Friday, February 08, 2013

Air Pollution in Beijing - By Numbers

Pictures are sources from

Hazardous smog blanketed Beijing on Jan. 28, triggering flight cancellations and cutting visibility. This has been the fourth-round of smoggy weather this year since the capital city was enveloped in thick fog and haze during the second weekend of January.

Smoggy and hazy weather enveloped 17 provinces and municipalities in central and east China since Jan. 12, 2013, including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei. Most of the cities were "gravely polluted". Residents living in the smog-shrouded areas were advised to stay indoors as much as possible and to wear masks when going out.

Dark smog hung over China's capital city for 26 days in the first month of 2013, according to data recorded at Beijing's southern suburb observatory. It was the most serious smog event since 1954.

According to data released at Beijing's Xizhimen monitoring station, the concentration of PM2.5 reached as high as 993 micrograms per cubic meter at 11:00pm, Jan. 12, cited as "beyond index" as it surpassed generally identified pollution levels.

The market for masks and air purifiers is booming throughout China as many parts of the country have been shrouded in thick fog and haze. Over 100 thousand masks were sold during the second weekend of January on Taobao and Tmall, two popular e-commerce websites in China.

The smoggy weather that has choked many Chinese cities in recent days affects a total area of 1.3 million square kilometers, which accounts for approximately one-seventh of China's entire territory.


A detailed summary of the episode and measure put in place is available at Clean Air Asia.

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