Saturday, February 21, 2015

Fireoworks Led to 25 times the Normal Pollution Levels in Beijing

Fireworks set off during Chinese New Year celebrations on Thursday increased Beijing's air pollution index and the concentration of PM2.5 - considered to be extremely harmful to health - multiplied 25 times in a matter of seven hours, U.S. diplomatic authorities said. To welcome the Year of the Goat and bid adieu to the Year of the Horse, Beijing residents exploded firecrackers, which according to Chinese tradition, is said to keep bad luck away. As a result, the concentration of PM2.5 levels rose from 16 micrograms per cubic meter at 6 p.m. local time Wednesday to 407 micrograms per cubic meter at 1 a.m. Thursday in Beijing, the U.S. embassy in China said on its Twitter account.PM2.5 particles, with a diameter smaller than 2.5 microns (1,000 times smaller than 2.5 millimeters) are considered to be extremely harmful as they can directly enter the lungs.

10 Billion Yuan earmarked to Fight Air Pollution in China

According to the World Health Organization, the recommended level for PM2.5 is no more than 25 micrograms per cubic meter within the 24-hour time frame. Beijing woke up Thursday to thick smog covering the skies, which seemed to undo the recent drop in air pollution caused by closing of factories and lesser traffic on the roads during the holiday. Firecrackers and fireworks displays lit up the occasion, despite restrictive measures adopted by the Chinese authorities.

A total of 138 cities adopted prohibitory measures and another 536 restricted firecrackers in order to have clearer skies during the festive season, according to the Chinese Ministry of Public Security. During recent weeks, the authorities also made several appeals to the people to limit the use of firecrackers, keeping in mind their effects on air quality. Forecasts of less wind in several regions of the country, especially in the center, coupled with the incessant use of firecrackers, are expected to aggravate the concentration of pollutants in the sky even further.

No comments: