China Is Polluted. We Get It Already

The smog monster
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 And Neil deGrasse Tyson Talk About China’s Pollution, Space Laser

Things may be bad chew air featured image Daily Show
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 »

Celebrity Businessman Chen Guangbiao Sells Canned Air To Make A Point

Chen Guangbiao sells canned air
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 »

A Video To Help You Understand China’s Pollution

Talk on pollution featured image
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).

People Are Now Coping With Beijing’s Pollution By Building Giant Domes

Pollution dome
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 »

And Now Hangzhou’s “Fog” Has Caused A Traffic Accident: 2 Dead, 8 Injured In 20-Car Pileup

Fog caused Hangzhou highway accident featured image
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.

Xinhua: A Furniture Factory In Hangzhou Burned For Nearly 3 Hours Before Anyone Noticed Through The “Fog”

People don't notice fire due to fog
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 »

While US Embassy Pollution Index Measured 755 Last Night, Beijing’s Official Air Quality Index Was “Out Of Service” [UPDATE: Video]

AQI 800
We don't really get how a reading that theoretically should max out at 500 can spit out a number like 755, but look at the above. It got so bad last night that Beijing's official air-quality index conveniently went "out of service" from 10 pm to 10 am this morning. When it came back, it featured this warning:

Beijing Hit By “Worst Smog In Almost A Year”

Beijing smog
Those of us who choose to live in one of China’s big cities understand the deal. In exchange for opportunities for personal and professional growth, a front seat on the roller coaster that is China’s development, and all in all a pretty good life, we agree to put up with traffic woes, the occasional big-city... Read more »