was during the worst of times in Beijing. Everything has closed down, from highways to airports to schools. Sinosphere and the Atlantic both have pictures and anecdotes. And AFP has this bit of funny:
This isn't too bizarre -- when else is one to get a chance to take a souvenir photo in front of a gigantic poster of the Hong Kong skyline? I mean, holy moly, everyone -- it's a gigantic photo of the Hong Kong skyline!
The concept is pretty simple — set tripod in front of Tiananmen every day throughout the Two Sessions; snap picture — but Wei Yao, the photographer for Beijing Review who got the shot you see above (along with this one), explains on Reuters’s Photographers Blog that it still took a lot of work: Having the... Read more »
While many spent yesterday morning squalling over Beijing's pollution (caused in part by this season's first sandstorm), an actual squall of sorts blew through this region, causing more damage. (Incidentally, it was this very wind that cleared out the pollution, so that in a matter of one hour, from 10 am to 11 am, the AQI dropped from 506 to 279, and by 4 pm, it was under 100, according to @BeijingAir.)
Soon to be an iPad app, surely. Via Marketplace: We wondered what other cities around the globe might look like under these pollution conditions, so we built a simple simulator to illustrate. Using side-by-side photos of Beijing to calibrate our not-so-scientific “obscurity filter,” we applied the tool to photos of some major cities around the globe. Let’s... Read more »
No one loves a polluted Beijing quite like foreign editors. The first time the smog swept through, two and a half weeks ago, lots of overseas publications were caught off guard and slept on the story, which is why we saw articles about China’s “Airpocalypse” up to five days after the skies had cleared up. Determined to... Read more »
Jon Stewart gave China’s air the comedic treatment last week (and rhymed it with “Nair”), using footage from a week before (and referencing this story about the Hangzhou factory fire). We bring it up now because, first, we hadn’t seen it on the China blogs yet, but more importantly, everyone is talking about pollution again. And if you... Read more »
If you live in northern China, particularly Beijing, you don’t need me to tell you the air’s not looking good today. By all indications, government officials understand this as well — their offices have windows, too. They live under the same miasma, as do their children. And we have to trust that they share our... Read more »
Via a strong recommendation from James Fallows, here's the video to watch if you want to understand pollution in China. Featuring Fons Tuinstra, president of the China Speakers Bureau, and Richard Brubaker of All Roads Lead to China, the 30-minute show touches on the causes of the pollution (the "bowl" of Beijing, cars), the effects (people leaving the country), and possible impetuses for solutions (competition among leaders and government officials to clean things up).
An international school in Beijing has built two “pollution domes” to protect their students during physical activity. A Financial Times article describes these domes as “giant pressurised canopies that can cover sports fields, playgrounds or tennis courts” — specifically, at the International School of Beijing, it covers six tennis courts, a track, a miniature soccer... Read more »
A 20-car rear-end chain collision yesterday morning on the Hang-Pu Highway between Hangzhou and Haining, Zhejiang province resulted in two dead and at least eight injured. The Jiaxing (prefecture-level city in Zhejiang) Fire Brigade said there was a "thick fog" at the time of the accident, and visibility was further hindered by smoke from burning stalks.
Late Sunday night in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, a fire broke out at a furniture factory in Anji county that no one noticed for hours because they couldn’t see it through the “fog.” Xinhua has the report (my translation): Due to a thick fog cover at the time, the initial smoke and open flames actually lasted nearly... Read more »